Controversial plans for more wind turbines on East Lancashire’s moorlands have been passed – despite fears over the view and the ‘thud and swish’ of the proposed 115-metre high structures.
Bosses at Peel Energy and United Utilities survived a vote of no confidence by Rossendale councillors Jimmy Eaton and Granville Morris to see their scheme passed for 16 extra giant blades to be erected at Scout Moor, Edenfield.
Now the companies must wait and see if Communities Secretary Greg Clark ‘calls in’ the application for the 37 megawatt extension on the Rossendale and Rochdale border.
The Ministry of Defence has maintained its objection that the turbines would pose a threat to the primary radar and air traffic control at Warton Airfield – but it was felt the concerns could be addressed by mitigation measures.
Tom Whitehead, a chartered town planner speaking on behalf of protesters in Rossendale, Rochdale and Bury, said that when petitions and MP Jake Berry’s Not On Our Hills campaign was considered, only three per cent of local communities were in favour of the wind farm.
Resident Stuart Davis, from Whitworth, questioned the merits of a proposed community fund – claiming that around £125,000 of a previous habitat renewal allocation had actually been spent on United Utilities own land.
He added: “I have walked on the moors for 50 years and it’s part of who I am. It is deeply concerning to see the destruction of Rossendale’s jewel in the crown.”
Dr Christopher Woods, a Ramsbottom GP, said the application should be delayed until fledgling studies on the health effects of amplitude modulation, the noise generated by giant turbines, had been completed.
But Jonathan England, Peel’s development director, said the firm, which had reduced the number of turbines from 26 to 16 after extensive public consultations, had listened to potential objections.
He told councillors that not only would the scheme result in a major boost for renewable energy but would lead to the restoration of hundreds of hectares of ‘degraded’ peat moorland.
Mr England added: “New jobs will be created and we are determined, through a local procurement scheme and employment strategy, that local people will benefit.”
Cllr Granville Morris said the noise from the turbines was like the ‘drone of jet engine’.
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