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Firm shelves plans for controversial windfarm

A developer has “shelved” its plans to build a controversial wind farm on moorland overlooking Bronte country in the Bradford district.

The Banks Group first revealed plans to construct up to six turbines, some measuring up to 125m, on Thornton Moor, near Denholme, in 2010.

The project has been fought every step of the way by members of the Thornton Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which welcomed the latest announcement as “great news” for the site.

However, the company has attributed the decision to a change in Government policy, adding that the site remained a “strong one” that could be revisited in the future.

In June of this year, a statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change said there was enough onshore wind projects in the pipeline to meet its renewable energy targets by 2020.

It said: “We could end up with more onshore wind projects than we can afford, which would lead to either higher bills for consumers, or other renewable technologies, such as offshore wind, losing out on support.

“It is therefore appropriate to curtail further subsidised deployment of onshore wind, balancing the interests of onshore developers with those of bill payers.

“This Government was elected with a commitment to end new subsidies for onshore wind and also to change the law so that local people have the final say on onshore wind applications. We are now acting on that commitment.”

Anthea Orchard, who established the action group against the project, called for the company to ditch its plans.

“This whole process has cost us a lot of time and money,” she said.

“Other individual turbines have been allowed to go ahead, but the policy seems to have finally changed now, and people are seeing the bigger picture.

“The change in Government policy means it is no longer as easy and lucrative for companies wanting to develop these projects.

“I’d like to see the company make a definite withdrawal from the site, as we’ve had five years of uncertainty when we couldn’t alleviate people’s fears.”

Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies, who has supported the group, said: “I am delighted this project has been shelved and pleased that a Conservative government has played a crucial role in bringing that about.

“I applaud the local campaigners who have worked so hard, and I hope it is the last we hear of this planning application.”

A spokesman for the Banks Group said that while Thornton Moor had been discounted for the time being, the company could not “categorically say” it would not revisit the site in the future.

“Unfortunately, due to the announcements made by the current Government regarding renewables, and specifically onshore wind, we don’t think it will be possible to bring forward the project at this time, as such, the project has been shelved.

“Saying that, we do firmly believe that this site is a strong one for onshore wind, and should the political climate change in the future, we cannot rule out that we, or another developer, would not come and look at it again.”