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Charity fights controversial Hoddlesden turbine plan over wildlife fear  

Credit:  Stephanie Brawn, Darwen reporter | Lancashire Telegraph | www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk ~~

A charity is to formally object to controversial plans for a wind farm in Hoddlesden claiming it will pose a ‘serious threat’ to wildlife.

Proposals to develop three wind turbines, measuring almost 77 metres in height, in Hoddlesden Moss were re-submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council last month despite receiving hundreds of objections when it was previously considered.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has said the potential development by Viridis Wind Turbines could pose a serious threat to moorland habitat and wildlife and is calling on the council to reject the plans.

Jeremy Sutton, the RSPB’s conservation officer for the North West, said: “The West Pennine Moors are covered in blanket bog, a globally-rare peat habitat, which takes thousands of years to form.

“Peatlands are a precious resource in the UK, they lock up millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide but will release it quickly back into the atmosphere if the land is disturbed, contributing to climate change.

“Moreover, with many rare birds such as short-eared owls and merlins making the moor their home, turbines too close to the breeding grounds could stop them from nesting there again.

“The council has already rejected another planning application for the same wind farm, and last year the government said that onshore wind farms must have the backing of the local community before they can go ahead.

“Together we can save Hoddlesden Moss.”

The government’s conservation advising body, Natural England, has said it plans to protect Hoddlesden Moss as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its rare breeding birds and peatlands.

But this protection has not yet been put in place and the RSPB says this leaves the site vulnerable to the ‘potentially damaging’ planning application.

If given the green light, the development will spread across two wards, North Turton with Tockholes and East Rural.

Cllr Julie Slater, who represents East Rural ward on the council, said: “They are absolutely right in their objections, as we have some very rare birds up there along with wildlife.

“We also have the peat and heather.

“We have to save our natural and ecological species from firms, who want to scar our landscape for profit.”

The public consultation on the proposal launched by the council needs all responses submitted by Wednesday, July 27.

Source:  Stephanie Brawn, Darwen reporter | Lancashire Telegraph | www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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