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West Pennine councillor’s anger over moorland turbine mistake

A Tory councillor has called for a public apology after a borough’s local plan mistakenly suggested a protected countryside area was suitable for a wind farm.

West Pennine ward’s Cllr Julie Slater was alarmed to see the Hoddlesden Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) earmarked for turbines in the Blackburn with Darwen blueprint for future development.

She wrote to borough growth boss Cllr Phil Riley asking for the change to be removed from the draft Local Plan running up to 2037 which has been out to consultation.

Cllr Slater said the loss of the moorland peat bog would damage efforts to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change and turbines would damage the unique character and scientific interest of the countryside area.

Cllr Riley said: “There was an error in the maps supporting the wind section of the draft Local Plan that suggested that Hoddlesden Moss could be considered as a possible site for wind turbines.

“This was a mistake which has now been corrected. Hoddlesden Moss and the adjacent SSSI area is not considered to be suitable for wind and there is no need for concerned residents to write in or petition against this proposal.”

Cllr Slater said: “However how could such a big mistake happen? This consultation has gone out to every house within Blackburn with Darwen. This report should have been checked and checked and checked again.

“I feel strongly there should be a very clear public apology from those that made the error and a statement that the SSSI is an inappropriate site for turbines and the area as a SSSI will be protected.”

Cllr Riley said: “A mistake was made but to put it in context the draft local plan is 200 pages long plus thousands of pages of appendices; it reviews 216 sites and there are 31 different map overlays – the first time, incidentally that this technology has been used to assist residents to understand the options.”