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England’s largest onshore wind farm in Yorkshire ‘would be catastrophic for nature’ 

Credit:  By Alexandra Wood · Published 1st Jul 2024 · yorkshirepost.co.uk ~~

Campaigners have warned that building England’s largest onshore wind farm on protected peatland would be “catastrophic for carbon storage, wildlife and flood risk”.

Saudi-backed developer World Wide Renewable Energy Global Ltd wants to construct the farm on more than 2,300 hectares at Walshaw Moor, between Hebden Bridge and Haworth.

Consisting of up to 65 wind turbines, it would be capable of generating up to 302MW of power.

The developer said last September that it would establish a £75m community benefit fund and also pledged to end grouse shooting if it was granted planning permission.

However, campaigners say it would impact endangered birds, like curlew, lapwing, skylark and merlin, and exacerbate already serious local flooding.

The huge development would need 22 miles of access roads and 160 tonnes of reinforced concrete for each of the gigantic turbines.

At 200m tall (655ft), the turbines would be 20m higher than London’s 41-storey Gherkin building.

Campaigners say turbine construction and the associated infrastructure will affect hydrology, causing peatlands to dry out to such an extent that they will become a net emitter of carbon rather than a carbon sink.

Upper Calderdale Wildlife Network has written to Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband calling for a national strategy and pointing out that there are alternative sites, which have been mapped out in a joint research project between Friends of the Earth and the University of Exeter.

Labour has said it will “work with the private sector to double onshore wind”, ending a nearly decade-long effective moratorium by the Conservatives. Campaigners think developers may be waiting for a new Labour government to simplify the planning process.

Sandra Rout, of Stop Calderdale Wind Farm, said: “It is being seen as a test case. We believe it would be the first development on protected peatland.

“It would open the floodgates for developers.”

Walshaw Moor and its environs are protected under national and international laws as a Special Protection Area, Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Fellow campaigner Penny Price said: “Peat stores ten times more carbon per hectare than any other land-based ecosystem and we believe that building wind farms on peat is counterproductive to the objective of seeking net zero emissions.”

There is a long, 30-year history of wind farm proposals for moorland above the upper Calder Valley and through the 1990s some projects were bitterly opposed.

At the time one of the most vocal critics was Hebden Bridge-born Sir Bernard Ingham, once press secretary to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a former columnist in The Yorkshire Post.

Source:  By Alexandra Wood · Published 1st Jul 2024 · yorkshirepost.co.uk

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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