COUNTRYSIDE campaigners say the East Riding’s multi-million-pound tourism industry is being put at risk by the number of wind turbines in the area.
The warning from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) comes as residents in one of the East Riding’s most affluent communities step up their opposition to plans to install a large turbine on the edge of the Wolds.
Lantanier Ireland is seeking planning permission to place the turbine - which would measure 285ft from base to tip - on land off Albion Lane in Willerby, near Kirk Ella and West Ella.
The company says the turbine would generate “clean” and “cheap” electricity for the landowner and local businesses, but villagers claim it would by an eyesore that would spoil the views from miles around.
They are being backed in their campaign by the CPRE, which says turbines are now beginning to encroach on beauty spots and that small-scale developments may be only the “thin end of the wedge”.
David Rose, chairman of the CPRE for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “If you look at East Riding Council’s website the number of single or double turbine applications is absolutely scary.
“The problem we’ve got is that we are trying to support local groups opposing these because they have a major impact on the landscape, but we have not got the resources so we are having to put our efforts into the large schemes.
“We are supporting this particular one. We fear it is the thin end of the wedge because they are moving into areas they shouldn’t need to.”
He added: “They have already met their blessed [renewable energy] targets in the East Riding.
“There are just far too many turbines and they are concentrating them in an area where they think they can get away with it.
“Tourism is worth over £600m to the East Riding and who’s going to want to come to Bridlington when you have got to go through a load of turbines? The offshore turbines make the seascape look awful as well.
“Once you’ve got planning permission for one it’s easier to it for a second, third and fourth.
“It’s worth making a stand against them wherever we can and we are supporting this one as a local group.”
Margaret Raymond, chairman of Kirk Ella and West Ella Parish Council, said: “The visual impact is going to be devastating to the rural countryside. It’s on the edge of a designated area of natural beauty and an area of high landscape value.
“I have also read that you can expect house prices to drop in value to the region of 25 per cent. The people of Kirk Ella and West Ella are vehemently opposed to it.”
Lantanier spokeswoman Clare Walters said: “The Willerby wind turbine will provide the landowner Wastewise with clean, cheap electricity, allowing them to focus investment on their work to reclaim and regenerate the old landfill tip – to the benefit of people living nearby.
“We are also offering to supply other local businesses with cheaper electricity from the turbine, and we have held early discussions with a number of organisations.”