Plans for 400ft wind turbines on Pennine moorland ‘should be rejected’

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for four wind turbines up to 400ft in height on sensitive Pennine moorland in West Yorkshire look set to be rejected.

Calderdale Council has received 87 objections and 200 letters of support for the scheme, although 177 of the latter are identically or very similarly worded.

The plans have been submitted for Inchfield Moor near Gorpley reservoir, near Todmorden, by Kelda Water Services, parent company of Yorkshire Water.

A similar scheme comprising five wind turbines was rejected by the council last year on the grounds that the landscape, which is designated ‘High Moorland Plateaux’, would be adversely affected.

Objectors are making similar criticisms of the latest proposals, saying such large structures on a prominent moorland location would have too great a visual impact.

Planning officers are urging councillors to reject the plans when the planning committee meets on Tuesday, October 7.

Their report says: “The site is located in a prominent position in views from the immediate and wider surroundings and is currently part of the open rolling moorland used as rough grazing.

“The location of the wind farm on the edge of the steep slopes above Gorpley reservoir tends to heighten the turbines’ perceived scale and visual prominence (especially in shorter range views) as do the significant variations in turbine height, which may be perceived as distracting and unsettling.”

The planning report says the proposed turbines would be a “very visible skyline feature in most views”.

It goes on to say that the Gorpley wind farm would have the effect of filling a gap between other wind turbines in the area “which will have the effect of tipping the balance over to a wind farm landscape.”

The applicant has argued that the turbines will produce enough electricity per year to meet the needs of around 6,285 homes.

Kelda said that the impact on the landscape is inevitable but that renewable energy benefits “outweigh the landscape and visual effects.”

The planning report notes that many of the letters of support are from addresses outside Calderdale, including Leeds, Preston, Barnsley, Wakefield, Warrington, Chorley, Nelson and others.

The council has noted that each objection letter/email is individual and the majority are from addresses in Calderdale, with 54 from Todmorden.

Objections have been made by two MPs, including Craig Whittaker, Tory MP for Calder Valley.

He said: “Scientists are to publish data later this year which confirms that wind turbines will create more greenhouses gases than they save.

“One of the main objections with this planning application relates to the peat on the moorland...disturbing peat releases carbon dioxide. Exposed surfaces erode, which then leads to further C02 releases, all bad for the environment.”

Mr Whittaker claimed that work on the turbine bases could contaminate water supplies to around 50 local households.

Rochdale Council has also objected, concluding that the turbines “would give rise to unacceptable cumulative impact” due to the proximity of other wind turbines.