SUPPORTERS claim that North Yorkshire could help show the way to a greener future under outline proposals for an £8m wind farm near Harrogate.
The plans are being put forward by National Wind Power at Knabs Ridge on the edge of the Nidderdale area of outstanding natural beauty.
But the scheme has already been criticised by the North Yorkshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The company says that the Knabs Ridge Wind Farm could generate enough clean, pollution-free electricity to meet the average annual needs of 7,000 local homes – equivalent to nine out of 10 homes in Knaresborough.
NWP project manager Clare Wilson said: "Generating electricity using renewable sources is an increasingly important part of our efforts to combat climate change and the problems it causes in the UK and around the world.
"These include extreme weather patterns leading to regular flooding, periods of drought and rising sea levels."
Leaflets have been sent to 6,000 homes and firms and the company will host public exhibitions about the plan.
"The project is still at the design stage, and no planning application has yet been submitted. We are holding these exhibitions to provide background information on wind power, to inform local people about this particular project, and to encourage feedback on the proposal.
"The views of local people are an important part of the design process," Ms Wilson said. The local consultation is taking place in parallel with environmental studies by independent experts before the design is finalised.
A formal planning application is expected before the end of the year.
NWP says it would establish a community fund provided by revenue from the wind farm to be managed locally and provide financial support to community projects such as schools, youth clubs, senior citizens groups and village halls. But a committee member of the CPRE county branch John Farquhar said: "The edge of the Nidderdale area of outstanding natural beauty is not the right place for a wind farm.
"We say the appropriate place for wind farms would be offshore or along the Humber or Tees estuaries which are already heavily industrialised."
The exhibitions are between 10am and 4pm on October 4 at Kettlesing Millennium Village Hall and the following day at Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall.