MPs unite to oppose co-op plan for £10m turbines

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CONSERVATIONISTS and two MPs are calling for a £10m wind turbine scheme on protected Pennine moors to be thrown out.

The proposal for three 328ft (100m) high turbines on Slaithwaite Moor above Huddersfield has attracted over 1,000 letters of support and 300 against.

Opponents include Conservative MPs Jason McCartney and Craig Whittaker, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Natural England and the National Trust.

A decision by councillors could come as early as next month.

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney has written to Kirklees Council to oppose the scheme, describing the proposal as “huge, industrial turbines” which would damage the fragile landscape of birds.

He also believes that the views would be spoiled.

The Conservative MP said he had recently spoken to National Trust experts and formed the opinion that the turbines would have a “devastating effect” on bird life, including ground nesting birds.

“The time for onshore wind turbines has passed. The Government is investing hundreds of millions in off-shore wind turbines such as the one at Hull.”

The MP also believes that the famous moorland views are worth preserving.

He is not concerned that the number of supportive letters currently outweighs objectors, saying he expected councillors to give greater weight to people who would be affected by the scheme.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker is vehemently opposed to the turbines. He said: “The spirit of the Localism and planning bills are to ensure that local people should have much more of a say over what is important to them locally.

“This application bypasses that process and does not take into account the strength of feeling against it, not just in the Colne Valley but it also affects those living in the Calder Valley too.

“It is because of the high-handed approach by these types of applicants that I am in favour of completely cutting onshore wind subsidies completely and have been one of the MPs lobbying the Chancellor to do so - enough is enough.”

Holmfirth Ashley Jackson has also written to the council.

He said the “monstrosities” would “vandalise the views” and damage important wildlife habitat.

“Wind turbines are spoiling the Pennine moors. If they worked and could light up Halifax or Barnsley I would be for them - but they don’t.”

Steve Slator, chairman of Valley Wind Co-op, which is behind the proposal, said 1,000 letters was a milestone.

“We’ve been absolutely blown away by the enthusiastic support of so many people.”

He added: “Our communities want this to happen - let’s hope they’re allowed to make it a reality.”

The co-op plans to sell shares and raise bank loans. A council spokesman said a date had yet to fixed for the planning committee but it could be next month.