Seeing red over a green dream

MANY of the proposed new wind farm schemes in Yorkshire will affect views of some of the region's most beautiful countryside.

They include the new wind farm at Knabs Ridge, which overlooks the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was criticised in a five-year management plan for the area.

There are plans for turbines at Kendal that could be seen from the Yorkshire Dales and plans for a wind farm near Barnsley and turbines at Boroughbridge. At Sancton, near Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, residents fear that house prices will suffer from the building of 100 metre-high turbines and are campaigning for a reduction in council tax if the plans are given the green light.

But development manager Bob Morgan said: "This project is a significant one for the community, and represents an important opportunity for Sancton to take a lead on tackling climate change at a local level."

Pressure is being exerted on local authorities in the region to accept more wind farm proposals in order to meet obligations to generate a greater proportion of Britain's energy from renewable sources.

The European Union has imposed targets to ensure 15 per cent of UK energy comes from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Britain is likely to miss its 2010 target of generating eight gigawatts from wind energy by 2010, current estimates suggesting the country will fall at least one gigawatt short.

Last year Ministers described meeting that 2020 target as nothing short of a "national endeavour" and called for an extra 4,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore turbines to be built.

Councils in Yorkshire have been instructed to produce 468 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010 and 1,232 megawatts by 2020. Most of that is expected to come from wind power, so the pressure will be on planning committees to meet the targets and avoid penalties.

Currently, just 43 megawatts of power is being produced by wind turbines in the region.

Total renewable energy produced in the region stands at about 168 megawatts, the additional capacity mostly coming from co-firing biomass in power stations.

The Government wants swathes of the East Riding and parts of North Yorkshire to host wind farms in order to meet obligations and generate 22.5 per cent of the region's energy from renewable sources by 2021.

The senior campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Andrea Davies, said: "We urge the Government to place greater emphasis on offshore wind and use the planning system to steer the location of onshore wind in order to avoid damaging impacts on valued landscapes."

But a spokesman for the British Wind Energy Association, Nick Medic, said that the country was being held back by small pockets of anti-turbine activists who were preventing developers from meeting renewables obligations.

He said: "There are groups of people opposed to wind farms who, although small, are capable of making an awful lot of noise. Wind farms are important for decarbonising energy, driving the cost of electricity for consumers down, stimulating the economy through building the turbines, and helping create energy independence."

Tom Smithard

MANY of the proposed new wind farm schemes in Yorkshire will affect views of some of the region's most beautiful countryside.

They include the new wind farm at Knabs Ridge, which overlooks the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was criticised in a five-year management plan for the area.

There are plans for turbines at Kendal that could be seen from the Yorkshire Dales and plans for a wind farm near Barnsley and turbines at Boroughbridge. At Sancton, near Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, residents fear that house prices will suffer from the building of 100 metre-high turbines and are campaigning for a reduction in council tax if the plans are given the green light.

But development manager Bob Morgan said: "This project is a significant one for the community, and represents an important opportunity for Sancton to take a lead on tackling climate change at a local level."

Pressure is being exerted on local authorities in the region to accept more wind farm proposals in order to meet obligations to generate a greater proportion of Britain's energy from renewable sources.

The European Union has imposed targets to ensure 15 per cent of UK energy comes from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Britain is likely to miss its 2010 target of generating eight gigawatts from wind energy by 2010, current estimates suggesting the country will fall at least one gigawatt short.

Last year Ministers described meeting that 2020 target as nothing short of a "national endeavour" and called for an extra 4,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore turbines to be built.

Councils in Yorkshire have been instructed to produce 468 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010 and 1,232 megawatts by 2020. Most of that is expected to come from wind power, so the pressure will be on planning committees to meet the targets and avoid penalties.

Currently, just 43 megawatts of power is being produced by wind turbines in the region.

Total renewable energy produced in the region stands at about 168 megawatts, the additional capacity mostly coming from co-firing biomass in power stations.

The Government wants swathes of the East Riding and parts of North Yorkshire to host wind farms in order to meet obligations and generate 22.5 per cent of the region's energy from renewable sources by 2021.

The senior campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Andrea Davies, said: "We urge the Government to place greater emphasis on offshore wind and use the planning system to steer the location of onshore wind in order to avoid damaging impacts on valued landscapes."

But a spokesman for the British Wind Energy Association, Nick Medic, said that the country was being held back by small pockets of anti-turbine activists who were preventing developers from meeting renewables obligations.

He said: "There are groups of people opposed to wind farms who, although small, are capable of making an awful lot of noise. Wind farms are important for decarbonising energy, driving the cost of electricity for consumers down, stimulating the economy through building the turbines, and helping create energy independence."

Green heritage under fire

n KNABS RIDGE

A new eight-turbine wind farm that came online in September overlooking the Nidderdale area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

n SANCTON HILL

A five-turbine scheme proposed for Sancton, near Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

n HOOK MOOR

A five-turbine scheme proposed last February for Micklefield, near Leeds.

n TODMORDEN MOOR

A planning inquiry will decide whether to progress plans for five turbines on the moor and a further 12 at nearby Crook Hill after Rochdale Council recently rejected the applications.

n SOBER HILL

An application was submitted in October for six turbines at North Newbald, near Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

n SHEEPHOUSE HEIGHTS

A five-turbine scheme between the South Yorkshire communities of Stocksbridge and Penistone, submitted last May.

n BURTON PIDSEA

A three-turbine proposal for the village to the north of Hull.

n WESTFIELD LANE

A proposal for a six-turbine wind farm close to Pontefract, submitted in March 2007.