Turbine ‘risk to safety of gliders’

A TURBINE standing higher than York Minster would pose a “significant safety risk” to gliders returning to a rural airfield, planners claim.

Pocklington Town Council, Hayton and Burnby parish council and the Wolds Glider Club are among objectors to plans by St Helen’s Farm Goats for an 87m high turbine at Holly Tree Farm, near Hayton.

There have been 50 letters of objection to the proposals being discussed by East Riding Council’s planning committee on Thursday.

The business, which grows crops on 550 acres to supply a dairy unit of more than 3,500 goats, says the renewable energy generated by the turbine will be exported to the National Grid to offset its own energy consumption.

But opponents say as well as being a blot on the landscape it will be directly in the flghtpath of the main runway to the gliding club, 3km away, and the height of the mast “is of serious concern to those who glide as the pilots need a greater distance to lose altitude than a powered aircraft does.”

The club hosts up to three competitions a year, which attract several hundred visitors who use local B&Bs and shops.

In a submission to the council it said competitors came to their airfield knowing it to be safe and in an unspoilt rural location.

It added: “A major wind turbine, visible from the airfield, and on our approach line, will change that opinion.” The Ministry of Defence has also objected.

The council has spent around £630,000 fighting nine unsuccessful planning appeals for wind farms, but are recommending the plans are deferred for outstanding consultation responses, then refused, subject to no new issues being raised.

Planners state: “The benefits of generating green energy at this location do not outweigh the significant safety risk to users of the Wolds Gliding Club or the unacceptable interference with the air traffic control radar at Linton on Ouse.”