Wind farm campaigners in natural beauty status bid

Groups campaigning against proposals to build wind turbines on the Yorkshire Wolds are calling for the area to be designated a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in order to prevent an onslaught of future planning applications from energy companies.

The No to Wolds Wind Farm Group called on councillors to officially back their campaign after the East Riding Council (ERYC) planning committee rejected plans to build a 200ft high anemometer on Scarborough Road, Nafferton. Proposals for the wind monitoring mast, which were submitted by Goah Energy, would have been followed by plans to build four large turbines standing 410ft high.

The group’s members are arguing that AONB status would offer the Wolds some protection from future proposals and say they have the support of many local residents, whose view of the Wolds landscape would be ruined by the turbines.

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Following the committee’s decision, the group’s chairman Steve Hey said: “This could be the wind of change needed, a significant moment when the bigger picture has finally been seen. It would seem the future protection of the Yorkshire Wolds has now become a high priority for ERYC.”

But Coun Jonathan Owen, who spoke against the proposals at the committee meeting, warned AONB status would only afford limited protection from wind farm applications and that the campaigners would still have to fight developers on a case-by-case basis.

He said: “I am in favour of green energy out at sea but object very strongly to wind farms on land. Building an anemoeter is often a precursor to a wind farm development, so I spoke out against it. There is definitely a growing groundswell of local people against these plans.

“AONB status adds weight to the case but you can make an argument that it is not a total solution. I support it in principle but it would be necessary to continue to contest each application as it arose.”