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Concern over turbine plans for Washburn Valley
12:10pm Sunday 1st July 2012 in Local news
Opposition to what is feared could become one of England’s largest onshore wind farms is growing.
Residents in Washburn Valley and the rural communities west of Harrogate are concerned at plans by Kelda Water and Tapar PF that could see a total of 28 new turbines installed on the edge of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Four public consultations about the proposals, including several at Fewston, have now been held, with Kelda expected to submit a planning application for its first seven turbines – which would sit alongside eight existing ones at Knabs Ridge, off Penny Pot Lane – this month.
Kelda is also seeking to install another 17 turbines near Scargill Reservoir, while Tapar PF wants to build four off Penny Pot Lane, to create a massive combined wind farm of 36 turbines.
Residents like Paul Slater, a supporter of the Save the Dales website set up to oppose the scheme, say the recent consultation events – which he claims were publicised only at very short notice – have actually hardened local opinion.
He said: “There is growing opposition to what will become – if it all goes ahead – England’s largest onshore wind farm.
“The website had a distinct spike in registrations following the exhibitions Kelda held.
“We held our own closed meeting at Norwood to organise opposition, and had a capacity crowd of people from across the area.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do because we’re picking up the ball very late in the day, with the first application due any day now. We need to work fast, and the website’s a good way of doing that.
“Once people register, we can let them know as soon as the planning application goes in, and then give them tips to help formulate meaningful objections that will have to be considered by the planners.”
The savethedales.co.uk website describes in dramatic terms the ‘threat’ it believes the new turbines would pose.
It says: “Built on very high ground, this combined wind farm will totally dominate the treasured Yorkshire Dales vistas for tens of miles around, and will tower over the nearby charming villages and hamlets of Kettlesing, Beckwith-shaw, High Birstwith, Darley, Norwood, Fewston, Timble, Clint, Blubberhouses and Burnt Yates, to name but a few.”
The existing wind farm at Knabs Ridge – running since 2008 – was blocked by Harrogate planners, but it was given the green light after a successful appeal from the applicants.