‘Audacious’ turbine plan on edge of AONB

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Plans for four 110 metre tall wind turbines on the edge of the Nidderdale AONB will be discussed next week, more than two years after they were first proposed.

Last year Yorkshire Water’s sister company Kelda Group withdrew plans for 24 wind turbines near to the proposed turbine site off Penny Pot Lane because of community concerns.

Now Tapar Ltds plans, which were first submitted in October 2012, will go before a planning committee for a decision on Tuesday (March 31).

The four turbines could provide enough energy to power thousands of households according to figures submitted to the council.

However, Gerry Smith from opposition group Save the Dales said that although the plans are not in the AONB area, they would still impact on the protected area.

He said: “This is an absolutely audacious plan and the view of it would damage an nationally designated area.

“The case against it in respect of noise, and view of the landscape is just overwhelming. There is only one rightful decision and that is refusal. We just hope the planning committee can see that.”

A report by planning officers recommends that the committee refuses the application next week on the grounds that it would cause significant harm to landscape character, in particular to the landscape of the Nidderdale AONB.

More than 400 people have commented on the application on Harrogate Borough Council’s website over the years, the majority of which oppose the development.

Ripley Castle owner Sir Thomas Ingilby said the turbines would be visible from castle and spoil the view.

In a letter he said: “To allow an industrial feature in this hitherto unspoiled natural landscape would undermine the importance and integrity of these important heritage assets.”

The report by Harrogate council also finds that there is a chance the turbines could interfere with radar, limiting the capacity to handle air traffic systems.

Currently there are eight turbines at Knabs Ridge which nearby ward Coun Christine Hill (Con, Lower Nidderdale) said run at less that 20 per cent efficiency.

“If they were efficient and created enough energy I would have to give them some consideration but it they are just not worth it. Very few people around here are happy with those already up there, I drive past every day and rarely see them all working.”

Mr Smith added: “There has been a sea of change in opinion and policy on wind farms in the years since Knabs Ridge went through, I doubt it would get permission now.”

l What do you think? Email news@harrogateadvertiser.co.uk, see our website for an update on the decision.