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Lancashire windfarm defies MoD and council opposition

A proposed windfarm in a Lancashire village has been approved by planners, despite the fact it was opposed by local authorities, locals and the Ministry of Defence

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The windfarm was approved despite fierce oppostion

The plans for a windfarm near the village of Wilpshire were first revealed over a year ago, with residents setting up a ‘no’ campaign based on the fact they said it did not take into account the nature of the Ribble Valley.

Similar appeals have seen projects in the likes of Aberdeen stall at the planning stage, with local outrage being a common theme surrounding the renewable options.

However, despite the fact they were not the only group to oppose the proposal, it won approval on appeal, and the windfarm will now be built at the Carr Hall Home and Garden Centre, in the village.

Plans ‘devastating’ to the area

When the plans were originally rejected by the local council, they were described as being “devastating” to the aesthetics and the natural aura that surrounds the Ribble Valley.

Plans would see three 46-metre turbines installed at the garden centre, with the majority of the energy generated being transferred to the National Grid.

However, the council was not the only opponent to the proposal at this stage, with 360 letters of objection having been received by the planning department before the original decision was made.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Defence even came forward with a reason to oppose the proposal. The department said that having such sizeable turbines in the area might have a negative effect on its air traffic control radar systems.

However, in spite of this opposition, when the applicant Andrew Donelan, from the Whalley Road centre, tabled an appeal against the original decision, the planning inspectorate gave the project the green light.

Inspector Anthony Thickett said that the installation of wind turbines would have a limited effect on the aesthetic and natural surroundings of Wilpshire.

Council disappointed

Langho councillor Lois Rimmer said the decision to allow the turbines to be built was disappointing.

“I fear anybody coming along Whalley Road is going to see them on the hillside.

“Personally, I do not think wind turbines are a good source of energy. I believe quite honestly that the droning noise and vibrations risk creating health problems,” she said.

However, the planning inspector Thickett concluded: “The council’s reason for refusal alleges that there is insufficient information to enable proper assessment of the impact of the proposed development on protected species, namely bats, lapwing and curlew.

“However, I am satisfied that, subject to a condition prohibiting work in nesting season (unless there are no nests present), the proposed development would not have an adverse effect on protected species.”

It is believed that the installation will have a sizeable environmental impact on the area as well. The three turbines are predicted to be able to produce some 600,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year, which would be equivalent to enough power for 120 homes.

The UK is currently in need of more renewable sources of energy, and there are fears that the current uptake is not sufficient to replace the coal-fired power stations which are being decommissioned across the country.

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