by Shaun Moloney
Campaigners are calling on local residents to act quickly and save green-belt land from a giant wind turbine.
Action group SOFFIT formed to oppose the plans, submitted by John Ogden, to build a 74-metre turbine on the land north of Hawksworth Quarry.
And Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD) claim it will “destroy the heart of the community”.
SOFFIT representative Anton Elsborg, 62, from Guiseley said: “We’re objecting to one inappropriate wind turbine. If there was a 74m high block of flats or radio mast we’d be objecting to that. It will tower above the landscape and be visible for miles around.
“I have done extensive research into the amount of noise it will produce and found they can still be heard by people living as far away as 2km.“
The site is recognised as a special landscape area (SLA) and is close to a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
SOFFIT representative Jill Bateson, 60, from Rawdon said: “We have been offered support by our local councillors and MPs, and received much support from WARD. The local SSSI is designated because of the bird life it supports but all animals are terrified of wind turbines.”
WARD held a meeting on Monday in which they discussed the environmental impact of the turbine.
WARD Chairman Dr David Ingham said: “As far as we are concerned we are saving the environment, and preventing the desecration and vandalism of it. This includes the destroying of the heart of communities in rural areas by filling in their green spaces.
“We only have to say yes to building of this turbine and that sets a precedent to the building of more. Wind turbines are not efficient, with figures collated suggesting only 27% efficiency.
Since the turbine will near the footpaths that criss-cross the area, on snowy days it will become hazardous to walkers.”
WARD Secretary Alan Elsegood said: “They have chosen almost the highest point in lower Wharfedale for the plans. It is our job to oppose any significant visual disruption in any way.”
The views of WARD have been contested by the Leeds branch of Friends of the Earth.
Simon Bowens, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said: “For the UK to play its part in tackling climate change, we need to develop a clean, renewable energy system. Wind power is an essential and major component of this future mix.”
“Suitably located turbines, like the one at Hawksworth Quarry, play a vital role in ensuring we wean ourselves of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas and ensure that we leave a good environment and quality of life for future generations.”
Mr Elsborg said: “There have been recent changes in the government guidelines for developers. Previously it has been biased towards the developers , but the planners now have instructions to take into account community responses, and we’re encouraging as many people as we can to put in objections.”
Deadline for objections is Friday July 5
Mr Ogden was not available for comment.