ANGRY residents are preparing for battle to block the latest proposal to build a windfarm in the Denby Dale district.
The proposals for five 360ft/110m turbines near Birdsedge emerged last September after a local farmer was approached by a renewable energy company that wanted to use his land.
No planning application has yet been submitted but worried residents have already formed an official protest group – Birdsedge and district Opposition to Large wind Turbines (BOLT) – in preparation for the fight.
The new plan comes just three years after a ferocious campaign to block two wind turbines at nearby Pool Hill, in Denby Dale, was won.
Drawings seen by the Express & Chronicle show the five 226ft/69m towers would be on land to the south west of Birdsedge.
The turbines would have 270ft/82m rotors making their total height 360ft/110m – roughly a third of the height of the Emley Moor Mast.
Denby Dale councillor Jim Dodds has already hit out at the plan.
Speaking last September, he said: “Much like the ones at Pool Hill, they are too tall and they are too close to the settlements and I will be opposed to the application.”
Mick Mellor, chairman of BOLT, said if the turbines were to go ahead as depicted in the plan they would be less than 500m/1/3 mile from the nearest housing.
Kirklees Council guidelines state the minimum distance between wind turbines and housing should be 10 times the rotor diameter – 820m.
He said: “We seriously object to it because of the size of them. They are going to be among the largest in the UK.
If they were further away and smaller we would not object, but they are too close to our residences and they are going to be too tall.”
Mr Mellor said about 100 people had attended the group’s first meeting last November and only one person had been in favour of the wind farm proposal.
And he also claimed that everybody in the UK would have to pay an extra £30 a year on their utility bill to pay for the construction of thousands of wind turbines across the country.
Charles Anglin from the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) agreed that electricity bills were going to go up but said that wind power was the cheaper and more practical option.
He said: “Over the next 10 years one third of our existing power stations will have to close because they are at the end of their lives.
“We are also going to have to rebuild the National Grid. We have to replace it with something, so the issue is what do we replace it with?
“It’s absolutely true that to create the 30Gw of windpower needed we would see a 22% rise in prices.
“The alternative is to do it by gas, which is quite cheap to build. But wind doesn’t require any fuel whereas gas prices are set to go up by 60%.
“The fact of the matter is we need to have a number of energy supplies. Nuclear will take more than 10 years to build so it’s too late. Coal is dirty and gas is too expensive.
“None of this easy but we have got to take those choices. Windpower is set to create 50,000 British jobs and it tackles climate change.”
Mr Anglin added that the Government was planning install energy saving devices or “smart grids” in all homes and also connect the country to the European electricity grid to create a “Supergrid”.
He said both these things together would reduce the country’s need for back-up power from traditional power stations by two thirds.
And he also attacked misinformation about wind power on the internet and said that claims of the existence of “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, an illness affecting people living near wind turbines, had been thoroughly debunked by a number of medical experts across the world.
BOLT is to hold a public meeting at the Birdsedge Village Hall next Monday, January 11 at 7.30pm for anyone concerned about these proposals or who would be willing to help.
ForŠfurther information visit BOLT’s website at www.bolt-actiongroup.org or ring 01484 606159.