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National park authority urges refusal for major wind farm

This is an archived press release

Friday 14 August 2009

14 August 2009

National park authority urges refusal for major wind farm

Better renewable energy solutions should be pursued for sensitive landscapes than wind farms, said the Peak District National Park Authority as it urged refusal of a major wind farm within 1.5 miles of its boundary.

The Authority’s planning committee unanimously recommended that an appeal by Derbyshire Wind Energy Ltd over its proposed wind farm on Matlock and Middle Moors should be refused by the Secretary of State.

The wind farm would have five turbines, with blade-tips up to 126 metres high - among the highest in England. At well above twice the 51-metre height of Nelson’s Column, it would be visible from most vantage points in the national park up to 20 miles away.

The wind farm’s harm to the national park landscape would heavily outweigh its contribution to the region’s renewable energy targets, said the committee.

It would harm the enjoyment of remote, wild areas which national parks were set up to protect, as well as threatening conservation and the local economy by deterring tourism.

Planning committee chair Cllr Hilda Gaddum said: “We and other English national park authorities very much support the drive for renewable energy, and are committed to making a positive contribution to national and regional targets. We believe there is much greater scope for alternative solutions, such as micro hydro-power in national parks with abundant water sources like ours, which would be less harmful than wind farms to our precious landscapes.

“This proposal would be a major development that should be treated no differently from any other major development on our borders - be it a quarry or a factory. This is not the right place for this sort of development because of its sheer scale and impact on a sensitive landscape. Members were most concerned that the national park was barely referred to in the proposal.

“We are absolutely supportive of appropriate renewable energy, and have approved small-scale wind-turbines within the national park. But we feel that at national level, industrial-scale wind-power has been emphasised at the expense of developing innovative micro renewable schemes.”

The Authority, together with Derbyshire Dales District Council and High Peak Borough Council, has just published a Peak Sub-Region Climate Change Study which identifies the potential for renewables and low-carbon technologies in sensitive landscape areas.

In addition, through its Sustainable Development Fund, it has helped finance a detailed study of potential sites for micro-hydro power schemes by the Friends of the Peak District. This study, also supported by the East Midlands Renewables Initiative, will be published in the autumn.

And it has produced a Climate Change Action Plan to co-ordinate actions by all the local authorities, environmental and community organisations in the national park – see www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/climatechange

This is an archived press release

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