Public meeting on wind farm expansion

Paul Slater, centre, and campaigners outside the public consultation meeting at Harrogate Grammar School on Monday, October 1.
Paul Slater, centre, and campaigners outside the public consultation meeting at Harrogate Grammar School on Monday, October 1.
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Campaigners have slammed the company behind plans for seven new wind turbines near Knabs Ridge for a lack of information about the scheme.

Around 130 residents and campaigners were at a public consultation meeting about the proposals by Kelda Water, sister company to Yorkshire Water, held at Harrogate Grammar School on Monday, October 1.

Two exhibition boards gave information on the company’s interest in wind energy and the plans for Penny Pot Lane, but many visitors complained it was “nothing we did not already know”.

Harrogate woman Jo Williams said she found the meeting “disappointing”.

“This is very superficial information, and not what I came for.

“I wanted to see a lot more information, and there are not a lot of water board employees here.”

Campaign group Save the Dales was at the meeting and member Gerry Smith, agreed not enough information was available on the night. Data available on Harrogate Borough Council’s planning website was too big to navigate, he added.

Visitors at the meeting also spoke of their worries over the visual impact the turbines will have, as well as efficiency levels.

Former Harrogate resident Tom Holleman, who spends three to four months in the area every year, said:

“We come here as tourists and wind turbines will ruin it. “Over time, people will come here to go out walking and it won’t give them the beauty it has given us, so they will go somewhere like the Lake District.

“In 10 years we will lookback and ask ‘what were we thinking?’”

Another Save the Dales member, Paul Slater, warned the scar on the landscape would hit nearby residents as well as tourists.

“At the moment, people can walk there without using their cars or public transport. It’s a huge amenity to the people of Harrogate, but who’s going to want to walk near a huge wind turbine?”

Kelda’s Client Project Manager Andrew Auld was at the meeting. He admitted the visual impact was the most common concern raised, but said the company tried to reduce the impact by using sites which already had wind turbines.

“We see this area as an existing wind farm,” he said.