Wind turbine protesters scent a green belt victory

Objectors to two proposed wind turbines in the Ewden Valley in the north of Sheffield are on the verge of success.

They have won the backing of council planners in their attempts to halt plans for the 34.5 metre structures to be erected on farmland between Bolsterstone and Deepcar.

The council officers say that the production of energy from a renewable source represents the exceptional circumstances needed to justify development in the green belt.

But in this instance it is outweighed by the impact on the green belt and an area of high landscape value.

“Both proposed turbines would be highly visible and prominent and from most viewpoints the height of the turbines would appear above the general ridgeline where there are no man-made features which are dominant along the ridgeline.”

Councillors will decide on Tuesday whether to accept - or reject - their officers’ recommendation.

They are under widespread pressure from community and environmental groups to refuse permission the application for the turbines at Hollin Edge Farm off Common Lane.

More than 150 individual objections have been lodged, raising concerns about the visual impact on such a sensitive area, next to the Peak National Park. The structures would be seen from Bolsterstone, Deepcar, Wharncliffe Crags, Oughtibridge, Worrall and Brighthomlee, it is argued.

Some critics point out the location is near Townend Common nature reserve, raising the issue of the effect on birds and other wildlife.

The applicants, wind turbine suppliers Earthmill say the relatively low height of the turbines would not have a major effect on habitat, and the risk of bird collision would be minimal.

Planners say more ecological information is needed - but a precautionary approach should be taken in the meantime.

Earthmill say the turbines would allow the farm business to operate in a more environmentally and financially sustainable manner.

The Upper Don Action Group is urging people to attend the planning committee.

DAG’s John Hesketh, a former chairman of Sheffield’s planning committee, welcomed the recommendation to reject the scheme, but said: “It is important that members of the planning committee see for themselves the level of opposition.”

Deepcar resident Jack Clarkson said two 114 ft wind turbines in one the most tranquil areas of Sheffield’s ‘golden frame’ would “desecrate” the beauty spot for future generations. “The Ewden valley is probably the most unspoilt and beautiful locations on Sheffield’s doorstep and we need to protect it.”

Golfers, ramblers, anglers and others whom use the Ewden Valley for leisure are among objectors.

Objectors make their point

A range of community and environmental group are urging the council to reject the application.

They include the Peak Park Authority, Upper Don Action Group, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Stocksbridge Town Council, Bradfield Parish Council, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Friends of the Peak District, Bolsterstone Community Group and MP Angela Smith.