Wind turbine plan prompts another green belt debate

Another controversy is in the air over a proposed wind turbine in the green belt in the north of Sheffield.

Plans for a 24 metre structure in the village of Dungworth are reviving the arguments of renewable energy against the impact on the environment.

City councillors last week rejected an application for two 34.5 metre wind turbines in the Ewden Valley, at Hollin Edge near Stocksbridge, because of the effect on the green belt and nearby Peak District National Park. The verdict followed widespread community protests.

Now the council is being asked to grant permission for a single, smaller turbine at Syke House Farm, off Sykehouse Lane.

Farm owner Robert Gray is underlining the wider environmental and economic benefits. The turbine would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 43 homes and provide a secure supply for his business, reducing overall energy costs and its carbon footprint.

“The proposed development, although modest in scale, will stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” says a submission to the council. “A wind turbine is an essential part of the applicant’s business plan to grow the farm business plan.”

Farmers and landowners play an important part in protecting and managing the environment, it is argued. “This may be at risk if farms and rural enterprises are not allowed to adapt and diversify, and this includes investment in new technology, new plant and processes and new business opportunities.

“Investment in cheaper, cleaner energy is an important part of this process.”

But online objections are already being lodged with the council.

Loxley Valley Protection Society says there are direct comparisons with the Ewden Valley application where the environmental impact was judged to outweigh the benefits of renewable energy.

The conclusion for the Dungworth application is reached “with some regret, as ideally one does not want to oppose renewable energy regeneration,” says secretary Jan Symington. “But it is felt we should support the reasonable neighbour objections to this scheme and hope alternative schemes of less visual impact can be achieved.”

The society warns of setting a precedent and adds: “The city and environs are blessed with much fast flowing water, the power of which has been harnessed historically, and could be done so again.”

Bradfield Parish Council points to the green belt location and says the wind turbines would be “a blot on the landscape”.

A Dungworth resident says: “Anyone familiar with the countryside around Holmfirth can attest to the carnage created by these monolithic monsters.”

It was sunnier but cooler

Sheffield has had the sunniest November for seven years - 82.7 hours compared with an average of about 53 hours.

But temperatures were below normal, according to Museums Sheffield, which runs Weston Park weather centre.

The average was 6.5 deg C against a 30-year average of 9.2 deg C.

Temperatures never went above 13.7 deg C.