Villagers fight plan for huge wind turbine

Philip Walmsley is pictured with Cliviger residents as they oppose they building of a planned wind turbine on land off Long Causeway. G060911/4
Philip Walmsley is pictured with Cliviger residents as they oppose they building of a planned wind turbine on land off Long Causeway. G060911/4

Furious residents of Mereclough have formed an action committee to fight plans for a massive wind turbine overlooking their village.

They claim the 55m high structure – a third the height of Blackpool Tower – will scar the rural landscape and fear if permission were granted for one turbine others would follow.

The application, from beef and sheep farmer Ken Tyson, of Lower Causeway Side Farm, is a commercial venture with energy from the Vestas turbine going straight to the electricy grid. It will be half a mile up Long Causeway, behind the historic Kettledrum pub in the centre of the hamlet, yards off the Long Causeway.

Mr Tyson says he wants to off-set the farm’s carbon footprint, and opted to go for one large turbine as it is designed to create the minimum noise.

The 225Kw of energy it produces will be fed directly into powerlines supplying up to 300 homes in Cliviger. People living in the area have complained very few of them were told about the plan, and they have now formed an action group objecting to the turbine, which, they say, could be the start of many.

Chairman Philip Walmsley said: “Very few people have been told about what is going on, but it will have a big impact on the area. It is going to be installed at the highest point in Cliviger and we think people should know about it. Not everybody is aware of what is going on.”

The group held its first meeting at Hurstwood Church and plans are being drawn up to lobby the MP, Civic Trust , animal and bird welfare groups and archaeologists from UCLan who have done research in the area for bronze age settlements. Said Mr Walmsley: “Consultation by the planning committee has been very haphazard. A lot of people throughout Cliviger and even further afield will be affected by visibility and noise nuisance, but will have no idea what’s going on.

“We would urge them to come to the next meeting, on September 15th, at the church, and support our actions before it is too late.

“We see this as a double minus whammy. The Government pays producers for every kilowatt of energy, so we will have to pay the turbine subsidy and see a diminution of the value of our homes.”

Objectors say the turbine, at 55m high, is bigger than the 24 at Coal Clough, which are 47m. They also say the site is nearer their homes than it is to Mr Tyson’s home and they fear if the turbine is given permission it will be the first of many.

Mr Tyson said he had no intention of having more turbines. “It is not a wind farm, it’s a single turbine,” he said. “And I have no intention of doing any more in future. I accept people are entitled to object, but personally I would rather have this than a nuclear power station on the coast.”

The application is to be considered by Burnley Council’s development control committee on October 20th. In evidence supporting his application, Mr Tyson states the farm needs to diversify, and local planning policies support diversification. It is argued the general location has a moderate to low sensitivity to wind turbine development and would be suitable for small, medium and possibly large scale developments.