Plans for a test wind turbine in Leyland is causing a ‘bad feeling in the community’ according to residents – and their opinions could finally place some real weight on the overall decision to erect it.
Almost 20 letters of objection have been sent to South Ribble Council over United Utilities’ plans to build a 50m ‘meteorological mast’ for a two-year period at its Wastewater Treatment Works site off Emnie Lane, near Leyland Lane.
The firm wants to use the mast to test if wind power is a sustainable source of renewable energy in the area, with the hope of replacing it with a 79m wind turbine in the future.
It needs to get permission for the smaller structure, which neighbours say will make it easier for the company to then get approval for the large turbine.
Victoria Park Avenue residents Robert and Alison Ashcroft, wrote: “This application should be viewed as being an application for a wind turbine.
“The monitoring mast may be less intrusive than the proposed future wind turbine, but as this is only a temporary measure, it is pointless to approve such a monitoring mast if the stated intention of the applicant is to install a more substantial wind turbine.”
Angela Edney, from Leyland Lane, added: “There should be no temporary structure as a permanent turbine of any realistic height is not appropriate for the area ... a test mast is a waste of time, effort and money, along with disruption and bad feeling in the local community.”
She also described the ‘alien’ object as being likely to cause a ‘scar on a large green area of Leyland’.
Another Leyland Lane resident said: “Objection to a temporary structure is more difficult than to a permanent one.
“Following the two-year trial period, its mere existence will inevitably facilitate its conversion to a permanent wind turbine.”
Residents in South Ribble have been fighting various plans for wind turbines across the borough for years, with council planning committee members describing the barrage of plans as verging on ‘harassment’ for the local communities.
But last week, the Government announced changes to planning law which will mean residents will have more say in whether wind turbines are sited in their areas.
South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook joined colleagues last year in signing a letter to the Prime Minister outlining strong opposition to wind turbines. The letter called for the views of local residents to be given more weight in planning decisions.
Current planning decisions on onshore wind are not always reflecting a locally-led planning system, but under the new planning guidance, the Department for Communities and Local Government will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities.
It will also give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns.
Lorraine said: “This is fantastic news for residents in South Ribble who do not want wind turbines blighting our local landscape.
“It is absolutely right that local residents should have greater say in whether or not wind turbines are on their doorstep.
“Let’s hope this marks the beginning of the end of unwanted wind turbines in South Ribble!”