At the meeting of the Parish Council Planning Committee last night, the Council expressed great concern at the growing number of planning applications for small scale wind turbines in Saddleworth. Reservations at the process being adopted by Oldham Council in determining these applications was also expressed. Over recent months a number of these turbines have received approval.
At the meeting the Council recommended refusal of an application to build two 15m turbines on Harrop Edge as these would be visible over a large area and spoil the openness of the Castleshaw landscape. Attention was also drawn to the small amount of electricity they would generate and the amount of CO2 gases saved.
Cllr Derek Heffernan, in proposing refusal, criticised the marketing language which talked up the amount of green energy produced and greenhouse gases saved.. “In reality the turbines provide barely enough electricity to boil an electric kettle” he said, “and certainly not enough to provide the energy requirements of a single dwelling”.
Chairman of the Planning Committee Cllr Mike Buckley said “The Council have already written to the Secretary of State Mr Eric Pickles pointing out the weakness of the statement in the new National Planning Policy Framework which simply states “that in determining planning applications Councils should take into account that small scale wind turbines can make a useful contribution to green energy.. He said “in the absence of any numerical guidelines this is a totally meaningless statement but it’s one to which Oldham Council are giving great weight”.
Cllr Alan Roughley pointed out that none of these schemes would be economically viable if it were not for large subsidies arising from a levy on all our electricity and gas bills. “We are paying for these schemes”, he said, “and to compound the injury we then have to live with their negative impact on the landscape”.
Members also pointed out that the cumulative effects of all the recently approved schemes on the Saddleworth landscape was a growing concern; the schemes would not be permitted in the National Park.
The Council resolved to take up these issues with the Oldham Council Planning Department and to continue to lobby the Secretary of State for the need for better guidelines.
Diggle Community Association recently asked its members how they felt about the introduction of wind turbines in the area. The response was equally balanced between those in favour and those against. If you have an opinion to share regarding the above, please leave a comment below.