Rage against the machines

Burniston residents who are protesting at plans to build a wind farm near their homes on Burniston Road, Burniston. Picture Dave Kettlewell. 113133'03/08/11
Burniston residents who are protesting at plans to build a wind farm near their homes on Burniston Road, Burniston. Picture Dave Kettlewell. 113133'03/08/11

RESIDENTS are up in arms over a plan to install two 25-metre wind turbines in a field on the outskirts of Scarborough.

Scarborough Council has so far received more than 120 letters objecting to the Burniston plan, as well as a 134-signature petition.

Objectors claim that the turbines would be too close to the village, but David Morgan, the farmer behind the scheme, said they would help power nearby Burniston Mill and reduce the operation’s carbon footprint.

It is one of five planning applications for small-scale wind turbine developments across the area currently being considered by the council’s planning department.

The others are:

l two turbines at Muston Wold Farm

l one turbine at Sawdon

l one turbine at Folkton

l two turbines in Hunmanby.

Lynda Clark, a retired teacher whose property is right next to the proposed Burniston development, said she felt it was too close to the village. She said: “As to being a Nimby – at 200 yards away it is nearly in my back yard. These turbines are far too close to our house, to our neighbours’ houses and the village in general. The residents of Hunmanby are worrying about turbines which will be 2,000 metres away. These would be 200 metres away. It’s far too close. Reassurances about noise are all very well, but Mr Morgan lives 30 miles away so it won’t be him that’s listening to them.”

If permission is granted the turbines would be placed on farmland, about 300 metres and 430 metres from Coastal Road, but she said it could affect the area’s Heritage Coast.

She added: “Policy E2 prevents anything being built in the coastal heritage zone that is not essential and these turbines are not essential. They are not large enough to actually run the mill – that would take 10 turbines and we don’t want 10 turbines.

“Policy E5 states that development ‘will be permitted only where it would not be detrimental to the appearance, amenity and environmental characteristics of these corridors, and where views of the coastline would not be interrupted significantly’.

“The iconic view of Scarborough Castle, from the A171 main route from the north, would be dominated by these inappropriate and completely unnecessary structures.

“We have no objection to wind turbines in principle. I recognise the need to produce renewable energy and agree that wind turbines should play their part in the right location – which is not here.”

Members of Scarborough and District Civic Society have also objected to the plan on the grounds that it is too close to the village.

But Mr Morgan, who is based at Pockthorpe in Driffield, said the turbines were needed to produce “green energy” because Burniston Mill consumed a large amount of power. He said: “We use an awful lot of energy and two of these turbines will replace a good percentage of it.”

He added that the turbines should not devalue property prices because the mill was more noticeable and closer to the village. He added: “They are further away than the planning regulations state they have to be. From Mr Clark’s house I don’t think he’ll see them because the mill is in the way.

“They are 25 metres in the air and you are going to see them from a distance but I think they look fantastic. It’s not a wind farm, wind farms are an emotive subject, it is two small turbines.”

He said that if people wanted to get an impression of how the turbines would look he already had two in operation off the B1249 Scarborough to Driffield road, about half a mile before Driffield.

Earthmill Ltd, the company which supplies and installs the turbines, is holding a meeting at the village hall on Thursday between 5pm and 8pm to try to address people’s concerns and allay fears.

Steve Milner, the company’s managing director, said that the majority of the energy produced by the turbines would be used on site and any excess would be fed back into the national grid.

He said: “Unfortunately facts get twisted and people understandably get concerned if they hear a ‘wind farm’ is going to be on their doorstep. It’s really important to clarify that the proposal is for two small-scale farm turbines and not a commercial-scale wind farm.”

According to a design and access statement to Scarborough Council the site has a good wind speed with open topography which would lend itself well to wind turbines.

It is expected that the Burniston Mill application will be heard by members of the council’s planning and redevelopment committee later this month.