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Trawden turbine proposals spark debate

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A total of 17 wind turbines for Colne and its surrounding villages have been submitted to Pendle Council over the past two years.

Four of the proposals were approved, seven were withdrawn and six were refused.

And now, with proposed plans for Buttock Laithe Farm, in Coal Pit Lane, Trawden, being re-submitted, yet more debate about wind power has been sparked within the local community.

The application, if given the green light, would consist of a 50kw turbine, foundations and a control unit. The turbine would have a hub height of 36.6m and an overall height of 48.6m.

For some the application has revived a number of fears, while for others it is a way of creating opportunities.

Chris Taylor (67), of Cotton Tree Lane, is against turbines for various reasons, including the fact they could lead to a rise in energy bills, leave a blight on the landscape and his belief that one application could turn into “dozens”.

Talking about the latest plans, he said: “Turbines may be in the interest of the government and revenue, but they are not in the interest of residents.

“One turbine will lead to dozens. But even if residents object, and it gets turned down, it doesn’t stop anybody else from putting in an application.

“My view is that turbines are another tool for exploiting people, not just in Pendle, but throughout the rest of the country as well.”

One resident less concerned about the latest proposals, but still fearful over the issue is Brian Jackson from Friends of the Earth. He said: “If there was a lot of turbines I would be worried. But farmers need to make a living somehow.

“We need to keep our eye on the situation, so that it doesn’t spiral out of control. We don’t want it turning into a major windfarm project.”

But for Jon Roche, site finder for DC21 Group Ltd, small scale wind turbines are a way of guaranteeing local energy security, providing employment and putting money into the pockets of local landowners. He would much rather see turbines installed in the local area than fracking rigs or huge power stations, and reassured residents that there are no plans for a Pendle windfarm.

Mr Roche, who lives opposite the proposed site in Bankfield Street, said: “We need to budget around £300,000 for any turbine - which includes a deconstruction cost for 25 years down the road. By any stretch of the imagination, these are temporary structures. There has been a lot of scaremongering and we need to be calm and reasonable.

“Every application we have put in has been refused, apart from one in Blackburn, and in the last 30 appeals, we have lost only one. If this gets refused, we will be appealing.”

Responding to the feedback from the Buttock Laithe Farm proposals, Leader of Pendle Council Coun. Joe Cooney said that each wind turbine application is considered “very very carefully” by the council. He said: “We are not against wind turbines, but they have got to be in the right location, be the right size, and they have got to have some community benefit.

“What we don’t want is huge, big blights on our countryside.”

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