Fears for wildlife as wind turbines plan protest grows

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A campaign against a scheme for two wind turbines in Sheffield’s green belt is gathering pace in advance of a city council verdict – with concerns over the impact on wildlife.

More than 120 individual objections have now been lodged with the council, which is due to decide next month whether to approve the application for 34.5 metre structures on farmland between Bolsterstone and Deepcar in the Ewden Valley.

Bolsterstone Archaeology and Heritage Group says Bolsterstone is one of only two remaining hilltop villages in Sheffield, and the two wind turbines would have a visual impact on the conservation area.

It is argued there would also be a “harmful” effect on rare lowland heathland, which is “occupied not only be birds such as jackdaws, rooks, crows, partridge, owls and buzzards, but also colonies of lapwings and some increasingly rare birds such as cuckoos, skylarks and curlews.

“Other rare species occupying this area include brown hares, a colony of palmate newts, an estimated 30 species of dicing beetle and three species of dragonfly.”

Sheffield Wildlife Trust is also concerned about the effect on habitat, asking for more ecological survey data.

“Local people have recorded the area to be of high value to a number of notable bird species, which would not be a surprise to us given its local and proximity to a number of local wildlife sites,” says the trust.”

The Upper Don Action Group has been formed to oppose the application for Hollin Edge Farm, off Common Lane, next to Stocksbridge golf club and above Morehall reservoir.

It also has a wider brief, “to fight ‘wind-turbine blight’ on the open moors and valley sides around Bolsterstone, Stocksbridge, Worrall, Penistone and Langsett”. The group is chaired by former city council planning chairman, John Hesketh.

Many of the Ewden Valley critics support the generation of green energy, but oppose the location in this instance.

Wind turbine suppliers Earthmill say the impact on the openness of the green belt would be “minimal”.

They are telling the council that the “overriding benefits” of the turbines in addressing climate change justify making an exception to the usual green belt planning guidelines.

Barnsley Council has told Sheffield that it is not making any objection, but Penistone councillor Robert Barnard says: “Wind turbines have been imposed on this area against the wishes of most residents and even a cursory glance at the skyline to the west of Penistone shows the extent to which we now suffer from the cumulative impact of these structures.”

Green light for ‘earth house’

Designs for a three-bedroom ‘earth house’ in the Peak District have been formally approved.

The property is to be dug into a hillside, with floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and with a turf roof, replacing an old bungalow in Eyam.

The Peak District National Park planning committee said the approach was “imaginative and unique” and sympathetic to its setting.