‘You’re supposed to be protecting countryside’

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A COUNTRYSIDE campaign group has been attacked for supporting a ‘huge’ wind turbine close to the site where a wind farm was refused planning permission.

Stocksbridge Town Council has written to South Yorkshire Campaign to Protect Rural England expressing ‘serious concerns’ about the group’s decision to back a planning application for a 78- metre, or 256 ft, high turbine at Tofts Lane, overlooking the town.

Town councillor Jack Clarkson, who is also a member of Sheffield City Council, said CPRE objected to proposals for a five-turbine windfarm at Sheephouse Heights, close to Tofts Lane, which were refused permission.

He said: “The CPRE is supposed to exist to protect the countryside yet here it is supporting a planning application for a huge turbine on a prominent hill top site.

“They have not sought the views of the 15,000 people in Stocksbridge, Deepcar and Bolsterstone about this planning application which, if approved, will lead to them being overlooked by this monstrosity in a very rural area which needs protecting.”

A spokeswoman for CPRE said: “We’re supporting the plans for the single turbine at Tofts Lane. It’s one turbine, and smaller than the five that were proposed at nearby Sheephouse Heights.

“They were 125 metres high, or 410ft high - and we celebrated when that application was refused. The Tofts Lane turbine is 78 metres high, and will be in between pylons of a similar height that are already there. It will produce much needed green energy.

“We don’t sit on the fence when applications for renewable energy are submitted. We either support or oppose.

“If we were only driven by the concerns of people living nearby, then we’d have to oppose every turbine in South Yorkshire. That wouldn’t be sensible given the urgent need to increase renewable energy.”