There is currently a planning application for a wind turbine at the top the hill on the Swales Moor Road site of Leo Group Ltd.
It would be 77 mtrs. (254 ft.) high to the tip, i.e. 50 per cent higher than the original turbines at the Ovenden Moor Wind Farm. This turbine would dominate the Shibden Valley and would seriously intrude on the bare hilltops viewed from many surrounding areas including Queensbury, Illingworth, Ovenden, Highroad Well and Savile Park, thus damaging the settings of the historic town centre of Halifax and the Akroyden Conservation Area. Single wind turbines have a place in helping in a very modest way to reduce greenhouse gases, but the Green Belt at the top of the ridge at Swales Moor overlooking the Special Landscape Area is absolutely not one of them. The Shibden Valley Society supports green energy generation, but not where it is done in a way that would permanently damage a landscape that is highly valued by residents and by the many visitors who come to enjoy it from Calderdale and further afield. It does not seem right that the substantial income from the feed-in tariff would go just to a privately owned company, while everyone else is left with the resulting despoilation of the landscape that we should all be protecting for future generations. The need to get a proper balance and to respond to the concerns of local communities has however been recognised by the government with the issue of new planning guidance and in recent statements. As the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said in June, “Meeting our energy goals should not be used to justify the wrong development in the wrong location.” We hope that readers who share our concerns will send their comments to the Planning Department by the deadline of 29 October, quoting Application 13/00947/FUL, and that they will make their feelings known to their councillors. It should also be noted that there is a further threat to the setting of Halifax and to the Shibden Valley from an application for a 34 mtr. (113 ft.) wind turbine lower down the same ridge above Bradford Old Road (Pepper Hill). This application, 13/00816/FUL, is still to be determined by the council.
D R Witcher
Shibden Valley Society