England's biggest wind farm could be built in Calderdale - covering more than 2,300 hectares of moorland

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Plans for a major onshore windfarm which could be England’s biggest if it progresses are being submitted for hills above a Calderdale town.

Calderdale Wind Farm Ltd, in conjunction with renewable energy investors WWRE, is exploring options to build the windfarm on more than 2,300 hectares of land at Walshaw Moor, above Hebden Bridge.

A scoping report for the proposed windfarm – on land either side of the three reservoirs at Walshaw Dean – has been submitted to Calderdale Council to help identify the significant likely affects of the project.

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These will need to be fully assessed as part of a future planning application, says the company.

The wind farm could be England's biggest is if goes aheadThe wind farm could be England's biggest is if goes ahead
The wind farm could be England's biggest is if goes ahead

Proposals include building up to 65 wind turbines, capable of generating up to 302MW of renewable electricity, and establishing a £75 million community benefit fund.

WWRE says the wind farm could generate enough renewable energy to power up to 286,491 homes per year.

Proposals would also include planting of 300,000 new trees across the Walshaw Moor Estate and enhanced flood mitigation measures to help reduce the risk of flooding.

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There is a long, 30-year history of windfarm proposals for moorland above the upper Calder Valley and through the 1990s some projects were controversial and bitterly fought.

WWRE says further information about community consultation will be announced later this year.

Its executive chairman Christopher Wilson said submission of the scoping report marked a significant milestone for the Calderdale Wind Farm project.

“It follows extensive environmental, ecological and wind studies to understand the potential of Walshaw Moor and means we can now begin to explore in more detail how we might be able to create a fantastic renewable energy project in Calderdale,” he said.

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“The wind potential of Walshaw Moor is incredible and presents a real opportunity for the area to play a nationally significant role in the UK’s net zero transition.

“If consented, it will also mean the end of grouse shooting on the estate.”

Mr Wilson said many of the proposed measured aligned with Calderdale Council’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2038.

The project was exploring how a Community Benefit Fund could be used to provide financial support to households in fuel poverty across the 30-year operational lifetime of the Calderdale Wind Farm, he added.