Wind Farm Capital title is still up for grabs...

Ovenden Moor, where 23 turbines stand, visible from miles around
Ovenden Moor, where 23 turbines stand, visible from miles around

OVER the past few decades there have been a number of proposals to transform the economic prospects of Calderdale.

Remember when tourism was going to deliver the goods? Coaches would disgorge trippers by the thousand to gawp at the Last Working Clog Factory in Britain before moving on to Halifax to gaze in wonder at all the Victorian buildings that the council never got round to demolishing in the 1960s.

Well, tourism never quite lived up to all the optimism invested in it, but the early 1990s saw another idealistic scheme to boost Calderdale.

The district was all set to become the Wind Farm Capital of Britain!

That was the phrase actually used by the scheme’s promoters. The idea was that every hillside in the district would acquire its own wind farm, so that in whichever direction you looked, giant white turbines would be whirring away (except when it was too windy and they had to be shut down, that is).

The geography of Calderdale – with all its hilltops and valleys – meant that it was feasible to dream of it becoming the Wind Farm Capital of Britain and thus a beacon of environmental hope for the whole planet.

It was a scheme hatched soon after the Ovenden Moor wind farm opened in 1993. The novelty value of its 23 turbines was such that to begin with it was conventional to swoon at how majestic and beautiful they were.

I’ve got a horrible feeling that I wrote a short article on those lines. But then I began to notice – with surprise – how far afield one could see the Ovenden turbines.

On a clear day they seemed to be visible from just about anywhere in Yorkshire.

In itself that was no problem, but the thought of every hillside in Calderdale sprouting these things was thoroughly dispiriting.

It never panned out that way. But now, however, there are proposals to replace the Ovenden moor turbines with a smaller number of monster machines more than twice the height of the existing ones. Blimey, you’d be able to see them from outer space.

The prospect is simultaneously thrilling and appalling.

But if it happens – and there is understandable opposition – then maybe we could claim that Wind Farm Capital title after all. And eco-tourists would come by the coach load…