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‘Exclusion zone’ plan for wind turbines
POLITICIANS in North Yorkshire are to consider whether they should set a limit on how close wind farms can be built to homes.
A scrutiny group within North Yorkshire County Council has recommended setting a minimum “separation distance” of two kilometres (about 1.2 miles) between “large-scale” groups of masts and the nearest residential properties.
It also said turbines would be “inappropriate” in national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Its views will now go before the authority’s executive before any final decision is taken.
Council officers said a balance has to be struck between the need to embrace renewable energy technology and growing public concern about the impact of wind farms.
Campaigners in East Yorkshire have called for the Yorkshire Wolds to be made an AONB in a bid to protect the area after a recent increase in the number of planning applications for wind turbines.
A report for councillors by Ray Bryant, North Yorkshire County Council’s senior policy officer, said wind farm applications could be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
However, a blanket two-kilometre gap has now been suggested to the executive. “Onshore wind is one of the more cost-effective and established renewable technologies and has become economically more attractive on a global scale,” said the report. “Progress made in efficiency and relative cost has, however, been accompanied by a hardening of public attitudes towards wind farms in many parts of the country.”
It said any new county council policy on distances would have a “limited effect” and would not be a “comprehensive guide” on wind farm issues or cover “small-scale individual wind turbines”.
If it was introduced, developers wanting to build wind farms closer than two kilometres to homes could be required to show how noise, shadows and the appearance of their schemes would not affect residents.