COUNCILLORS have criticised the number of windfarm schemes being developed in and around Selby district, claiming the projects are being "dumped" on the area.

On Wednesday, Selby District Council's planning committee passed an application for an 80-metre tall wind measuring mast to be put in in West Haddlesey.

The village's parish council objected to the mast on the grounds that it would disrupt local wildlife.

Coun John McCartney, who represents Eggborough on the district council, said there was mounting opposition to windfarms across the district.

Parish councillors concerned about wind turbine projects in the district were set to meet at the Civic Centre, in Portholme Road, last night - an event organised by Coun McCartney and his wife, Mary, who also represents Eggborough on the district council.

"I think the monitoring tower is a precursor to full-blown turbines," he said. "I've met local parish councils and spoken to those involved.

"There's a lot of opposition to them - that's why I organised the meeting for the parish councils where these applications are coming forward."

He said there were lots of applications on the horizon.

"There's this monitoring tower, a company is looking to build a windfarm between Kellington and Whitley, there's another proposed at Darrington, near Pontefract, one at Pollington, in East Yorkshire.

"There's an application at Rusholme, near Drax, and two turbines have just opened at Loftsome Bridge water treatment works.

"They're talking about placing another power station in this district - but this time in the form of wind turbines."

He said at the current rate of applications, the Government quota for windfarms in North Yorkshire would be filled entirely by projects in, or bordering on, Selby district.

"The targets for North Yorkshire are going to be met from within the district," he said. "They're dumping them all here in Selby and people are thinking, hang on a minute, we've already got three power stations here."

He said: "When I go for a walk, I can see Kellingley colliery, Eggborough, Drax and Ferrybridge power stations and all the pylons that go along with that.

"If all this goes ahead, I'll have four wind farms too. It seems to be based on the principle, you've already got all these things, you can have some more."

The wind measuring mast at West Haddlesey will be in operation for at least 18 months.

Once tests are complete, North Energy Associates, the energy consultancy firm responsible for the trials, will report on whether the site is suitable for wind turbines.

Director Bill Lowther said: "People seem to have objected purely on the grounds that if a mast is put up, turbines will follow.

"But that's not true - it's part of a big process. At the end of the trial we recommend whether to go ahead or not, based on wind measurements over a couple of years."