PROPOSALS for two huge wind turbines at University of York’s new Heslington East complex have received a cautious welcome from nearby residents.

The university is currently working with Partnerships For Renewables, part of the Carbon Trust, to assess which area of the 117 hectare site would be suitable for the turbines.

The scheme, which is still at the pre-planning application stage, was described as “a great idea” by Richard Frost, a member of Heslington’s community forum, but he did have some reservations about the windmill, which could be up to 400 ft tall.

“It would be a dreadful thing if it was to be put on Kimberlow Hill,” he said. “They are dredging the lake and the spoil from that is being used to raise the hill.

“It will be a public amenity where trees are being planted and it would be dreadful if they were to put them there.

“But if they were to put it somewhere else, I would applaud it.”

Jeffrey Stern, a member of Heslington Parish Council, said: “I personally have no objections to the idea.

“The facility was just going to have a bio-mass boiler system which I thought would be inadequate.

“There are pylons anyway which are being removed and the power put underground, so that’s a blot on the horizon which will disappear.

“The more self-sufficient the university is the better.”

Jo Fleming, regional manager for Partnerships For Renewables, said: “We are currently undertaking feasibility work to establish whether we should progress to the more detailed environmental work that is ultimately required before a planning application can be made.

“We are committed to only developing wind turbines in appropriate locations and if we get results back from any of our studies that show that a site is not appropriate we will stop working on it.

“The development process is a long one and it is likely that even if the results of studies and consultations are positive it is likely to be two years before a planning application comes forward.”

Elizabeth Heaps, the university’s pro-vice-Chancellor for estates, said the turbines could bring considerable benefits in helping the university to meet stringent renewable energy targets.