Bradford Council has turned down half of the applications to build wind turbines submitted to it in the past 20 years, a report has revealed.
On Tuesday, Bradford Council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee will be given an update on how the Council decides where turbines can be built.
They will hear how despite wind energy having the potential to produce nine per cent of the district’s electricity, many proposals were viewed as causing too much visual harm to the surrounding landscape.
The committee felt it was not obvious why some were approved and some refused.
Bradford uses roughly 1,964 gigawatt hours of electricity a year and a recent study by engineering company Aecom found there was the capacity to generate 183GWh, nine per cent of this, through large wind farms. There are no such wind farms in the district – most turbines are on farms and rural sites.
Current planning policy says that although Council officers have to give weight to environmental benefits of turbine applications, they must not let such developments harm the surrounding areas.
The report, by planning strategy manager Andrew Marshall, says: “When located in the Green Belt, elements of many renewable energy projects will comprise inappropriate development. In such cases developers will need to demonstrate very special circumstances if projects are to proceed.”
Since 1992 the Council has received 101 applications for turbines, with 51 approved and 50 refused. Of those refused, seven have gone to appeal, with inspectors dismissing four.
There are five applications waiting for a decision: at Black Pots Farm and Green Acres, Fishbeck Lane, both in Silsden, and three in Denholme – Keelham Hall Farm, Shay Farm and Ashbrook Hall Farm.
There are also five appeals in progress: at Eldwick, Oxenhope, Harden and Silsden.
Committee chairman Councillor Martin Love (Green, Shipley) said: “We seem to allow turbines in some parts of the district but not others. I will be asking some questions at the meeting, like when does a couple of turbines become a wind farm? There are a lot of grey areas on what is allowed and what isn’t.”
The committee meets at City Hall at 5.30pm on Tuesday.