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Green Vandalism: Historic City Of York Threatened By A Circle Of 40 Wind Farms

Claire Duffin, The Sunday Telegraph

One of Britain’s most historic cities is being threatened by a circle of 40 wind farms under plans drawn-up by its Labour-led authority.

Historic city of York threatened by a circle of 40 wind farms
The sites have been identified in the council’s draft local plan, a document that sets out development for the next 15 years.

The council says the locations – most of which are in areas of green countryside – are only potential sites and that any wind turbines would be subject to a planning application.

But opponents fear that including the locations in the local plan will make it easier for developers and land owners to win approval.

Under reforms introduced by the Government last year, any applications that are in line with an area’s local plan can be given approval automatically.

The plan is only a draft, but the move has attracted criticism from residents who are concerned about the impact any future wind farms would have on the landscape, as well as on the views to and from the historic York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe.

There are also concerns that many of the sites will be surrounded by areas of land that are to be designated as a Green Belt area in the plan.

Joe Watt, a Conservative city councillor, said: “The fear is that if it is on the plans and is accepted by the government inspector, then that is seen as a green light for a developer to come and put a wind turbine up.”

All local authorities must have a local plan, which sets out its planning strategy, including houses and infrastructure.

York is part way through an eight-week consultation on its draft plan, which will end on July 31.

The council will then consider representations made during the consultation period before publishing a final local plan in early 2014.

It will then be examined by the planning inspector who could approve, recommend changes or turn down the plan. If approved it could be adopted by 2015.

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