England could get its largest onshore wind farm in West Yorkshire

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Calderdale Windfarm Ltd, supported by Worldwide Renewable Energy Global (WWRE), has unveiled plans for what could become England’s largest onshore wind farm, located on Walshaw Moor in West Yorkshire. The proposed project encompasses 65 turbines, ranging from 150 to 200 meters in height, with an accompanying energy storage component of up to 150 MW. If approved, the wind farm is expected to generate up to 302 MW of electricity, powering approximately 286,500 homes annually.

The project, set to be one of the first wind farm applications in England since the government eased regulations in September, is part of the UK’s commitment to expanding carbon-free renewable energy sources. However, the proposal has sparked controversy, with environmental campaigners expressing concerns about potential damage to the sensitive blanket bog habitats on Walshaw Moor. These areas, described by Natural England as “among the most important habitat England has to offer,” play a crucial role in carbon storage.

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Calderdale Windfarm Ltd acknowledges the need for collaboration with the local community, environmental groups, and authorities to address concerns and shape the final project design. The company aims to submit a full planning application to Calderdale Council in the summer of 2024.

The development has faced opposition from those wary of the impact on the landscape, echoing previous challenges in obtaining approval for wind projects in England since 2015. The proposed wind farm could bring significant changes to the region, including the cessation of heather burning and shooting on Walshaw Moor, with the promise of planting up to 300,000 new trees. Additionally, a £75 million Community Benefit Fund is proposed to aid in reducing fuel poverty across the district.

As the application progresses, discussions will likely revolve around finding a balance between meeting the growing demand for renewable energy, addressing environmental concerns, and preserving the unique landscape of Calderdale. The final decision rests with Calderdale Council’s planning committee, which is expected to review the application in the coming year.