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Large Windfarm proposal

From Caroline Mullen

Sunday, 22 October 2023

I thought you might update the article on the proposed windfarm at Walshaw to include the Scoping report submitted by the company to Calderdale Council - and the responses to that from consultees. So far there are responses from National Trust, Slow the Flow, Bradford Council, Historic England, and some others. Calderdale Council departments, RSPB, Natural England have been consulted and I assume they are working on responses - I can see it would take time.

The Scoping report includes documents showing where the proposed turbines would be located, and the estimated depth of peat at those locations - that includes many turbines located on areas that have deep peat. The consultees, I think, are doing a rigorous job in identifying important questions raised by the Scoping report. This includes questions about the feasibility of planting trees on peat bog, questions about Biodiversity Net Gain given the importance of the current site (and despite the serious concerns about how it has been managed in recent years), and questions about access to and across the site for construction vehicles.

The Report and consultee comments can be accessed here.

Public can't comment on this (which may be why it says there are no public comments), so it's just the organisations they have consulted - I think the Council are using the generic planning site)

The planning website is a bit clunky, and you have to click through to find comments - and some comments are uploaded as documents, others not. But if people are interested/concerned about the windfarm, it's worth reading and I think gets past sometimes unhelpful for/against.

From Tim M

Tuesday, 24 October 2023

This scheme is very concerning. Whilst it is imperative we address the climate crisis the impact 65 turbines will have on this landscape is rather throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Irreplaceable habitat simply can't be replaced, it's hard to understand how this will 'enhance' biodiversity and that's before the impact on the cultural heritage. I'm not convinced that the use of methodology for assessing the impact of windfarms on Scotland is directly applicable either. As this doesn't comply with the local plan, hopefully it's not going to happen, but I doubt we'll see the last of it anytime soon.

From Bill S

Wednesday, 25 October 2023

So what is the point.

We apparently produce less than 1 percent of the worlds Carbon footprint.  So building a wind farm up on moors to power a  1/4 million homes wont make a blind bit of difference in the grand scheme of things.
Even if the whole of the UK became Carbon neutral, it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference..... 

The only beneficiaries will be the land owner and the turbine companies.  Not us, not the land,  not the environment, not the nature, not the world.

Of course one could say if everybody does their bit we might save the world. That is not happening, its not going to happen. It is not Economically viable for most major carbon polluting countries in the world.

So why spoil such a beautiful moorland with giant uneconomical wind turbines.

From Chris Barnett

Thursday, 26 October 2023

Here's a link to an article by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, which puts the 1% emissions figure in a wider context.

From Caroline Mullen

Saturday, 28 October 2023

Thanks to Chris for posting the blog piece. Some useful information.

The overwhelming evidence I understand from IPCC and more widely is that we can't ignore carbon/GHG emissions from any source, and face a huge and urgent challenge to decarbonise.

Two questions on this which are relevant to the proposed windfarm on this specific site:

1. As others have said there is an acute biodiversity crisis. If the development adds to that, even for decarbonisation it may be (dangerously) counterproductive. The consultees (including RSPB, Environment Agency, Natural England) have numerous comments on assessing biodiversity implications of the plan.

2. The Environment Agency response to the scoping report says: "More attention needs to be paid to the layers of peat and what damage will be caused. Peat if wet will absorb carbon; however, if it dries out because of building the wind turbines and associated concrete pads with excavation down to 4m, it will become a net carbon emitter."

These are 'ifs' but, I think, really important ones for assessing the overall plan. The specific site proposed, and assessment of the detail of what is planned, seems critical here.

From Ms P Finch

Wednesday, 22 November 2023

The moor will become a giant sieve if these proposals go ahead, completely defeating all the time and money invested in flood management in the valley by the Environment Agency, Slow the Flow , Treesponsibility and others.

Each turbine base goes 6 metres into the ground.

In addition, access road materials will be dug up from the moor itself - even more invasive.

There couldn't be a more comprehensive and cynical way to trash the valuable moorland ecology than this.

From Steven Oldroyd

Thursday, 7 December 2023

Following on from last nights meeting I have set up a facebook group to oppose the windfarm developments.

Please join and share the group. Here's the link.

From Lucas K

Wednesday, 13 December 2023

I'm in favour of the development

I'm curious as to why a lot of the the residents were eco warriors before this proposal was made public, have now changed their tune - I thought renewable energy was a good thing?

This not in my backyard attitude is a serious problem.

From Andy J

Thursday, 14 December 2023

You can still support wind energy but turbine location needs to be sensitive. There are plenty of places around the South Pennines where turbines can go but not on a protected habitat which also has a key role in climate change mitigation.

From Jane J

Sunday, 24 December 2023

There is a lot talk about the purported environmental benefits of the so-called 'Calderdale Wind Farm' (which is actually Saudi-owned and Saudi-backed), as it has been presented by the developers as a green energy scheme and latched onto as a miracle cure for solving the problem of climate change and reaching net zero.

Like many people in Calderdale, I too am a champion of initiatives to reduce carbon emissions but, being familiar with the proposed site on Walshaw Moor, and having investigated the underlying issues, I have reached the conclusion that this development would be an environmental and ecological disaster for Calderdale and presents an existential threat to the countryside and wildlife of the Upper Calder Valley.

Through talking to other people it has become apparent that many locals are unaware of the precise location and extent of Walshaw Moor or its environmental significance. For the record, the Walshaw Moor Estate is a large area of ecologically rich moorland covering more than 9 square miles, owned by Lancashire businessman Richard Bannister.

In conservation terms, it is of national importance for its habitats and wildlife and is an integral part of the South Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

In addition to the moorland around Walshaw Dean with its three reservoirs extending towards Top Withens, Stanbury Moor and Haworth Moor (familiar to many as the route of the Pennine Way), the Walshaw Moor Estate includes a large part of Wadsworth Moor and Shackleton Moor, located directly above, around and between the two adjoining valleys of Hardcastle Crags (Hebden Dale) and Crimsworth Dean.

The Walshaw Moor Estate also includes the vast expanse of Widdop Moor above Widdop Reservoir extending from Great Edge and the rocky outcrop known as The Scout to Dove Stones near Boulsworth Hill in Lancashire. The 65 turbines proposed for the Calderdale Wind Farm would be scattered throughout the Walshaw Moor Estate, directly impacting the 2,352 hectares of SSSI moorland on the site itself and affecting all the neighbouring and surrounding areas in Calderdale, Lancashire and Bradford.

Make no mistake, this is a massive industrial development. Although described as a 'wind farm', there is nothing remotely agricultural about it. This is a huge power station and the only comparable developments in England are far out at sea.

The South Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is of national and importance for its wild moorland habitat and rare flora and fauna, including critically endangered species such as merlin and golden plover. Described by the Upper Calderdale Wildlife Network (a long-established group of local naturalists and conservationists) as 'the Jewel in the Crown' of Calderdale's wildlife sites, Walshaw Moor was designated as an SSSI by Natural England because of the significance of its diverse upland plant communities, with extensive areas of blanket bog on the upland plateaux punctuated by species-rich acidic flushes and mires, wet and dry heaths, heather moorland and acid grasslands.

As well as playing a crucial role in protecting the environment by sequestering carbon and storing water in the blanket peat bogs, these sensitive moorland habitats provide vital breeding and feeding sites for ground-nesting birds, including curlews, lapwings, golden plovers, oystercatchers, redshank, snipe and skylark, which return to this specific location between around February and July each year to mate, lay their eggs and rear their chicks.

SSSI sites are deemed to be of very high conservation status and are governed by legally-binding regulations to protect them from activities that would damage these habitats, which it is the responsibility of Natural England to enforce.

Left: Bog cotton on Walshaw Moor. Right: Dove Stones on Widdop Moor

Walshaw Moor's environmental and ecological significance is further reinforced by the fact that it has been designated at a European level as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA), classified under Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. This may sound rather technical but in environmental terms it is absolutely crucial, because what the landowner and the developers are proposing is to destroy the ecosystem of one of the most important and valuable habitats and wildlife sites in Europe.

The Special Area of Conservation (SAC) classification recognises the significance of Walshaw Moor's moorland habitats. Its Special Protection Area (SPA) status relates specifically to the conservation and protection of wild birds, in particular the estate's substantial population of ground-nesting birds.

SACs and SPAs are administered by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), which advises the UK Government on nature conservation, and which was constituted by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. As in the case of SSSIs, SAC and SPA regulations impose strict restrictions on what activities are permitted on these high conservation status sites. As well as being regulated by Natural England, SAC and SPA regulations carry even greater weight as they are legally binding at a European level.

In its guidance to the developer on the Calderdale Wind Farm proposal on Walshaw Moor, Calderdale Council has been advised that 'Natural England considers that any credible risk of a measurable loss of terrestrial habitat, no matter how small, from within a European Site is a "likely significant effect" and the full significance of its impact on site integrity should be screened-in and further tested by an Appropriate Assessment.

Natural England will normally advise that a lasting and irreparable loss of European Site habitat will prevent a conclusion of no adverse effect on site integrity being reached unless an Appropriate Assessment can clearly ascertain otherwise.'

Regarding Walshaw Moor's designation as a Special Protection Area, Natural England has advised that the following impacts during the construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm would be in breach of Habitats Regulations: 'Direct loss and deterioration of SPA bird supporting habitat; Indirect habitat loss due to disturbance and/displacement (including disruption to flight lines resulting from avoidance action); Mortality resulting from collisions with turbines or ancillary infrastructure'. In other words, the developers have to prove that the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm will not damage the protected habitats and protected species on Walshaw Moor during the scheme's construction and throughout its estimated 25-30 year lifespan.

Left: Curlew on Walshaw Moor. Right: Golden plover on Walshaw Moor 

This is clearly impossible as the massive scale of the excavation, construction and engineering work entailed in installing, operating and decommissioning the 65 huge 200-metre high turbines would seriously damage the SSSI moorland habitats on Walshaw Moor.

In addition to the extensive foundations and crane pads required for each individual turbine, the development would necessitate an extensive network of newly-constructed access tracks measuring at least 6 metres wide criss-crossing the entire site, and a vast network of cable runs up to 40 metres wide to connect the turbines to the National Grid.

It is self evident that the installation and running of the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm would cause widespread and irrevocable ecological damage to the wild moorland habitat and the flora and fauna throughout the Walshaw Moor Estate. As well as being environmentally disastrous, the proposed development is technically illegal as it contravenes SSSI, SAC and SPA regulations on multiple fronts.

As well as turning the entire Walshaw Moor Estate into an industrial wasteland, the wind farm would have disastrous knock-on effects on the habitats and ecosystems of nearby land, not just the moorland uplands but the hillside meadows, woodlands and steep river valleys to which the uplands are ecologically linked. Key neighbouring sites include the National Trust estate of Hardcastle Crags and the adjoining valley of Crimsworth Dean, also partly owned by the National Trust, both of which are of national importance for their rich and varied habitats and for their rare flora and fauna.


The Walshaw Moor Estate curves round Blake Dean at the head of Hardcastle Crags and encircles Crimsworth Dean on both sides of the Haworth Old Road (the popular Hebden Bridge to Haworth footpath route). If the wind farm goes ahead, these two dales would be hemmed in by turbines at either end, and literally in their shadow along their length.


The proposed Calderdale Wind Farm would not only destroy plants, wildlife and entire ecosystems on Walshaw Moor itself, it would have disastrous knock-on environmental and ecological consequences for the surrounding uplands and valleys, which are all interconnected.

The destruction of ground-nesting bird habitats on Walshaw Moor would have dire consequences for colonies of the same species which feed and breed on neighbouring land, including Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean. Birds do not respect property boundaries so the creation of a hostile environment on Walshaw Moor resulting in the destruction of their habitats would lead to their elimination in nearby areas as well.

Needless to say, reducing the permeability of the moor by destroying the peat and surfacing large areas with concrete and crushed stone would inevitably heighten the risk of flooding in Hebden Water, Crimsworth Dean Beck and the River Calder. So the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm will not only reap destruction on precious habitats and wildlife on Walshaw Moor specifically and the Upper Calder Valley in general, it could potentially reap destruction on Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Luddenfoot, Sowerby Bridge and all the communities downstream of Walshaw Moor, as it is the main catchment area for the Calder Valley.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, in their response to the Calderdale Wind Farm proposal, have stated that they 'object to the principle of this development'. They have also pointed out that 'damaging the peatland in order to install the turbines and their associated infrastructure would likely negate any possible benefit from the wind turbines in terms of green energy generation, through the release of carbon into the atmosphere which has been locked away for hundreds to thousands of years. Once peat dries out and becomes inactive it becomes incapable of storing carbon in the future.'

The RSPB are also opposed to the development and have stated in their response to the developer's Scoping Report that 'The proposal to develop a wind farm on Walshaw Moor is highly inappropriate, given the sensitivity of this location, with important peatland habitat, significant wildlife interest and protected wildlife sites.' They have also pointed out that there is no imperative for a wind farm to be constructed on this particular site: 'Given this is not the only location that a wind farm could be located in England or indeed in the UK, we consider that less damaging alternative sites for wind farm development will be available.'

Given the extent of the legally-binding SSSI, SAC and SPA regulations protecting Walshaw Moor, and the existential threat that this huge wind farm presents to environment, ecology and communities of the Upper Calder Valley, the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm is patently inappropriate and should be automatically ruled out on these grounds alone by both Natural England and Calderdale Council.

All the above quotations are from consultee responses to the Scoping Report for the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm on Calderdale Council's Planning Portal (search on Walshaw Moor).

From VJ Uttley

Tuesday, 26 December 2023

I want to say thank you to Jane J who wrote to HebWeb and explained the proposed Calderdale wind farm and explained succinctly its wide ranging implications, complete with map. It's the first time I had realized what was being proposed, who was funding/ backing this project and what damage to our environment it would cause.

From Lynne Shepherd

Wednesday, 27 December 2023

Just to say thank you for explaining it - we also object to the proposed windfarm because of the environmental impact, disruption to wildlife and disruption to life in Hebden Bridge whilst they are constructing it.

From R. Law

Wednesday, 27 December 2023

Well done to Jane J. for the carefully researched, beautifully-written and detailed, knowledgeable response to the proposed development. I wish I had faith in Natural England to do "the right thing" and I hope that they actually fulfil their remit in this regard. Since I wouldn't trust them to watch my horse, I pray that I'm wrong.

From Mary Lawrence

Saturday, 30 December 2023

Thank you Jane for your clearly written and knowledgeable piece on the disastrous effects on Walshaw Moor if the proposed wind power development were to be built. The ecological damage that would be caused to this sensitive and irreplaceable habitat seems clear, and is backed up by many of the expert consultees in the scoping report on Calderdale Council's planning portal.On environmental grounds alone it is hard to see how the scheme could be allowed to go ahead. 

There are also many other aspects which should rule it out - not least what will 65 turbines with a height of 200m spread over 9 square miles of high moorland look like? The developers admit that there is the potential for 'adverse effects' on the landscape from as far away as the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales.

This landscape has been (and still is) an inspiration for writers, artists, photographers and poets, most notably the Brontes and the former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. The site is in close proximity to Top Withins - widely believed to be the inspiration for 'Wuthering Heights.' It would also have a disastrous effect on the beautiful valley of Crimsworth Dean which features in several Ted Hughes poems including the moving 'Six Young Men' which was inspired by a photograph taken at Lumb Falls. 

This landscape is visited by tourists from Britain and around the world, and is treasured by local people who enjoy the tranquility
and wilderness experience while walking the many footpaths across the moor, including the Pennine Way. 

Although global warming presents a great threat to our planet we must carefully consider where it is appropriate for wind power developments to be sited. I am not saying, 'not in my back yard.'

This is everyone's back yard. The moors belong to us all. Let us not destroy this most precious asset for the benefit of a private equity company based in Saudi Arabia.

From Stella King

Monday, 1 January 2024

Yes thank you Jane for your careful article.

I'd like to add the matter of transport and access into the debate.

Transport & Roads. Once they are off the motorways, it is hard to see how turbines of this size can be taken up to the moor via for example, the A646, A6033 or the A6068, and through places like Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Colne, Trawden etc. Once they leave the A-roads huge transporters would have to negotiate the existing, sometimes single-track, steep and windy, local roads such as the Widdop Road. There is a risk of damage to roads, bridges and buildings on the route from the passage of such heavy traffic, and of substantial disruption to local and regional traffic over an extended period. None of this seems to have been given proper consideration so far.

Disruption to Public Rights of Way and Right to Roam across the moor. A number of Public Rights of way, including the Pennine Way, cross the site and are much used. The moor is open access with the Right to Roam . The FAQ on the developer's website concerning walkers' access is, in my opinion, unrealistic and falsely reassuring about the amount and duration of disruption the works would cause.

How Long it Would Take. Transport, noise and construction would disrupt our towns and the lives of residents living along the routes and near the site 24/7 for the years it would take to build the wind farm. The developer's FAQs suggest it would take 2 years to build, which strikes me as extremely optimistic.

From James Baker

Monday, 8 January 2024

I can understand why some people might fear the loss of a nice view or habitat.

That said, are we able to look ourselves in the mirror and say we are serious about tackling climate change (and the flooding it causes) if we don't accept the need for new renewable energy schemes like this and accept some sacrifices in terms of loss of a view or a piece of habitat. 

If we don't tackle climate change then all these moors will be subject to a lot more wild fires and damage in the years ahead. 

Also, the number of homes this scheme could power is huge. It's amazing that so many homes could be powered by sustainable energy.

We would then be able to advocate for the rest of the world to take action and say 'look we get flooded and understand the need to tackle climate change, that's why we are accepting wind turbines.' 

If everyone accepts solar and wind turbine projects like this, then our children can have a green and sustainable future.

We should 100% be backing it and starting a discussion around how local communities will also benefit from the income the wind turbines generate. 

It's just a shame Calderdale Council hasn't invested in schemes like this and instead invested in the Petrol station site in Mytholmroyd.

From Kez Armitage

Tuesday, 9 January 2024

This is so much more than the loss of a 'nice view or habitat' (although on the habitat argument alone, there are many reasons why this proposal is inappropriate)

Indeed, if this development went ahead, would we be able to look ourselves in the mirror and say what right had we to destroy the natural habitat of so much wildlife; what right had we to destroy a significant amount of blanket bog (the tiny UK has 10-15% of the world's blanket bog) which is proven to be effective in carbon capture; what right had we to put the communities of the Calder Valley at risk of major - even catastrophic - flooding; what right had we to destroy one of the last bits of wilderness between two enormous urban conurbations, and remove the benefits of physical and mental health that such an area afforded; what right had we to destroy much of the tourism industry which so many people in the Calder and Worth Valleys relied on; what right had we to do this to a project which only has a 25-30 year life span but would destroy the moors for several generations or more?

Of course we are facing a serious, maybe existential, issue with climate change, and I'm sure most of the people opposed to this industrialisation of our moors would agree, but until all the available offshore sites and all the more remote and inaccessible onshore sites have been exploited, places like Walshaw Moor should be an absolute last resort. The other aspect we should be looking at much more seriously is attempting to reduce our power consumption - successive governments merely pay lip service to improving the generally appalling insulation of our houses, without taking any meaningful action - rather than just building more and more power generating units.  

From Enid Craven

Tuesday, 9 January 2024

I cannot add anything further to the indepth and learned objections to this proposal. It has all been stated in an extremely measured way. All I can add is beware of the horrendous future if this plan goes ahead. This is being touted as green. Any fool can see its far from it!! Reminds me of The Emperor's Suit of Clothes. Can anyone on this forum who supports it not see that simple fact. It's profit that is driving this, pure and simple, dressed up in its green cloak. I rest my case.

From Penny Price

Tuesday, 16 January 2024

Thanks Jane for putting such a strong case explaining why this scheme should not go here.

We must not allow ourselves to be hoodwinked into accepting this scheme which is about a developer seeing an opportunity to make money. An objective analysis of sites for wind turbines in Yorkshire would not identify Walshaw Moor as a site for wind turbine development for the many reasons Jane has set out.

We certainly need to develop renewable energy as a nation but the way we plan this needs to be much better considered, and not down to the whim of a developer and a landowner with a track record of poor management.

From S Van Wick

Thursday, 18 January 2024

Thank you Jane for the detailed, clear and knowledgable piece you have written and to others who have commented in a balanced and informed manner.

This proposal is the largest onshore windfarm in England and I feel it is probably a bit of a test case. If this proposal is given the go ahead then the doors open to many other sensitive areas across England.

I have worked within a range of community projects for many years and successfully delivered environmentally positive, carbon negative and sustainable models which are small but have a high positive impact on the local community.

This proposal appears to be the other way round entirely, huge, environmentally destructive (permenantly), with questionable carbon benefits, not long term (planned to be decommissioned in 30-25 years) and will have enormous detrimental impacts on many communities and economies residing/ working/ travelling or visiting this area. Yes it will produce energy, but at what cost?

The community benefit is highly misleading as the energy produced will not power local homes, but go straight into the National Grid nor can it be stored. There will be no direct economic benefit as all the turbine production, transportation and site construction will have to be carried out by specialised companies based out of area.

If this proposal goes ahead, I foresee this having a multi-layered detrimental impact on the communities and businesses in Calderdale, Burnley, Haworth, Stanbury, Oxenhope, Hebden Bridge, Keighley etc. Not to forget the increased risk of flooding, the protection works for which are still ongoing and were not designed to take into account excavation of this land which currently acts as a natural sponge.

I am in support of renewable energy but I object strongly to the destruction of vital bio diverse and sensitive environments which support the ever shrinking accessable landscapes which for many years have provided a haven for bird life, wild life, fauna, peat bogs, walkers, visitors (including international) , artists, writers, local residents . This area is particularly vulnerable and should by rights be a protected National Park.

I must add that simply because I object to the inappropriate siting of this windfarm does not mean I don't understand the urgency with which we all have to accept change in our approach to energy use or production. It absolutely needs to be done with consideration and sensitivity, thereby protecting our natural assets and with a much longer term vision of more localised, community engaged energy production.

My belief is that this proposal will make alot of money for a few people who have absolutely no interest in a long term beneficial view of protecting our struggling planet and the people/ animals/ birds/ insects/ plants that live within.

I certainly don't pretend to be an expert or have the answers to the complex questions this proposal raises but I am very willing to learn which is made more possible thanks to people who have submitted comments on this forum.

I and others have been taken aback and very concerned by the lack of information and communication this huge proposal has offered the very people it will affect most.

My thanks go to those who have taken time and consideration to fully grasp the details involved and share their concern and knowledge respectfully.

When the planning is ready to be submitted (planned to be this year) after the various reports, surveys and consultee comments have been completed, I hope our communities have been given every opportunity to digest the scale and impact of this proposal and a chance to register their objection. It won't be because the PR company have worked hard to engage and distribute balanced, unbiased information, it will be because people like Jane and all the other local groups now coming together to scrutinise this make it their focus to understand the issues and actively make sure people have accurate, reliably sourced information so they can make an informed opinion.

From Helen B

Friday, 19 January 2024

Thank you Jane for your post. As James Baker has noted above we do need to increase the number of land-based wind turbines and we obviously need massive investment in green schemes at the beginning of our green revolution. Now the moratorium on land-based windfarms has been lifted, applications are flooding in because there is a lot of money to be made by investors and landowners. However, we need to ensure that our transition to net zero is a just and rational transition which protects our community in the long term and which preserves our valuable ecosystems, biodiversity and countryside and is not simply driven by profit.

It seems mad to me that we want to save the rainforests on the other side of the world yet would allow a Saudi-owned company calling itself "Calderdale Windfarm Ltd" to build a massive industrial development on our rare peat bog. If the blanket bog were restored, preserved and maintained it would act as a bigger carbon sink per hectare than the Amazonian rain forest, and act as a massive sponge to slow peak flow and help to prevent flooding, and support biodiversity by providing habitats for declining species and ecosystems. 

Why build 64 huge turbines on a site which already plays an important role in protecting our environment? It makes no sense in environmental terms. The main reason is that there is only one landowner to deal with, who is in league with a Saudi company with the resources to fund the consultation and planning stages. Both are in line to make an enormous amount of money. This will be one of the first applications in England since the moratorium was lifted and it is a test legal case. The Saudi company is spending a lot of money (reportedly £4 million already) to make sure that planning permission goes through. If permission is granted on this site which is an SSSI and a Special Protection Area and a Special Conservation Area it will set a precedent for wind turbine development anywhere other than within a National Park. 

There are other more suitable places for land-based windfarms. There are plenty of brownfield sites in England that could be used for wind turbines near motorways, roads and rail lines. Many coastal areas have  high winds and have brownfield land previously developed that is no longer being used. This would reduce the amount of countryside that is being lost. Turbines are getting bigger (these are nearly twice as big as those on Ovenden Moor) and their designs more efficient so they can work at lower wind speeds so it is no longer essential that they are built on the uplands. The energy generated from this development will be fed back into the NATIONAL grid via Padiham substation and distributed nationally. It will not be used in Calderdale. It is not a local development. It will not provide residents with discounted bills.  

It is customary for windfarm developers to offer the local community a monetary bribe to gain its approval. In this case CWF have offered £75 million over the scheme's 30 year lifetime to go into a community fund but this is derisory compared with the amount they will obtain, what we will lose, and the massive impact on the community while it is being built and forever afterwards.

The developers state that grouse shooting will stop. The reality of the situation is that there would be no grouse there anyway if the windfarm goes ahead and nor would there be any lapwing, curlew, or golden plover. The landowner will still have sporting rights and can continue shooting on his adjoining Stanbury Moor. The developers are also offering public access to the moor after commissioning of the turbines but we already have open access rights over it. I feel that we are being taken for fools.  

It is obvious that digging up vast areas of the peat for miles of access roads, concrete turbine bases (which given the proposed turbine height of 150-200 metres will be 4 metres deep), crane pads, and thousands of lorry loads of crushed stone is going to cause vast devastation to the moor, destroy its ecosystems and biodiversity and reduce its ability to hold water with an increased risk of fire and flooding. 

As a community we need to stand up and protect the precious assets we have in our midst. We want green energy for our communities in appropriate places not profiteering.

From Richard Ramsden

Friday, 9 February 2024

Thanks for a well informed debate. I wanted this wind farm to be approved due to the extremely urgent climate situation. Humans must, hopefully, realise that we can only survive as a civilisation if we adopt action as if we are at war. I expected objections above and they made me really rethink.

I note however :-

1. We must accept that whatever is built is for a profit when by the private sector. Public spending is under great pressure and cannot pay for all that is necessary. Public spending is usually used to leverage private money along with public policy. It is said oil companies currently producing greenhouse gases should be in a good position, as engineers, to turn their hands to building a sustainable future eg wind farms if they are required by law. Also there is much more money in the private sector, unfortunately, than available from taxation, trillions.

2. I would prefer that we could build our own wind farms but if Saudis will start the ball rolling, I can accept that. We will pay for the electricity and the construction of the power stations to produce it as we do now through our energy bills but at a reduced rate because sustainables are cheaper.

3. The question struck me while reading other opinions - yes why not site this wind farm somewhere else, eg an industrial site? But 65 turbines on 25 square miles is a massive site, I suspect not to be found in one ownership except in upland sites like this. To develop a large site or an equivalent area on many sites would be more time consuming, more complicated and expensive than for one site. Don't forget we have ignored the impact of fossil fuels for the last fifty years when it could have been phased out at our leisure, picking the ideal sites etc.

4. Yes I know ecology preservation is vital too. But how much of the 16,000 acres is going to be dug up and destroyed, covered in concrete, hardcore, wildlife lost? The impact on the site must be kept to a minimum so will the stored carbon in the peat really be lost. The average space between each turbine is about 0.7 miles, the connection between them for roads and cables, underground or on pylons, should be as narrow as possible to minimise damage; rainfall run-off should be controlled to avoid worsening flooding as rainfall intensity increases in future; wild life should be protected as on many high value sites already. The planning report should tell us the benefit or not, compared to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in due course. Hopefully a huge reduction on balance.

6. The visual impact partly depends on what we are used to. We accept industrial buildings, roads, houses everywhere because we need them and have grown up with them. Agriculture is un-natural actually. But like it or not sustainable energy sites are essential too and we will get used to them. I could add that when we finally accept that eating meal gives off massive volumes of methane and takes up 50% of UK land that we need for forestry and sequestration of CO2, our views will be changed - we will see a lot more trees and get used to that too.

5. The temporary impact on people during the construction must be minimised if the proposed scheme is approved but cannot be a reason to refuse planning.

From Leon S

Saturday, 10 February 2024

I firmly believe that the wind-farm recently proposed, spanning over 2000 hectares, should be constructed. Here's why:

1. Joseph Holden, a professor of geography and peat land expert from the University of Leeds, said that carbon calculators showed the carbon benefits of the wind-farm would outweigh the carbon losses from the peat land. Some claim that due to the destruction of peat that would be caused by the wind-farm the entire project wouldn't even be carbon positive: this is proven incorrect by highly-qualified professionals.

2. While it is true that some wildlife, such as birds, may be affected (and in some instances die), as the RSPB has noted, surely the future of our planet, and all life on it, is worth more than them. Similarly, some outrageously claim that the "damaged" views, that will be slightly affected by the turbines, are a legitimate reason to not go ahead with its creation.

3. Ultimately, the land is privately owned, so the owner should be able to sell it if he wants. Also if Richard Bannister (the owner of the land) becomes richer, it's a good thing because it gives people a financial incentive to sell their land with the intent of having it be used for renewable energy.

4. The wind-farm protesters, rather narcissistically, point out that the energy produced wouldn't actually be used in Calderdale. Apparently, the fact that the wind-farm isn't benefiting us means we shouldn't support the betterment of humanity. Remarkably, it will power 286,491 homes and save 426,246 tonnes of carbon annually; it's incredibly selfish to state that this is a bad thing simply because it's not good specifically for us.

5. I have read and heard it said that because a Saudi-owned company is behind the purchase of the land the wind-farm may be built on, that they are somehow unworthy of using their land they own how they want. One man even went as far as to say "The developers are Saudis, so what do they know of curlews and Heathcliff, and why should they care?". I ask you this, if the company were British, would there be so much backlash?

I find it sickening that a large swathe of our community, a community I thought was quite liberal, has come together to contribute to the killing of their descendants. I hope this article makes you see, if you've not already, the overwhelming benefits to the wind-farm proposal.

From Horatio Clare

Tuesday, 13 February 2024

To: Richard Seaman, Chief Planning Officer, Calderdale Council Planning Services Town Hall, Crossley Street, Halifax HX1 1UJ

For the attention of the Chief Planning Officer,
Ref: 23/06010/EIA Calderdale Wind Farm, Walshaw Moor Estate

Dear Mr Seaman

My apologies for bothering you. I am a writer, journalist and broadcaster living in Hebden Bridge. I know – one of the incomers. But although we arrived from Italy 11 years ago, for family reasons, and although my son was born there, since he was less than a year old this has been his home. He grew up on Crimsworth Terrace, Midgehole. His blessed childhood belongs to these woods and these becks and these moors; to the birds, the animals, the skylines and the weather of this extraordinary place.

You will have guessed I am writing to register my opposition to the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm on the Walshaw Moor Estate. I am entirely in favour of wind energy, and entirely against generating it there. That particular fragment of the Pennines, that fraction of Britain, is unique. I am sure you have visited. I am a nature and travel writer. I have written about a lot of extraordinary places around the world. The awful truth is, there aren't very many of them left in Britain. But this is one.

Curlews, plover, lapwings, wheatears, chats, oystercatcher, hares, swallows, swifts, martins, short eared owls – and in a profusion you never see any more, in numbers you only find in books and pictures from the 1970s. A little bit of miraculous old Britain is still there. It really is a miracle, really. I am writing you to ask you to preserve it.

I talked about it with my son. He really gets the turbine argument – 'The thing is, Dad, he said, I'd really quite like a planet?' And I said, 'Yes, of course – but there are many places where we can generate wind energy. There are just so few places left like this.'

Once we start destroying Sites of Special Scientific Interest, once we erase the few jewels we have left – the earth is abused and we are terribly diminished, in every deep way. I desperately want him and friends and all their children to hear curlews in summer, and to know what lapwings look like, and see oyster catchers, like bright little guardsmen, miles from the coast on our miraculous high moor. I hope our children will go out into the world and want to come back here, to show their friends and the wide planet these miraculous things, to show and share what we have here across their worlds. I think we must look after the riches of this place for them.

I think it is not just that birds and wild animals give depth and meaning to our moments, our walks, our days, our lives. I think it is also that without them, without other species, humans are left alone on a bare planet, lonesome rulers of a rock stripped for power and for money. And that isolation, that destruction, seems to make it all pointless. I think we lose peace, and meaning, and ease, and joy, and connection, and proportion when we lose nature – or, worse, when we destroy it.

The planning application, the map of the turbines and their size, is terrifying. You cannot look at it and believe there will be anything left of the moor, the birds, the animals.

There is so much high ground around; I have walked much of it – it is a terrible irony that this should be the proposed site, because I can honestly say, hand on heart, I don't believe there is a site of upland biodiversity to match it for fifty miles in any direction.

For all I know, you could travel a hundred miles or more and not find the like of it. Although wind energy is exactly the right thing to do, this is exactly the wrong place.

Thank you for troubling with this. It cannot be an easy decision, but if you go for a walk across the ground in late April or early May, I guarantee you will know what to do. It's a piece of wild heaven, so rich and giving and full of life. Our role, surely, is to protect it.

And here is the formal bit. Thank you for wading through it:

I wish to make it known at this stage that I have strong objections to this development on environmental and cultural grounds, and in the name of future generations. Please keep this letter on file in relation to any future planning applications on the Walshaw Moor Estate and keep me informed of any further developments regarding this project.

My objections to the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm include the following:

  • Walshaw Moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). A wind farm on this site will cause irrevocable ecological damage to sensitive moorland habitats and wildlife, particularly ground-nesting birds.
  • Damaging the blanket peat bogs on Walshaw Moor will significantly increase carbon emissions, exacerbating climate change. I agree with the RSPB that 'a wind farm on Walshaw Moor is highly inappropriate, given the sensitivity of this location, with important peatland habitat, significant wildlife interest and protected wildlife sites.'
  • An intrusive industrial development of the scale proposed by Calderdale Wind Farm Ltd, consisting of 65 turbines up to 200 metres in height covering 9 square miles, is completely inappropriate for this location, especially given its proximity to the National Trust estate of Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean, both of which would be directly affected. Visually the turbines would completely dominate the landscape, not only on Walshaw Moor but throughout the surrounding area, intruding on significant views throughout Calderdale.
  • The landscape of the Upper Calder Valley is some of the most spectacular in the UK comparable with the National Parks. A valued local amenity, it acts as a magnet for walkers and cyclists. Many footpaths and bridleways would be affected by this wind farm, either directly or indirectly, including the Pennine Way through Walshaw Dean, and the extensive network of footpaths in and around Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean. This highly insensitive development will ruin some of the most outstanding countryside in Yorkshire and damage our natural heritage and cultural heritage – the landscape that inspired the Brontës and Ted Hughes.

Yours sincerely,
Horatio Clare

From Mo Ludlam

Tuesday, 13 February 2024

Some young people such as Leon believe that the Walshaw turbine proposals should go ahead. I won't repeat other's objections but it is important to note that councils were obliged to write a local development plan. Calderdale's plan was accepted in March 2023 I believe. The plan covers housing development, industrial development, environment and significantly alternative fuel sources. 

See plan

In their plan Calderdale outlined several areas that would be suitable to place wind turbines and their size according to where they could be placed following research on the impact of wind farms on local communities.

See map

Walshaw was not an area considered because of it's protected status as an SSI and SPA. The issue is not about 'Nimbys' it's about placing wind turbines on sites that have the least negative environmental impact.

There is also an issue about the number of wind turbines proposed. I understand that wind turbines of 200 metres in height should be some 500 metres apart for maximum efficiency. Otherwise they interfere with one another. This proposal for 65 wind turbines are too close together to be at maximum efficiency. The scoping report is seriously flawed.

From Leon S

Wednesday, 14 February 2024

Mo Ludlam pointed out that the area in which the wind-farm may be constructed should be protected as it is an SSI & SPA. I accept that this is a valid point and there are better locations for wind-farms. However, if you only believe wind-farms should be built in perfect locations then the amount needed to meaningfully combat climate change will never be built; I personally am of the opinion that any & all wind-farms that are carbon positive and can be built, should be built. Some deny that the wind-farm will be carbon positive but, as I said in my previous contribution, a professor of geography and peat land expert from the University of Leeds, said that carbon calculators showed the carbon benefits of the wind-farm would outweigh the carbon losses.

From Andy M

Saturday, 17 February 2024

I take Leon's point re the needs & justification for windfarms but I would argue that they can be accommodated without impacting on/destroying sensitive , protected sites such as this, particularly ones that already have an important role in carbon sequestration etc. If the strongest ecological protection can be overridden then that devalues the whole system.

Protected status may reduce the location options for windfarm sites but there would appear to be plenty of space for turbines on much less sensitive moorland in this area. eg NW/NE of Boulsworth Hill and/or extending existing locations.

From Lydia MacKinnon

Friday, 23 February 2024

The author and conservationist Mark Avery has kindly allowed the Stop Calderdale Wind Farm campaign a space on his blog (50,000+ subscribers).

Nick MacKinnon and friends are planning to visit each of the 65 proposed wind turbines and write about their visits. There is also a creative response from one of our many talented supporters.

The blogs are published every fortnight and you can find them here.

If you would like to walk with Nick, or to provide a creative response, you can contact him at nipmackinnon@gmail.com

From Helen B

Saturday, 24 February 2024

We need massive investment in green schemes to reach net zero and this will require investment from abroad. However, the Walshaw Moor site is inappropriate for environmental reasons.

In response to Leon's contribution above he has been very selective in how he quoted from Professor Joseph Holden's statement in the Guardian. Professor Holden, a specialist in peatland and water at Leeds University, goes on to say that wind farms should not be built on peat.

This is the rest of his quote: "As a peatland scientist, when you see the disturbance and damage to peatland on a windfarm site it's devastating," said Holden. "It's heartbreaking because these systems have grown for thousands of years, slowly accumulating this carbon. We should be doing everything we can to keep that carbon in our land and put our windfarms elsewhere, where the carbon impact won't be as great. There are plenty of windy spots high up on other hills with much thinner, non-peaty soils that could provide a better location for a windfarm."

Also, when Prof. Holden refers to the Carbon Calculator and states that the case has already been made - he must be generalising. The Calculator requires the input of accurate data such as the depth of peat across the site and the volume of peat extraction for roads and turbine foundations, which the developers for Walshaw Moor have not yet determined.

I am concerned that there is no real oversight of the accuracy of the data that is going to be collected by the developers. We need an independent peat expert to check and evaluate the data that will be collected. Has anyone any suggestions? Maybe we need a citizen's science project like this one

From Jenny S, Ban the Burn

Sunday, 25 February 2024

Helen B is rightly concerned that there is no real oversight of the accuracy of the data that is going to be collected by the developers for the Environmental Impact Assessment, and she calls for an independent peat expert to check and evaluate the data that will be collected. She asks for suggestions.

Ban the Burn! has been worried about this since we raised the issue in our response to the Calderdale Wind Farm Scoping Report in the autumn. So far we have come up with two actions to address this problem.

First, we have invited the public to sign our open letter to Calderdale Council Climate and Environment Team, about the Scottish Government's current review of the applicability going forward of its Carbon Calculator for wind farms on peat. Because this calculator is what Calderdale Wind Farm Ltd intends to use to estimate the carbon impacts of its proposed wind farm. 

The review's evaluating whether recommendations for improvements to the calculator's accuracy may be needed. For example it will investigate the difference between wind farms' predicted carbon impacts (that developers use in planning applications), and the carbon impacts in reality once the wind farm is operational. Peat experts have noticed that some developers have input "optimistic" data which then produce a favourable carbon result.

So far over 160 members of the public have signed the open letter - which you can find on the Stop Calderdale Wind Farm Group of Groups website. We intend to hand it in to Calderdale Council at Halifax Town Hall on Monday 11th March, 5.30pm. All are welcome to attend a rally outside the Town Hall before we hand the letter in. 

The second thing we are doing is working with a peat expert on the design of citizen science peat depth and vegetation surveys for the proposed wind farm site.

As Helen comments, accurate site-specific data about the peat has to be inputted into the calculator, and this needs some kind of independent verification.

The peat expert has advised us that the peat depth and vegetation surveys, that Calderdale Planning Authority's Scoping Opinion requres Calderdale Wind Farm to carry out, are insufficient. So how are those insufficient surveys going to generate accurate data for calculating the proposed wind farm's carbon impacts? They won't. There's some initial info about our proposed citizen science surveys here - please look in the 'Carbon impacts' section.

From Carl Lawrence

Sunday, 25 February 2024

The environmental impact of building wind farms on peatland has become an important and very controversial subject. When weighing up this source of "clean" energy generation, as wind power is often called, local communities hear from developers and proponents only the positives that wind energy can offer. We should, however, keep in mind that peatlands aren't considered financially rewarding farming lands, so acquiring one helps to increase the profitability of a wind farm by reducing the investment costs for its developers. Hence, with the lifting of our Government's moratorium on onshore wind farms, there seems to be a "gold rush" to build wind farms, having giant turbines, on moorland sites.

The thought of generating electricity from the wind, as a free source of energy, seems like a good idea and one positive way of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. But with the proponents of wind energy pushing their "green" agenda for wind farm developments, their efforts to site them on peatland have come under much scrutiny in respect of the associated environmental impact. With regard to Walshaw Moor, there is a robust ongoing debate as to whether it is an appropriate site for the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm or any other wind farm for that matter.

In very clear disagreement with most of the written (and, I must say convincing) opinions opposing the proposed development, Richard Ramsden and Leon S have expressed carefully considered points in support of it, to which I feel I must respond. They have, in a sense, pointed to the urgent and overriding need to unhook our society from fossil fuels and also to the "… dire warning about the consequences of inaction" stated in the recent IPCC's (UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) sixth assessment report (AR6 - 20th March 2023). However, the IPCC report also warns that we must be cautious about where renewable energy infrastructures are installed. The AR6 report states that the "degradation and destruction of ecosystems…..[can lead to the] …"loss of biodiversity….". It also refers to 'maladaptation' -the focus on "sectors…. in isolation .. and on short-term gains." The cynics among us might be surprised to note that our Government has paid more than lip service to the warnings of being cautious by anticipating them in a number of their policy documents, in particular the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the National Policy for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3).

In the Planning for Onshore Wind (commonslibrary.parliament.uk Research Briefing 5 October 2023 By Felicia Rankl), it is stated that "Decisions on onshore wind farms regardless of size will continue to be made by Local Planning Authorities ( LPAs)" In respect of 'Planning for Climate Change', LPAs are expected to identify ".. suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy sources and supporting infrastructure…" Calderdale Council has published its 'Assessment of Areas of Suitability for Wind Development in Calderdale' and Walshaw Moor is NOT within any of those areas. The NPPF guidelines, given under the headings 'Conserving and enhancing the natural environment', 'Habitats and biodiversity' and 'Conserving and enhancing the historic environment', fully echo the sentiments of the opponents to the Calderdale Wind Farm about why it would be an inappropriate development, especially by stating that a "development … within or outside a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) … should not normally be permitted," and that careful attention should be given "…when considering the impact of a proposal on a heritage asset …[and] the positive contribution that conservation of heritage assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic vitality…" Walshaw Moor is an SSSI, SPA, and SAC and also essential to the Bronte Heritage. Overwhelmingly, the responses from the Statutory Consultees, and others, are in full agreement with the sentiments of those opposing the development .

Permit me, now, to make a contribution to the scientific / technological aspect of the ongoing debate i.e the calculation of the CO2 footprint of a wind farm on peatland.

Richard and Leon seem to hold the view that CO2 emissions attributed to a wind farm on peatland sites are at best inconsequential and at worst are outweighed by the benefits of the wind farm. When making such an assessment what is termed a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) should be undertaken in accordance with the international standard methodologies ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, and the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. An LCA requires the CO2 emissions to be determined under the following categories:

  • Manufacture.
    This includes the production of the raw materials (steel, aluminium, copper wires, carbon fibre, glass fibre , concrete, etc) needed to produce the towers, the nacelles (comprising the generators, gear wheels, electric motors - each fitted with a gearbox for yawing the blades- and the breaking system to halt blade rotation during very high wind speeds); the hubs, the blades, nuts and bolts, reinforcing steel rods and bars for the reinforced concrete foundations; the grid connection cables and the various electronic components for the control systems.
  • Transport.
    The transportation of the raw materials used to produce the different components of the wind turbines, the transport of the turbine components to the wind farm site and the movement of vehicles and machinery during erection, assembly and operation of the wind turbines.
  • On-site Erection and Assembly.
    This stage involves extensive ground engineering; preparation and building the foundations for each base of the turbine towers; assembling the various sections of the towers; fitting the nacelles onto the top of the towers; and finally fitting the hubs and turbine blades to the nacelles.
    (Video showing typical ground engineering of the foundations for onshore wind turbines)
  • Operation/Maintenance
    Maintenance of the turbines includes oil changes, the changes of coolant for the generators, the removal and replacement of turbine parts, and the transport of all these items.
  • Decommissioning:
    This involves the dismantling of the turbines and the transportation of waste from the site to the locations for disposal; the current scenario includes recycling some components, depositing inert components in landfill and recovering other materials where possible, such as lubricants.

I am sure Richard and Leon will appreciate that where there are high energy requirements, the attributed CO2 levels will be high. As an example, one such area is the manufacture of wind turbine blades (WTB). These gigantic blades, 50m - 75m, are made with a combination of carbon fibre reinforced plastic and glass fibre reinforced plastic. The production of both types of fibre is energy intensive. For instance, carbon fibre is manufactured by refining oil to obtain acrylonitrile, then converting this into fibres and heat treating the fibres to remove all the organics, leaving only carbon in a fibrous form. Due to the high-treatment temperatures involved (1000℃ up to 2000℃), 20 tonnes of CO2 are emitted to manufacture 1 tonne of carbon fibre. I could refer to many further examples including the concrete needed for the foundations of the turbines and standing platforms, also the geotextiles, geogrids, geomembranes and geopipes required for the ground engineering of access roads and housing underground the high voltage electric cables. But it is not my intention to submit to this forum a postgraduate dissertation. However, having perused much of the peer-reviewed literature on the method used in the UK for predicting CO2 emissions associated with a wind farm infrastructure on peatland soil, I have found that many experts in the field are expressing dissatisfaction with the outcomes.

The UK's CO2 predictions for wind farms are based on a mathematical model referred to as the Carbon Calculator Tool (CCT). It was devised by Professor Jo Smith of Aberdeen University and adopted and recommended by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. However, the CCT does not take a detailed account of the CO2 attributed to the various materials used and therefore cannot, and does not, provide a rigorous LCA. Reportedly, "This analysis may be prohibitively expensive on a site-by-site basis, so generic data (assumed values / fudge factors) are provided as alternatives."

The carbon tool is, therefore, primarily focused on the CO2 emissions that may result from the soil disturbance through the ground engineering of the site when constructing the wind farm, also during its operation and decommissioning. But here too researchers have pointed to its shortcomings. One major criticism is that data used to evaluate a particular wind farm proposal mainly depend on the developer's site plans and intentions for appropriately carrying out the construction. These can often be optimistic, and underestimates of the soil disturbance in preparing the turbine base can be made. Unintentional drainage may result for hundreds of metres round each turbine base. As is well known, peat needs waterlogged anaerobic conditions to retain the carbon in the partially decomposed plant matter obtained through photosynthesis when the plant matter was alive. Hence, the drainage would potentially release high levels of CO2 from the peat. The process is slow but unstoppable, according to botanist Mike Hall of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Dr Guaduneth Chico of Nottingham Trent University, who specialises in blanket bog erosion, also thinks drainage could be "anything up to hundreds of metres." He also points out that 'floating roads', commonly used for wind farms, are built on top of deep peat to avoid excavating down to the bedrock, and over time these can eventually sink , compressing the peat and affecting the hydrology, thereby leading to the release of further CO2. Wildlife conservationist and peat expert, Professor Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, agrees that these roads inevitably sink and cause long-lasting damage. His sees the rationale for wind farms on peat soils as a form of inverted logic. Wind farms are supposed to reduce CO2 emissions. But, construction of the infrastructure on peatland is likely to result in significantly ongoing CO2 release. These sites are substantial long-term carbon stores and the carbon gets released when disturbed. Clifton Bain, advisor of the IUCN UK Peatland Programme –(International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources), said: "There's a risk that the impact is being significantly underestimated [by the CCT]. I think that's highly possible, because it's based on assumptions, based on outdated data, and there's no oversight of how the model is used."

A notable number of peatland soil experts are now warning against any further wind farm development on deep peat, and even questioning the idea of construction on shallow peat. Dr Chico says "there is currently a lack of understanding regarding the long-term impacts on peatland carbon …. [and] that windfarms installed on …… peatland would not result, in the long-term, a net carbon benefit". Professor Jo Smith (the CCT developer) states: "The science has moved forward. There's now more information available that could help reduce two uncertainties: the extent of drainage, and the efficacy of restoration of peatlands. Therefore, I completely agree with reviewing it [the CCT]." Current results show that, whereas in 2010 wind farms on most sites had the potential to provide net carbon savings, [now] as less fossil fuel gets used in electricity generation, by 2040 most sites will not reduce carbon emissions even with careful management. "…….. [So] unless the volume of peat excavated can be significantly reduced relative to energy output, we suggest that construction of wind farms on non-degraded peats should always be avoided."

In 1993 a wind farm application was submitted, by the developer National Wind Power ( it's a UK company, Leon), to Calderdale Council to install 44 turbines on a site (Flaight Hill) neighbouring Walshaw Moor; just across the A6033 from Hebden Bridge to Keighley, near Cock Hill Pecket Well. This site also has the same designations as Walshaw Moor. Noting the result of public consultation, undertaking due diligence, and engagement with the local community, who gave similar reasons to the above for resisting such a development, the company withdrew its application. It is reasonable to assume then that the proposers of Calderdale Wind Farm would have cognizance of the Flaight Hill application, so it almost beggars belief that they think they can bulldoze through the LPA's planning policy and the precedent set of "No wind farm construction on such peatland sites".

From Allan Walker

Sunday, 3 March 2024

I am a 74 year old man who was born in Mytholmroyd. Me and my wife have walked the hills and moors around here regurlarly for years as well as in many other places in Britain and abroad.

The diversity and number of wildlife to be found around Walshaw is as good as anywhere we have been and better than most.

How anyone could even think about the monstrosity that is now proposed for the area is unbelievable. It would totally destroy the moorland and the wildlife that use it and return to it year after year.

The monstrosity that is proposed would not only affect the life of local people but it would also affect the thousands of people who live anywhere around this area too.

I will in, all probability not be around to see the damage that this proposal will do but my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will and I feel I must try to leave this environment for them and everyone else who, like me, have enjoyed the peace and beauty that is there. 

From Lynne Mackenzie

Monday, 4 March 2024

I know to my cost that Calderdale Council do not always inform someone who has objected to a planning application when it is coming up for discussion.

Will you please give us a nudge by email when you know it is happening?

I have not written my objection letter to the council yet, but I will be doing so today.

From Stuart G

Monday, 11 March 2024

Today, my friends and I attended the advertised "Stop Calderdale Windfarm Rally" at Halifax Town Hall. Unfortunately, we felt unable to stay and offer our support to this cause as it appeared to have been highjacked by people displaying the Socialist Workers Party newspaper with bold headlines about the Israel - Palestine conflict.

When I explained to the other 20 or so protesters that I was there to offer my support to the Stop the Calderdale Windfarm rally and not to protest about other unrelated matters I was told by several of the other protesters that they were there to protest against the government. I pointed out to them that by including other unrelated matters into this rally they were going to alienate a lot of people from the Stop Calderdale Windfarm cause. One of the other protestors did agree with me but said there was not a lot he/they could do about it.

On a more positive note, I was walking across the Walshaw Moors above Hebden Bridge on Tuesday and saw a flock of 30+ curlews feeding on the moor. What a beautiful sight and sound. Long may it continue.

From Henry S

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

This is to clarify that the rally at Halifax Town Hall on Monday 11 March was organised by a group called Ban the Burn. See Hebweb News item on 8 March.

The rally was not organised by or advertised by the Stop Calderdale Wind Farm campaign group. Our group organised the original Stop Calderdale Wind Farm Public Meeting at Wadsworth Comunity Centre on 6 December 2023 and have been distributing information leaflets in Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley over the last few weeks. Our website includes clear information about our campaign and a statement outlining our objectives.

From Lydia MacKinnon

Thursday, 14 March 2024

Whether you're for or against the proposed wind farm behind Top Withens, this is a very informative blog which might affect you.It's not only about the potential layout of the wind farm but also about the access route to it for construction vehicles (spoiler alert: it's the A6033)

Joan Foye is the artist making the creative response.

From Anne Rosalyn Helliwell

Monday 8 April 2024

I was born in Hebden Bridge 80 years ago. Walking on Walshaw moorland has always been an uplifting, peaceful, regenerating place to enjoy.

Building the reservoirs must have been disrupting at the time, but visually add, rather than impede, to the scene, whereas enormous windmills will totally ruin the peace.

A few years ago we successfully fought against turbines on  moors above Pecket Well.

The environment issues are well discussed elsewhere. How "they"  choose to despoil "our" countryside purely for the money they will make fills me with rage.

From Jon T

Tuesday 9 April 2024

We've seen the moor map with up to 80 or so crosses representing individual windmills. How about showing the necessary roads and manoeuvring spaces for the 250 meter blades. How will they get there? What is the expected life? Then what? 

In the USA they have vast dumps of damaged and lightning struck blades out in the desert - are they planning to just leave them or kick the can down the road in that political way - safe in the knowledge that the next generation will have got used to it.

The moor, or course, will be destroyed the floods will come for a small gain in energy in the overall scheme of things - green it ain't!

See also:

HebWeb News: Ted Hughes Estate Backs the Campaign to stop Wind Farm 3 March 2024

HebWeb News: Stop Calderdale Wind Farm - Website launched 30 Jan 2024

HebWeb News: Walshaw Moor Wind Farm Public Meeting 13 Dec 2023

HebWeb News: Large Windfarm proposed 26 Sept 2023

Stop Calderdale Wind Farm website

Facebook: Calderdale Windfarm Action Group (against)

Facebook: Calderdale Wind & Climate Action Group (for)

Turning Calderdale Green blog post: