PROPOSALS to double the size of Scout Moor wind farm were unveiled at the first public consultation event in East Lancashire at Riverside Civic Hall yesterday.

The first of several drop-in sessions allowed Whitworth residents to speak to developers and view an interactive computer model that shows how the turbines would look.

If successful, the joint venture between United Utilities and Peel Energy will see Edenfield's Scout Moor expanded from 26 to 52 100m tall turbines.

The firms said on average, a two-megawatt turbine with sufficient wind would generate enough electricity to supply 1,100 homes.

They also said they will create a long-term moorland management and restoration scheme to improve the peat habitats of the development and pledged an annual payment to a community benefit fund that could generate around £8million over 20 years for local initiatives.

Gill Marshall, 61, a retired university lecturer in law who owns Hindle Pastures holiday cottages in Highgate Lane, Whitworth, said at the event: “The consultation is just the companies fulfilling legal responsibilities — box ticking.

“It hasn't changed my mind that there are already enough wind turbines around here because this is just about businesses making money, not the environment, and I'm not against the free market and entrepreneurialism.

“If there was some coherent government policy carefully and strategically planned and coordinated for sustainable energy then it would be a lot more credible than this.”

A separate application to erect 12 more wind turbines on Rooley Moor, near Whitworth, is due to be submitted to Rochdale and Rossendale councils by developers Coronation Power.

Mrs Marshall's husband Paul, 64, said: “The volume of the two wind farms together is outrageous.

“If this was proposed for a more affluent part of the country, such as the Cotswolds, it wouldn't happen.

“Because there isn't as much money and education here, people don't concern themselves the same, and don't cause enough of a fuss against it.” Jon England, Peel's development director of the joint venture, said: “Some people don't like the idea, and some are positive.

“We're looking forward to a good attendance and a lot of feedback."

Further consultations will take place at Edenfield Community Centre, off Exchange Street, Edenfield, from 5pm to 7pm today; Rawtenstall Cricket Club, Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, from 5pm to 7pm tomorrow; and Bacup Hub, Burnley Road, Bacup, from 9am to noon on Friday.