CALLING in a decision made on recommissioning Europe’s largest wind farm could mean a “catastrophic” £700,000 delay for an East Lancashire borough council.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has called in the decisions to approve 14 turbines in Rossendale and two in Rochdale. The turbines form the Scout Moor plant on the moors overlooking Edenfield.
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Town-hall finance bosses had been banking on revenue totalling £690,000 from the wind farm coming online as part of their 2017-18 medium-term financial strategy.
And council finance manager Philip Seddon said previously in a council report that the loss of the income stream, given its value, would be catastrophic for the authority.
Under the present scheme, Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd — a partnership between Peel Energy and United Utilities — wants to replace the current configuration with 16 turbines, including providing a £200,000 community benefit fund each year.
People living in the surrounding area have also been offered shares in the wind-farm project through a community co-operative scheme.
But the bid attracted determined opposition from nearby residents.
Jonathan England, wind developments director for Peel Energy, said: “We are very disappointed with the decision by the Secretary of State to call in the applications.
“We were notified of this decision on Monday and are now considering this in further detail.”
A Rossendale Borough Council spokesman said: “The application relating to the expansion of the Scout Moor wind farm has now been called in by the Secretary of State. This means the application is dealt with via a public inquiry before a planning inspector who will make a recommendation, which the Secretary of State will then consider before making a final decision.”
One insider said: “If the council loses this £700,000 revenue stream then it looks like causing serious problems for the council.”
Part of the work would see around 900 hectares of bad- ly degraded peatland restored.
The Ministry of Justice was unhappy with the potential impact of the turbines on the air traffic control radar at Warton Airfield, which is home to BAE Systems on the Fylde coast.
And objections to the plan were also raised by the Campaign for Rural England, Edenfield Village Residents Association, Holcombe Society, Rossendale Harriers and Rossendale Ramblers.