SUPPORTERS of the largest amateur observatory in the UK fear they are being slowly overshadowed by a ring of wind turbines across the South Pennine Moors.

In their latest struggle the Astronomy Centre, on the Bacup-Todmorden border, has seen an appeal lodged by Kelda Water Services for a four-strong complex near Gorpley Reservoir, to the east of Bacup.


The volunteer-run science hub, which attracts visitors from around the UK, has already had to cope with four turbines which were installed on Todmorden Moor by Coronation Power last year.

For more than 30 years campaigning astronomers such as Peter Drew and Andy Sierolawski have spent countless hours looking to create the country’s largest reflecting telescope at the observatory, but the project is effectively on hold because of the turbines’ effect. Andy said: “We are going to be completely surrounded by turbines.

“We have members who have been asking for some time what is happening with the telescope but it’s effectively come to a halt.

“The planning system has basically dealt with all of these applications in isolation but the cumulative effect on the observatory has been enormous.

“There is not only the ambient light that has been created, but each of the turbines is fitted with an infra-red light, which interferes with our work on infra-red astronomy, and then there is the flicker created by the blades, which also affects our readings.”

The Todmorden Moor turbines damage the northern and north-western outlook.

There are blades at Reaps Moss to the south-west and potentially Gorpley to the south-east, with the giant Scout Moor wind farm to the south.

A spokesperson from Kelda Water Services said: “The decision to appeal came after careful consideration and further exploration of the green energy benefits that this project would deliver to its sister company, Yorkshire Water, and its customers.

“The proposed development would generate around four per cent of Kelda’s total energy needs, equivalent to powering around 6,300 homes and is part of a wider commitment to sustainable resources.”

Council planners in Calderdale rejected the original Gorpley plans amid concerns over the overall effect of wind turbines from Scout Moor to Reaps Moss.