PLANS to site a wind turbine at a school have been approved despite fears it sets a precedent for turbines in residential areas.

The 30-foot turbine at the new £16.1million Accrington Academy is a bid towards meeting a planning condition that the school must produce 10 per cent cent of its own energy.

To be sited on school playing fields, it would produce four per cent of the building’s energy. It would also form part of an ‘environmental classroom’ of features at the school, including a wildlife pond, for pupils to learn about the environment.

The scheme drew criticism at Hyndburn Council’s planning committee yesterday.

Coun Brian Roberts said: “It’s too close to the road and I think it makes poor sense to insist that every new building needs its own wind turbine. We are going to end up with thousands of them across the skyline of Hyndburn.

“They are an eyesore and it would be better to find a suitable location for a large number of turbines, rather than dotting them everywhere.”

Coun Sue Haworth added: “If we set a precedent, they’ll be dotting up everywhere like mushrooms.”

Chief planning officer Simon Prideaux said government policies were clear: “We should be encouraging on-site energy saving wherever possible. There are already many modest turbines of this size in residential locations.”

Queens Road West resident Bridget Ward, said: “It will distract drivers. I thought the initial plans were impressive. I’m all for reducing our carbon footprint, but the school leave their lights on all night. It makes no sense. Placing it on the football fields is a lack of common sense. There are a lot of youths who use the field and a turbine will just be a target to them.”

Applicants Lancashire County Council say the position is due to ‘safety zones’ where access to the turbine will be restricted.