Hockney country enraged by super-turbines plan

In the Yorkshire Wolds, Jonathan Brown finds little enthusiasm for wind power

A A A

If David Hockney had never taken the scenic route while popping over to see his elderly mother at her seaside home in Bridlington, the Yorkshire Wolds might well have remained a well-kept secret.

Since then the painter's gargantuan canvases capturing the region's vast skies and rolling hills have become some of the most acclaimed landscapes in British art.

But just as the world is beginning to appreciate the beauty of the region, these landscapes are under threat from plans for a forest of towering turbines.

There are four proposals for commercial wind farms under consideration in the Wolds – a sparsely populated area dotted with small coastal hamlets and farms.

Among them is a scheme that could see nine 132m turbines – each approximately the same height as the London Eye – constructed on a gusty brow overlooking the quiet village of Hunmanby.

Despite opposition from local councils, MPs, MEP and residents, a final planning application by Durham-based surface coal mining group Banks Renewables, which has 30 windfarm projects in various states of development, is due to be submitted later this year.

Hockney himself has lambasted the "ugliness" of the structures and urged local people to rise up against them. For Steve and Julia Hey, who moved two years ago to a cottage just 1,200m from the proposed development, wind at first appeared to offer a positive green alternative to the belching fossil fuel power stations of Drax and Ferrybridge, both of which are visible from the top of the Wolds Way.

"When we looked into the figures and did the research it turned us against it," said Steve, a freelance website designer.

"I am a bit of a greenie and I always thought that if it saved the planet then it would be worthwhile. I remember skipping down the road when I heard they were planned," adds Julia, a former energy industry PA who says she now regularly fields telephone calls from neighbours in tears at the prospect of the scheme.

At present eight turbines are visible from the Heys' front window. But these measure just 30m – a quarter of the size of those on the proposed South Dale windfarm.

As well as fearing that the turbines will be noisy eyesores, the Heys and their fellow campaigners in the No to Wolds Windfarm group question whether wind is able to deliver on its promise of cheap sustainable energy. They say it would take 500 turbines to produce the same amount of electricity as a typical 1500 megawatt conventional power station.

Meanwhile, the confidential commercial contracts signed between the energy companies and the landowners sow suspicion and distrust. Some estimate that hosting commercial turbines is worth up to £40,000 a year.

Phil Dyke, development director of Banks Renewables, said he could understand opposition but that the scheme would benefit the area and it had been scaled back after public consultation.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week