Hockney country enraged by super-turbines plan
In the Yorkshire Wolds, Jonathan Brown finds little enthusiasm for wind power
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.
Fracking shame: Full threat to British wildlife is laid bare in a new report showing up to half the country could be licensed for shale gas extraction
Powerlines disturb animal habitats by appearing as disturbing flashes of UV light invisible to the human eye
Python eats croc: when two (or more) species go to war - the 12 most amazing animal battles ever recorded
The 10 best folding bikes
10 best hiking boots
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Sailor who kissed a nurse in famous WWII photograph dies aged 86
- 3 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...