The saga of the current Knabs Ridge wind farm....

The current wind farm of 8 x 320ft (97m) wind turbines at Knabs Ridge, near Harrogate, stands as a grand monument to a disgraceful saga that defied the democratic process and any protection afforded to such a beautiful area, and for what? Official data confirms that since completed it has only operated at an average of 17.5% efficiency and over the course of a single year this would represent just sufficient electricity to power 1,320 hairdryers 24/7. Locals often remark how often the turbines blades are not turning, yet on some windless periods they actually are; the mystery has now been solved from the developers own data - on occasions the turbines are being powered by electricity they draw from the national grid. The wind developer responsible, who has since reaped £millions in government subsidies for this wind farm, stated, "This is a substantial step forward in renewable energy provision in North Yorkshire, and will make a valuable contribution towards the fight against global warming." What a complete and utter nonsense - a proportion of the Dales would have gladly given up their hairdryers as an alternative!

It is valid to note that the developer of Knabs Ridge wind farm has a great deal in common with Kelda; they are both foreign owned, make vast profits, avoid paying tax on a grand scale but yet are enthusiastic to reap wind farm subsidies, and are ruthless in combating public objection to their plans - perfect wind farm neighbours to each other in Nidderdale it seems!

The Knabs Ridge wind farm was erected just 50ft (15m) from the boundary of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and dominates vistas for many miles around; understandingly there was a mass objection and quite correctly the democratically elected planning committee rejected the application. Not surprising, the wealthy developer appealed to the Planning Inspectorate who under John Prescott, allowed the appeal in 2005 even though the visual harm was fully acknowledged by him. The core reason given by the Inspector was that regional targets for wind energy totally trumped all else; thankfully these targets will be abolished under the new Localism Bill.

The Planning Inspector also dismissed the suggestion that the Knabs Ridge wind farm would damage tourism; sadly he was so very wrong, just one example being the nearby family owned holiday park which subsequently suffered a severe downturn in business to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Construction, which started in 2007 took a year to complete; that was for just 8 turbines, so how many years will it take for another 28?

Richard Cooper, the council’s cabinet member responsible for planning, complained the decision flew in the face of common sense. He said: "For a government inspector to come to our district and ignore all the good planning reasons why these towering metal structures should not be allowed is a smack in the face to local people and the local council."