The forum Trustees have written to Sir Tony Lloyd MP and you might want to do the same.
Dear Sir Tony
Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum is a registered charity with the objective of protecting, preserving, enhancing and educating about the area. Like everyone else, the forum Trustees are very concerned about the increasing costs of energy and are mindful of the difficulties faced by families.
It seems the prime minister is expected to approve financial incentives to encourage communities to accept windfarms in exchange for lower energy bills and we would like to make our position clear on this matter.
You will recall previous applications by Coronation Power Ltd to develop Rooley Moor and Peel Energy Ltd (Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd) to extend the current Scout Moor Wind Farm were opposed by community groups in Rochdale, Rossendale and Bury who came together in response to these applications. The depth of public objection to these proposals was widespread and considerable and the views of local communities were taken into account because of the Ministerial Statement HSWS42 dated 18th June 2015, which allowed local people to have the final opinion on the acceptability or otherwise of wind farm applications.
We believe public opinion in our area remains unchanged with too much of the moorland having been sacrificed and that it’s time for other parts of the country to step up. Our area might not be classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but it does have its own natural rugged beauty. Yet, for example, there are very few wind turbines near to motorway routes, which can hardly be classed as beautiful.
We appreciate there is a difficult balance to be made. The pressure on our open spaces and amenity landscapes has never been greater than it is today. Evidence was presented at the Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion public inquiry that the additional energy provided by the proposed development was minimal and out of balance with the social, visual and natural environment impacts. With over 300,000 constituents residing in clear view of these proposed developments, they made their feelings clear from the many community and individual objections, which along with the Report by The Planning Inspector and the response from The Secretary of State, are on public record and are not repeated here. It is though worth reminding ourselves of this important summarising comment – “The Secretary of State ….. agrees with the Inspector that the proposal includes an area that is a valued landscape because of its openness, tranquillity and attractive views into the lower valleys.. “.
We believe any argument for the permanent loss of such a large tract of Common Land on Scout and Rooley Moors, running alongside the historically significant Cotton Famine Road, simply does not stand up in terms of environmental and energy efficiency and we continue to be against an expansion of onshore wind in our area on the grounds of cost, protecting wildlife, heritage and aesthetics.
The protection of our valuable open moorland spaces must be preserved. This is even more the case after the continuing difficulties brought about by Covid when it has become very clear that the upland spaces of Scout and Rooley Moors were literally a lifesaver to many of the 300,000 local constituents.
We urge our elected members to:
- take note that the views of our communities are unchanged
- ask the Government to confirm that the message within the Ministerial Statement HSWS42 (which allowed local communities to have a significant opinion on wind farm development in their areas) remains as we move forward in these ever changing, challenging times
- advise the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Mr Kwasi Kwarteng of the depth and strength of local opinion and urge him to adopt Jake Berry’s “Not on Our Hills” policy
- support a specific initiative to protect, promote and enhance our upland, open moorland for the benefit of future generations
We hope you will add your support to our proposal to have a robust initiative in place to protect our environment from further exploitation. This area has contributed significantly already to the historic onshore wind energy program with the numerous wind farm developments on our doorstep and we resolutely believe there should be no further development ‘on our hills’.
Thank you and kind regards,
Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum