Harrogate wind farm opens

The wind farm at Knabs Ridge on the outskirts of Harrogate has been formally opened.

The ceremony, which took place on Tuesday morning (November 11) saw the 13m site declared open by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun John Fox.

The wind farm, which has been at the centre of some controversy, lies south of the A59 Harrogate to Skipton road. It is the first development of its kind in the district and the newest wind farm in North Yorkshire for 15 years

Clean, green

The move was welcomed by Friends of the Earth, for whom regional campaigner Simon Bowens commented. He said: "It's great that the Knabs Ridge project is up and running and providing clean, green electricity.

"The project is a welcome step towards building a thriving UK renewable energy industry, we need a massive increase in investment in renewable energy supported by a modern energy market and a flexible grid infrastructure if the UK is to meet its commitments on tackling climate change.

"More projects like Knabs Ridge will create new jobs, increase energy security and stimulate the economy whilst helping to tackle climate change."

Protest

But the scheme has not been without its problems. In November 2004 when the application came before Harrogate Council there were objections from local parish councils, Nidderdale AONB's Joint Advisory Committee, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, North Yorkshire County Council, the Ramblers' Association, Harrogate Civic Society, Civic Aviation Authority and Leeds-Bradford Airport.

Nidderdale Against Wind Turbines, formed in protest to the development, submitted 300 letters of objection while those in favour of the plans sent more than 100 letters and 205 petition signatures to the council.

Once approved at a public inquiry in 2005, it was hoped all eight turbines would be functional by December 2007, but a series of problems saw the last four being finished well into 2008, more than half a year behind schedule.

Now opened, the wind farm will provide electricity for 5,500 homes.