Could two proposed wind turbines in Wilton spell the end off Yearby Airstrip?

It’s been over a year since a controversial planning application was submitted to Redcar and Cleveland council to erect two large wind turbines in Wilton. 

The site, situated south of the A174 within half a mile of Wilton, Yearby and Kirleatham, was selected by Airvolution Energy LTD to house two proposed wind turbines, each 140 metres (460feet) tall, if planning permission is granted.

The plan has been met with strong opposition from local residents who believe that the two structures, standing seven times taller than the Angel of the North, will bring many problems.

Not least of these are the worries over potential noise and the effect the “monster wind turbines” may have on the landscape.

Concerns have also been raised over the impact the turbines could have on the airstrip at Yearby that, according to the Yearby Airstrip Trust, has been “supporting local aviation interests since 1972”. 

Local residents have taken their debate online highlighting how “the small airfield is used by the police, the coastguard, jockeys and racehorse owners/trainers travelling between racecourses and a stream of hobby flyers. It also supports a small aircraft construction and testing business.”

But now recent changes in government legislation require the planning authority to consider and give full weight to the effect of turbine developments - especially those that impede or cause the closure of local airfields.

Online residents have been discussing the problem, including one proposed option which involves the closure of the airstrip. One resident posted online saying “Regardless of your view on the value of turbines, it seems grossly unfair to people who have used the airstrip over the last 30-40 years.”

In a speech yesterday Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change announced to the Commons that she would be ending subsidies for onshore wind. It is still uncertain what position projects like the one at Wilton will be in.

A spokesperson for Airvolution said: “We believe this is an important project that can help generate much needed renewable energy - the Wilton wind project would generate enough electricity to power 4,500 homes every year and bring investment and new jobs to the local area.

“If the two-turbine project goes ahead it will also lead to the creation of a community benefit fund worth £33,000 for every year of the project’s lifetime, this will benefit local communities around Wilton and Yearby.

“We have already set up a community liaison group to ensure that we are listening to the views of local people from nearby villages and are looking forward to receiving more feedback from other consultees during this planning stage.”

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