Scout Moor: 'Largest onshore wind farm' bid approved
Planning permission has been granted to create what is believed to be England's largest onshore wind farm.
Peel Energy and United Utilities want to add a further 16 turbines at Scout Moor, on land between Rochdale and Rossendale.
Rossendale Borough Council's development control committee gave the go-ahead for 14 of them at a meeting on Tuesday night.
Councillors in Rochdale are yet to rule on plans for the remaining two.
A statement from Rossendale Borough Council said their decision will now be referred to the government, which will then decide whether or not to "call-in" the decision for further debate.
Scout Moor wind farm opened in 2008 with 26 existing wind turbines generating enough electricity for 40,000 homes.
Current top five wind farms in England
- Keadby, Lincolnshire 68 MW (34 turbines - 2 MW each)
- Fullabrook Down, Devon 66 MW (22 turbines - 3 MW each)
- Scout Moor, Rochdale 65 MW (26 turbines - 2.5 MW each)
- Little Cheyne Court, Kent 59.8 MW (26 turbines - 2.3 MW each)
- Middlemoor, Northumberland 54 MW (18 turbines - 3 MW each)
MW = Megawatts
However, opponents are concerned the expansion of the wind farm will impact negatively on the natural beauty of the area.
Proposals to double the size of the site have already been scaled down after a public consultation.
A joint planning application for expansion on Scout Moor and the neighbouring Rooley Moor was submitted to Rochdale and Rossendale Borough Councils.
The document states "if all the proposals... are consented they will result in the largest wind farm in England".
Jon England of Peel Energy said: "The UK is quite a highly populated country. Offshore is one of those areas which moves it away from communities but you are going to increase costs.
"If you increase the cost of construction of these sorts of developments you are going to increase the cost to the consumer.
"We've been out to the community many times. We've done tens of consultation events. Yes there is objection [to expansion].
"But in the scale of the population that see Scout Moor wind farm the level of objection is relatively low."