CAMPAIGNERS are fighting plans for a massive wind farm on moorland bordering Bronte country.

A scoping report is being considered to build a 65-turbine development on Walshaw Moor, between Stanbury and Hebden Bridge.

Opponents say the environmental and visual impact of the scheme would be massive.

And the Haworth-based Bronte Society fears the project would ruin the landscape for millions of people from across the world who visit to experience the surroundings that inspired the literary siblings and see ruined farmhouse Top Withens, reputedly the inspiration for the setting of Wuthering Heights.

Society director Rebecca Yorke says the organisation, which was consulted about the proposed Calderdale Wind Farm when the scoping report was first produced, is concerned about its planned scale and location.

She adds: "The location is environmentally sensitive and also we believe the development would have a significant and detrimental impact on an iconic local viewpoint and world-renowned landscape.

"To this day, people walk the moorland between Haworth and the Walshaw estate for reflection and inspiration and to understand the context and surroundings in which the Brontes wrote their poetry and world-famous novels.

"The visual impact that 65 turbines would have on the moorland around Top Withens and the area’s many public footpaths cannot be understated and we will be monitoring the situation closely."

Objector Nick MacKinnon says the development would be the largest onshore wind farm in Britain and the turbines would have proposed tip heights of 150 metres.

He has produced an image which he says illustrates the visual impact of the scheme for people walking the popular route from Haworth to Top Withens.

"The moorland view and walk is a huge asset for tourism and employment in Stanbury, Haworth and Keighley and is printed in the imaginations of people who come from all over the world to see where Cathy and Heathcliff might have lived," he says.

"The development will see millions of tons of water-retaining peat excavated, and replaced with millions of tons of concrete for the foundations. There will also be an extensive concrete road network over the peat to allow construction and maintenance, and miles of concrete cable ducts sunk. The consequences of fast run-off from the concrete will be felt by our friends in Hebden Bridge, who are already subject to terrifying floods. The CO2 released by the destroyed peat and in making the concrete will be greater than any saved by the turbines.

"Also, Walshaw Moor is a site of special scientific interest and one of the very few places where curlews and lapwings are doing well. These critically-endangered birds breed on the moor, are easy to see and hear, and many people will know and love them. This vast intrusion on the bog will drive the curlews and lapwings away. The moor will fall silent in spring.

"I would urge people to write to the chief planning officer at Calderdale Council – Crossley Street, Halifax HX1 1UJ, reference 23/06010/EIA Calderdale Wind Farm, Walshaw Moor Estate – to make their views known."

But Calderdale Wind Farm Ltd, which is backed by Worldwide Renewable Energy, describes the proposal as an "incredibly exciting opportunity".

It adds: "Calderdale Wind Farm would generate enough renewable electricity to power 286,491 homes per year. This would save 426,241 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually when compared to fossil-fuel electricity generation.

"Any potential risk to local wildlife will be assessed as part of the environmental impact assessment process. We will work closely with national environment organisations to ensure the design and layout does not interfere with sensitive species or wildlife-designated sites. Thorough ornithology surveys have been commissioned for the site – these have been ongoing for the last two years and will continue.

"We would commit to planting 300,000 trees across the estate, and new water management with the aim of reducing flooding within local communities.

"As we develop our proposals, we will design the scheme and placement of the wind turbines and associated infrastructure to minimise any disruption to existing paths and trails. Our team has taken into consideration the importance of preserving the natural beauty and accessibility of the area in the early stage designs, which will evolve as we undertake further work ahead of a planning submission.

"We will engage with statutory consultees and other stakeholders and undertake further technical works to ensure a robust planning application is prepared. We will also need to undertake a process of community consultation to help shape the final designs of the scheme."

A planning application is likely to be submitted in the summer.