Lancashire wind farm could double

One of the UK's largest onshore wind farms could double in size under an application that owner Peel Energy plans to submit after a consultation.

The Scout Moor wind farm, which is outside Rochdale, currently has 26 turbines generating up to 65 megawatts. It opened in 2008.

A spokesman for the firm said that the planned expansion could lead to a doubling in the number of turbines. He added: "The consultation we are conducting is intended to tease out constraints on growth including the distance from homes."

Peel Energy proposes creating a community benefit fund worth £2,000 per megawatt generated and offering residents shareholdings in the wind farm so they get a portion of the profits.

Rossendale Borough Council principal planning officer Neil Birtles said that any planning application for an expansion would have to be referred to the Infrastructure Planning Commission due to the scale of the current wind farm.

"We don't know what expansion they want until their consultation is done, but we won't be deciding this one," he said.

The core strategy the council adopted earlier this year states that it supports renewable energy projects so long as they do not harm the landscape, homes or ecology.

Peel Energy development director Jon England said Scout Moor had potential for expansion as "there is a proven high wind resource, existing access and a grid connection".

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