HUNDREDS of wind turbines could be added to the East Lancashire landscape as farmers seek to reduce their carbon footprint and supplement their income.
Earlier this year the Government introduced a ‘feed-in tariff’, which pays owners of small scale renewable energy devices a fixed premium for every unit of electricity generated.
The move has encouraged more farmers, including many in East Lancashire, to apply for permission to install wind turbines on their land.
According to Andrew Rothwell, group secretary of the National Farmers’ Union’s East Lancashire branch, a number of farmers are exploring the possibility of installing wind turbines because it can prove lucrative as well as environmentally-friendly.
Next week Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee will discuss plans for single wind turbines at four separate farms in Barnoldswick and Earby.
As well as generating enough energy for the respective farms, the turbines, which are connected to the National Grid, earn the farmers money.
Mr Rothwell said interest in owning a wind turbine was growing among East Lancashire farmers.
He said: “At the last meeting of the Clitheroe branch in November I spoke to members about turbines on their farms and it did seem as though a lot were contemplating it.
“Depending on how much the turbine costs, the farmer can break even in seven to 10 years”
According to wind energy expert Mark Newton, of Farming Futures, ‘every farm in the UK will have a wind turbine in five years' time’.
He believes that with 75 per cent of the UK's land in the agricultural sector, on-farm wind power could be a significant business opportunity for farmers and land managers.