After its long, drawn-out design and construction phase, Crook Hill Wind Farm officially started operating in the Autumn of 2015. Just before the beginning of Spring 2016, I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour of the site by a distraught local farmer. Taking advantage of the now-unpatrolled access route to the wind farm, we met at the Landgate entrance (formerly site of the security lodge), untied the solitary piece of string holding the gate closed, and made our way in a 4x4 up the still-dangerous mudtrack. It's one thing walking alongside such a track; it's quite something else to be sat in a vehicle sliding around in the mud.
Then Came The Floods
Not only is the access track almost undriveable in places now, it's also changed the water course, providing a brand new route for water to make its way down the mountain. Instead of being soaked up by the peat of the moor, now surplus rain water lashes down the man-made gully towards the Whitworth valley, aiming ultimately for the River Irwell, which flooded severely in late 2015. Also, for what it's worth, the repowering of Coal Clough Wind Farm and simultaneous construction work at neighbouring Reaps Moss Wind Farm, both just a few miles north of Crook Hill near the source of the River Calder, seemed to coincide with a rapid increase in the frequency of flooding in the Calder Valley. Throw in the notorious, accident-prone Todmorden Wind Farm (slap-bang inbetween all the other wind farms), and the answer to the question "What could be causing the increase in flooding?" seems a no-brainer really. DUMPING CUBIC TONNES OF CONCRETE OVER THE MAIN WATERSHED OF BRITAIN APPEARS TO BE INCREASING THE FLOOD RISK SIGNIFICANTLY. Who'd a thunk it?!
Pollution & Poison
Despite it providing proof of what this website been saying all along, we nonetheless derived scant satisfaction from reading a report in the Lancashire Telegraph that several schoolchildren in the area have fallen sick following the construction of Crook Hill Wind Farm. The schoolchildren had a lucky escape (assuming the worst of the effects have passed, but it's only been a few weeks since construction and we still have potentially another two decades of this ahead). Seven cattle were not so lucky, with arsenic poisoning being cited by the coroner as the cause of death. All that rubbish that we've been photographing on the moors for months now - is it really a surprise that arsenic has now made its way into the food chain? Our predictions of doom and gloom a year ago were not merely luddite scaremongering or hysterical over-reaction - they were evidence-based forecasts of the problems about to be unleashed by the wind farm construction.
How To Destroy The Environment
Crook Hill Wind Farm is the textbook example of a "techno-fix" - simply applying one flawed technology to try and fix another. The following photos are the wind industry's worst nightmare - they don't expect people to ever see these dark shadows, only visible up close due to the contours of the land. Only from turbine level, or above, do we really get an idea of the damage done.
Another Year Of Rubbish
It seems fitting to leave this return visit to Crook Hill Wind Farm with some plain and simple photos of everyday rubbish. A consistent theme of this site, "The Devil is in the detail"; these photos of otherwise ordinary rubbish in fact are the most damning evidence against Crook Hill Wind Farm of the lot. They reveal, in the most unambiguous, stark form possible, that NOBODY INVOLVED CARES ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. It's a giveaway. The backstreets of Rochdale are probably cleaner than Crook Hill Wind Farm and its environs. There has been no moorland restoration whatsoever. There has not been the much-vaunted clearup operation. Illegal motorcycles zoom up and down the access track, throwing up dust and scaring those animals of the hill not yet deceased. Alone, unloved, isolated, the turbines stand forlornly flapping in the wind, surrounded by rubbish. When they go wrong, there will be no easy way of reaching them. Let us hope there is no repeat of Todmorden, no inexplicable malfunction in one or more of the turbines to spark a moorland fire or send a blade rolling down the hillside.
Crook Hill Into The Future