Nature, Live! Live, Nature!
Powers of Nature: Destroy illusion and reveal the truth!
Nature, Live! Live, Nature!
Powers of Nature: Destroy illusion and reveal the truth!
Crook Hill In The News Again: 26/01/17 - **["The Environment Agency is examining claims Crook Hill Wind Farm worsened the Boxing Day 2015 floods]**
Crook Hill One Year On: 28/02/16 - **["What next?" we asked. The answer involves dead animals, sick children, severe flooding, but still no arrests...YET]**
Crook Hill Into The Future: 16/07/15 - **[Now the turbines have been erected, what next for Crook Hill?]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 09/07/15 - **[Crook Hill always welcomes the public, so get involved, get up there and take some photos!]**
How Love Can Protect A Mountain: 05/07/15 - **[A trip away from Crook Hill this week as we explore The Working Man's Mountain: Kinder Scout]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 26/06/15 - **[The cumulative effect of too many adjacent wind farms is starting to show]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 21/06/15 - **[And then there were six...the construction passes the halfway point]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 14/06/15 - **[The first turbine is erected at neighbouring Reaps Moss]**
Fire! Fire! The Turbine's On Fire!: 07/06/15 - **[Dramatic turbine fire at Todmorden Moor]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 30/05/15 - **[More rubbish, more pollution, more damage to the ground...but no more turbines]**
Crook Hill & The Community: 23/05/15 - **[An energetic Area Forum meeting in Rochdale & the mysterious midnight construction of the third turbine]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 17/05/15 - **[The erection of the second turbine and associated destruction]**
The Week The Wind Changed: 04/05/15 - 10/05/15 - **[A momentous week of action and drama]**
Crook Hill Eco Disaster Photos: 06/04/15, 09/04/15 - **[Eco destruction on an industrial scale]**
The following photographs reveal the true nature of the corporate wind power industry, the environmental destruction behind the glossy, airbrushed photos of so-called wind farms. These are the corporations we are entrusting to "save the planet".
1 - Crook Hill: The Approach
Crook Hill lies on the southern slopes of Freeholds Top, a stunning moorland plateau reaching an altitude of 454 metres above sea level. The entrance to the site is via Landgate in Whitworth, a small town between Rochdale and Bacup in Lancashire. The first sight to greet the visitor is of bulldozers on the skyline. The slopes are littered with slagheaps and disused quarries, a sign that these hillsides have long been abused by humans. Despite the scars, however, Freeholds Top still retains its awe-inspiring, slightly intimidating magic (a sly wink can almost be made out in the hill's face!).
2 - The Corner Of Doom
Almost immediately off the tarmac and the purpose-built mud track climbs steeply. There is an extremely dangerous right-hand corner which will challenge the drivers attempting to deliver the oversized turbines. Rainy conditions risk turning the track into a mudbath, with the vibrations of the HGVs increasing the chance of a landslide. In 2011 a crane driver lost his life on a similar hillside track at the Scout Moor wind farm.
3 - Middle Hill
At the top of the steep mud track lies what only be described as a bombsite. Contractors I & H Brown demonstrate how dedicated they are to cleaning up the environment with their expensive cars and machinery. A reminder that they wouldn't venture up into these moors if they weren't getting paid to do so.
4 - Welcome To Hades
The track continues past Hades Hill and Rough Hill, offering dramatic views south over Greater Manchester. The animals of the moor gaze with incredulity at the folly of man.
5 - Desecration Of The Earth
All this is merely preparation for the horrible scenes that lie ahead, viewable only from the highest vantage points of Freeholds Top. How the wind industry can describe its energy as "renewable" when it devastates unspoilt moorland on such a huge scale is the fraud of the century. Wind farms are only genuinely renewable if, after their decommissioning, all traces of them are removed and the moors restored to their natural state. The friends of Crook Hill will apply constant pressure on the contractors and politicians responsible for this eco disaster, in order to ensure the damage they have done is repaired in full.
6 - Why The Damage Is So Appalling
As the song goes, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone." An argument used by the developers to defend Crook Hill Wind Farm is that man has been industrialising these slopes for centuries. To a tiny extent that's true, however the scale of devastation here far outweighs any previous damage, continuing in exactly the same vein as "old" industry with its corporatisation of unspoilt wilderness and all the ungainly wheeling and dealing that goes with it. One big difference between this unwanted project and previous small-scale industrial activity is that this time nobody, least of all the local community, has any clue whether they are getting what they pay for - they are simply expected to take Partnerships For Renewables at their word that all this destruction is worth it for the good of the planet. It'd better be; but what happens if it's not? All this would have been for NOTHING! Another key difference between this and previous industrial activity is that nobody involved with the wind farm has a local connection; both Coronation Power, who obtained planning permission for the site, and Partnerships For Renewables, the company managing the construction, are both based in London. The contractors I & H Brown are based in Scotland and Crook Hill Properties Ltd, the dubious company that owns the wind farm, are based offshore in the Virgin Islands (for some reason!). The scheme was opposed by the local community, rejected by the local council, and only approved in 2009 after an aggressive appeal by Coronation Power to the Planning Inspectorate, who gave their approval following guidelines set down in law by none other than Mr Ed Miliband (in his role as Energy Secretary for the Labour government of the time). It's highly unlikely the men who approved the wind farm have even even set foot on Freeholds Top. So here are some parts of the moor that have escaped the moneymen. These photos show why it's such a special place, and will remain so long after Partnerships For Renewables' ugly machinery is removed and consigned to the dustbin of history.
7 - Other Photos
Several friends and guardians of Crook Hill have posted their own photographs on the internet. These pictures show some of the accidents and destruction to have occurred at the site so far.
I & H Brown, "improving the image of construction". Judge for yourself whether this portfolio of the Brown mob's handiwork at Crook Hill really does improve the image of wind farm construction.
A Load Of Bollards
In the week since my last site inspection, several bollards have suddenly appeared at the now infamous Landgate entrance, reducing the width of the carriageway by almost half. The bollards are there to prevent HGVs from accidentally driving across the dangerously weak bridge over the culvert.
Animals On Guard
A lot of animal activity around the site, with horses and sheep grazing in and around the construction work. I also spotted a number of crows keeping a beady eye on proceedings.
Back At The Corner Of Doom
It still doesn't look any safer than it did a week ago...
Tyre Tracks, Holes & Ditches
This is what happens when you try to construct a power station on a mountain.
Public In Road Ahead - Proceed With Care
You better believe it! One hopes this little website is a reminder to the contractors that, as they claim to be "saving the planet", it is the public's right (if not duty) to monitor their progress closely, ensuring they proceed with care at all times.
Crook Hill - Still Beautiful
The contractors' ugly weapons of moss destruction are surrounded on all sides by beauty, magic and nature - the contrast is striking!
This was the week in which the first turbine components arrived on site. Conditions were overcast but no rain. Credit to the drivers for notching up two successful deliveries so far; these photos give an idea of just how all the HGVs have been coping with the hazardous hillside track.
Dust, Fumes & Toxic Emissions
There are dozens, if not hundreds of long-distance HGV journeys required to transport all the components of the turbines. I hope these are being added to the official carbon footprint of the wind farm.
Polluted water adjacent to the access track. Another quirk of Crook Hill and its parent peak Freeholds Top is that they lie on the main watershed of Britain. Rain falling on the south/western side will end up in the Irish Sea, whereas rain falling on the north/eastern side will end up in the North Sea. Either way, I wouldn't want to drink this water, not with all the industrial activity going on.
More Of That Bloody Rubbish
Obviously picking up litter doesn't feature highly on I & H Brown's list of priorities. We can't categorically blame the contractors for every item of rubbish strewn around their site, and I realise they're in a race against time to "save the planet", but you'd have thought they'd be able to set aside five minutes to pick up a few fag packets and carrier bags, wouldn't you?
Industrialisation Of The Moors
These photos display the effect the construction of the wind farm has had on the animals and wildlife of Crook Hill.
As Yet Unspoilt
Always like to end the week's photos on a high, so here are some more beautiful, unspoilt views of Crook Hill and nearby summits Freeholds Top, Inchfield Moor and Brown Wardle
Two twilight site visits this week, the first on Wednesday and the second on Sunday. Finally the rains came down this week, making it a much more challenging proposition to arrange the logistics of the turbine deliveries. In addition, on Wednesday there was a major HGV crash on the M62, bringing traffic to a standstill for miles in every direction. As a result progress at Crook Hill seemed to have been impeded temporarily, with a logjam of turbine components, apparently under police guard, building up at the site entrance. By Sunday they had disappeared.
Cracks Appearing In The Access Track
Compare and contrast the state of the hillside access track between this week and three weeks ago. Heavy rain and the first rumblings of the seriously heavy loads appear to be taking their toll on the embankment. It's possible these holes were gouged out of the hillside intentionally, but it certainly adds to the visual impression of an unstable hillside starting to crumble.
Tyre Tracks Increasing Sliding Mud
Heavy rain and continued HGV activity over the week has turned vast sections of the access track into a mud bath. The problem is compounded by the ruts formed by the tyre imprints of the HGVs, smearing soggy, slippery mud across the access track.
Crook Hill At Night
The glare of I & H Brown's spotlight provides just enough visibility to capture some blurry shots of the first turbine pillar to be erected on Crook Hill; a technical achievement (grudgingly) respected by this website. However, the all-important blades have yet to make it up the hillside, and with every drop of rain the access track becomes more and more unstable. This is shaping up to be a dramatic race against time for the contractors!