CONTROVERSIAL plans to build three large wind turbines close to the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been approved.

Opinion had been polarised over whether planners should approve the application to site the trio of 132 metre turbines to land north of Killington Reservoir.

South Lakeland District Council's planning committee this morning went against their officers recommendation to refuse and gave the thumbs up to the plan.

Concerns had been raised over the affect the turbines would have on local wildlife, scenery and the tourism trade - with one member of the public describing the area as ‘wind farm alley’.

Supporters included South Lakes Action on Climate Change, Radiation Free Lakeland and Queen Elizabeth School pupil Laura Hunt.

Chris Rowley, of SLACC, said: “I'm not naive enough to imagine it will solve climate change but have an ethical responsibility to do what we can.”

However Dr Malcolm Petyt, of the Yorkshire Dales Society, said: "It would be an enormous man-made feature in the landscape that maintains its natural feel."

Mike Hall, of Friends of Eden, Lakeland & Lunesdale Scenery, echoed that view. He said: “It is perverse that the area is relentlessly targeted. Please stop this becoming wind farm alley.”

And Norman Atkins, a retired planning officer, said: “The turbines would relegate the natural grandeur of the fells to a backdrop of brutal engineering.”

Nearby parish councils also opposed the application, citing the detrimental visual impact of the turbines as one of their main objections.

There was also opposition from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Cumbria County Council, Friends of the Lake District, Natural England, Friends of Kirkby Lonsdale and District Civic Society, the Open Spaces Society and Killington Wildlife Group.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said after the decision: “We’re very pleased that South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee has agreed with our view that this is a well-designed scheme that is set in a suitable location, and that the committee members have taken note of the local support that this project has received.

“More than 1,400 letters were submitted to the Council in support of the Killington wind farm, the vast majority of which came from people living within ten miles of the site. It will be the people of the area who will enjoy the economic, social and employment benefits that it will bring to their community, and we’re extremely grateful to all those who have strongly supported this project in the run-up to and at today’s committee meeting.

“As well as helping to generate more of the energy that we all use through renewable means, this project will see up to 50 people working on site through its construction and will lead to contracts worth around £2m becoming available for tender to local businesses around various different aspects of its development."