OPPOSITION to a proposed wind testing mast that could lead to a wind farm being built on the banks of a remote reservoir is growing in the local community.

An application for a 50m wind monitoring mast at Thornton Steward water treatment works and reservoir, near Leyburn, was submitted to Richmondshire District Council in May.

Kelda Water Services, a sister company of Yorkshire Water, has confirmed it is assessing whether the location is suitable for a wind turbine, which could lead to several being built.

Residents argue that a wind farm could irrevocably damage the area, which is close to the borders of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A number of residents have also complained about the formal notification process for the application and say that some people are still in the dark about the plans. An unofficial campaign group against the mast has already won a small victory after persuading the council to put the application before the full planning committee, instead of allowing officers to make a decision under their delegated powers.

A spokesman for the objectors said: "This is a very contentious planning application not just because of the intention of wind turbines; the 50m high wind measuring mast, dominating the skyline for miles around in such a sensitive area, will be unacceptable blight in its own right.

"What has dismayed and angered so many, even those living close by, is that they were previously unaware of the application - many still remain in the dark.

"Lack of clarity and information as to the closing date for objections has undoubtedly severely hampered any organised attempt to inform as many people as possible."

A spokeswoman for Richmondshire District Council confirmed the application will go before the full planning committee on June 28.

Objections received before the end of Friday will be included in the official report that will go before councillors.

Any comments received after that date will not included in the report, but will be presented separately at the meeting.

The campaign group has started a website with information about the application, at www.savewensleydale.co.uk