Hundreds of wind turbines could be added to the landscape as farmers seek to reduce their carbon footprint and boost 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 some in West Craven, to apply for permission to install wind turbines on their land.

Andrew Rothwell, group secretary of the National Farmers’ Union’s East Lancashire branch, said a number of farmers were exploring the possibility of installing wind turbines because it could prove lucrative as well as environmentally-friendly.

“Depending on how much the turbine costs, the farmer can break even in seven to ten years,” he said.

West Marton farmer Chris Pearson runs Diamond Renewables, which specialises in small-scale wind turbines. He said: “Farmers’ incomes and margins have eroded over the past ten years. In 2000, there were 11 dairy farms in the West Marton area and now there are three. Wind turbines can help to secure a viable future for farmers.”

He said turbines were especially useful for dairy farms, which were a “massive zap on electricity bills”.

At last week’s West Craven Area Committee meeting plans were approved for 20-kilowatt wind turbines at Broom House Farm, Bleara Road, Earby, and Brogden Hall Farm and Horrocks House Farm, both on Brogden Lane in Barnoldswick.

Members decided to visit the site of a proposed 10-kilowatt turbine at Bentham Lodge, Ghyll Fields, Barnoldswick.

Speaking on behalf of the applicants, Mr Pearson said: “These will not be the 120-metre-tall wind turbines that people see at Harrogate or Burnley. They’re no bigger than the feed bins on some farms.

“We’ve invited people to come out and see our turbine because until they’ve seen it they don’t realise how small they are.”

Neighbours objected to the Ghyll Fields wind turbine, saying it would be out of character in a peaceful rural setting and would detract from picturesque Ghyll Church 750 metres away.

Two neighbours objected to the Brogden Hall Farm application on the grounds it would look unsightly and spoil the appearance of the countryside and would disturb and reduce the enjoyment of walkers. One neighbour also felt the bid should be refused to “deter local farmers and landowners from jumping on the wind turbine bandwagon”.

Coun John Hoyle, of Bracewell and Brogden Parish Meeting, supported the two Brogden Lane applications. He said: “There is no visual impact and no noise from them and, as a council, we should encourage, rather than discourage, any renewable energy sources.”

Coun Allan Buck said: “I’m not against wind turbines per se, but if every farm in West Craven put up a wind turbine we would have a wind farm.”

Kathryn Hughes, Pendle Council’s principal planning officer, said: “We would look at the cumulative impact and effect of wind turbines. You can reach a limit that could be excessive for a particular area.”