ATTEMPTS to have the Yorkshire Wolds designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been criticised by the Green Party.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the status in an effort to block wind farm development.
But the Green Party said they were standing in the way of progress and opposing wind farms was “selfish”.
East Riding Council said it was exploring the idea of granting special protection status but not to oppose wind turbines.
The No To Wolds Windfarm Group is fighting plans by developers for a number of wind turbine schemes across the area, ranging from single units to sites with multiple turbines.
It said an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designation would limit or stop the developments.
The proposed locations for the larger wind farms include 14 turbines up to 145m (475 ft) high near Hunmanby, 11 turbines near Fraisthorpe, nine turbines at Thornholme and 10 turbines east of Malton.
The online petition, started by Wolds residents Steve and Julia Hey, has been backed by local MEP Godfrey Bloom and the Conservative MP for East Yorkshire, Greg Knight.
Ms Hey said she was concerned about the scale of the windfarm plans.
Shan Oakes, of Beverley Green Party, said: “I love the Wolds. It’s a beautiful, beautiful area.
“We walk and cycle there as much as we can but I don’t think wind turbines actually spoil views.
“I think if they’re done properly [and] sensitively... then they actually help and look good, especially when you think of the good that they’re doing creating energy from the wind, from a free resource, rather than a source that produces carbon.
“You have to think about the world situation and the amount of carbon dioxide which is going into the atmosphere and causing climate change... and if you look in that context it looks a little bit selfish to just say ‘we don’t want wind turbines’.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council said it was not opposed to renewable energy and its moves to win AONB status were not designed to stop wind farms being built on the Yorkshire Wolds.
The council has refused planning permission for some turbine projects in the past, only to have them approved after an appeal by the developer to the government.
The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty said some of the UK’s 8,000 sq miles of AONBs were already home to renewable energy schemes and that an area would not be given special protection to ‘block any form of development’.