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£17m windfarm again rejected by Cumbrian council

Copeland council is on a collision course with a renewable energy giant over its refusal to allow a controversial £17 million windfarm to be built.

Councillors voted today for the second - and final - time to refuse planning permission for the six-turbine Weddicar Rigg development.

However, they were earlier told by Phil Dyke, the development director for applicants Banks Renewables, that the company would take the matter to an independent public inquiry if - as they subsequently did - councillors threw the plans out.

Councillors voted five to two against the windfarm - complete with 115m high (377ft) turbines - earmarked for an elevated area of land between Moresby Parks and Frizington.

Standing by the refusal decision they originally made last month, councillors ruled that the negative visual impact the windfarm would have was more important than the government’s policy on renewable energy.

Mr Dyke said after the meeting that the company was “exceptionally disappointed” with the decision.

The plans attracted 662 letters of objection and 124 letters of support.

One of the objectors, John Vout, told councillors at the meeting: “The visual impact would be severe and ruinous to the local valley. The turbines would be higher than the valley is deep; it’s an unblemished valley and we hope it will remain that way.”

He also raised concern about the impact on biodiversity, recreation and tourism.

Moresby, Arlecdon and Frizington and Weddicar parish councils had lodged protests with concerns about visual impact and the harmful effect of the turbines on tourism and wildlife.

Councillors had again been urged by their officers to approve the plans and were told that the government’s policy in favour of renewable energy should outweigh the negative impact the windfarm would have.

They were also asked to consider that the package of community benefits - including an apprentice scheme with Lakes College to create 600 positions and a minimum £30,000-a-year donation to a community fund for the 25-year lifespan of the windfarm - when making their decision.

John Groves, Copeland’s head of planning, told them: “This development has a significant impact but we have to asses that impact against national policy guidance that favours sustainable development. In this case, the policy takes precedent.

“We have taken experienced external advice which has shown that our conclusions are justified.”

Mr Groves also told councillors that their grounds for refusal must be “robust” in anticipation of a possible appeal.

Mr Dyke, for Banks, said an independent telephone survey showed opinion was split 50/50.

He added the plans had been supported by Natural England, in terms of managing the hen harriers that live on the site and that the local business community “acknowledges that there are great opportunities for them.”

Have your say

it's not about cost and they dont look as bad as people think, we need to have other engery then oil, gas as it wont last for ever, when it runs low and prices go up we'll start have blackouts. (this will also be affected by the EU making us close power stations) we need to have other forms of power like wind. i would be happy to have them around my village. all people think of is there house price. if your going to be like that lets turn off all the lights as we cant have big power lines going round emgland and we must take down the mobile phone mast too. we need other power so shut up and put up with it. all face blackouts and prices going up.

Posted by Ray Woods on 12 October 2012 at 12:15

Why are we not investing all the money being thrown at these inefficient, temporary power-producing monstrosities on tidal power? Build a boom across the Solway, incorporate a transport link or 2, (saving on carbon monoxide emmisions from reduced vehicle journeys) and we KNOW how and when the tides are expected and the heights they will reach. We are a tidal island surrounded by an infinite energy source but we aren't using it!

Posted by Craig on 12 October 2012 at 09:53

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