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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Controversial wind turbine development goes before Carlisle planners

A controversial windfarm will once again come before Carlisle planners.

Members of the city council’s development control committee have been recommended that they approve plans for nine wind turbines at Beck Burn Peat Works, Springfield, Longtown.

The application has been submitted by EDF Energy Renewables and would see each turbine at a maximum height of 126m to the tip of a blade – three times the height of Carlisle’s Civic Centre.

The plans are an updated version of a previous submission, which was turned down last year.

The company appealed but the Secretary of State Eric Pickeles dismissed the appeal over concerns that vibrations could adversely affect nuclear test monitoring equipment at Eskdalemuir in Dumfriesshire.

EDF Energy Renewables claims the original calculations were incorrect though, and there is “75 per cent more budget” for vibrations than previously thought.

Tony Scorer, EDF’s head of onshore wind development, previously told the News & Star: “The reason we were originally refused, we believe no longer exists.”

As well as the turbines the development also includes transformer housings, a control room, an 80m-high meteorological mast, crane pads and access tracks.

A change of use to mixed use is being proposed which would comprise operational peat works and the windfarm development.

Other changes include amendments to community benefits but the plans have still met with widespread objection.

Papers prepared for Friday’s planning meeting reveal that the council has received 47 submissions in relation to the proposals: 41 were against the plans while one was in support.

The main concerns centre around the landscape, with residents questioning the impact such a development would have on the surrounding area – particularly Hadrian’s Wall.

Other protesters claim the turbines “will be out of scale with the local topography” and that there is “already a proliferation of turbines in the area”.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has also lodged its objection, on the grounds of the “negative visual impact”.

However, the letter in support insisted councillors consider the fact that “clean energy is the way forward”. The person added that with the removal of the MoD objection there is no need to refuse it.

Planning officials have recommended the authority approves the plans when it meets on Friday.

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