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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Fears subsidy cut will prompt new wave of wind turbine applications

There are fears a glut of planning applications for windfarms could be landing on council planners desks across Cumbria after news that government subsidies are to be phased out.

Wind turbines photo

The Conservatives revealed they will not subsidise new onshore windfarms if they win the 2015 general election – and four were submitted to Allerdale last week after what campaigners previously called a “quiet year”.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said any project not granted planning permission before the election would not get funds as the UK would already have enough wind power to meet 2020 EU targets.

Four new windfarm applications were submitted to Allerdale Council in the last week.

The applications are for single turbines at Mealsgate, Edderside, Arkleby and Aikton.

David Colborn, spokesman for Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment (FORCE) which opposes the plans, said: “Until last week it had been a quiet year on the application front, with only one full application being posted on Allerdale’s website. That was until Friday when four more full applications went online.

“FORCE will be lodging objections to these.

“There appears now to be some level of increase in applications. I’m not sure if that is down to the Tories announcement or maybe just coincidence.

“There may be a surge in applications but it takes a long time to go through the system. Appeals are just being heard now from applications submitted in 2013 – people would have to move quickly.”

The first new application is for a 35m turbine at Carrick Dean, Edderside. VG Energy has applied to erect this turbine.

Universal Green Energy has applied for planning permission for a 45m turbine at Arkleby House Farm at Arkleby and Hallmark Power Limited has applied for permission for a 77m wind turbine on land north of Water Flosh, Aikton.

The final application is for one 67m turbine at Dundraw Farm, Dundraw. This application has come from Neo Environmental.

Hallmark Green Power has also resubmitted its plans to Allerdale for a 45m wind turbine at Waverbank, Mealsgate.

Mr Colborn added: “All of these applications far exceed the Department for Energy and Climate Change definition of small scale (15m to hub) and if any were to be granted would significantly add to the negative landscape impacts and cumulative impacts that we already suffer, not to mention the potential impacts on residential amenity for those who live near to them.”

A spokeswoman for Carlisle City Council said: “Over the last year there has been a steady increase for single turbines on farms. It’s difficult to predict whether these numbers will increase further. Applicants have a number of issues to consider before putting forward proposals.”

Allerdale council declined to comment.

Last week REG Windpower – the company which owns and operates High Pow – submitted plans for six turbines at Hay Close Farm, Calthwaite. Public exhibitions are being held on May 16 in Low Hesket Village Hall from 2pm to 8pm and on May 17 from 10am to 2pm at Skelton Memorial Hall.

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