Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Inquiry into number of wind turbines in Allerdale area of Cumbria

A wind turbine inquiry will be held this week after it was revealed that Allerdale has half the county’s total number of windfarms.

Windfarm photo
The view from Workington harbour showing the wind turbines

Allerdale council led an investigation into the number of turbines and found that 74 wind development applications were submitted to six of the county’s local authorities last year.

Of these, 49 per cent were lodged with Allerdale council.

The council launched the study in January after Councillor Bill Finlay questioned the high proportion of windfarms in the district.

His concerns were echoed by Workington MP Tony Cunningham, who said Allerdale was often considered more suitable because other areas were in the National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“People are sick and tired of them,” he said. “They have had enough and just don’t want anymore. Wind turbines are not the most attractive of things and they are also noisy.

“If you’ve bought your house and are looking out over Skiddaw, for example, or out to sea, you don’t expect somebody to come and stick half-a-dozen wind turbines in a field.”

He said that if a person were to stand on Workington shoreline and look in all directions, all that would be noticeable would be turbines.

Allerdale’s report will be discussed at a Wind Turbine Inquiry meeting in Maryport on Friday.

The study, by the council’s scrutiny sub-committee, revealed that 74 wind development applications were submitted to six of Cumbria’s nine local authorities in 2012. It contains information from Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle and Eden councils, the county council and the Lake District National Park Authority.

Since 2007 there have been 218 wind developments across the area with 94 of them – 43 per cent – in Allerdale.

The number of plans submitted in Allerdale has increased six-fold since 2008, when six were lodged compared to 36 in 2012.

Copeland, meanwhile, has had only 39 applications since 2007, just 18 per cent of the total for the six authorities. There have been 16 applications in the national park since 2007.

The number of applications decided by councillors on Allerdale’s development panel has increased over the years. In 2011 only four of the 28 applications were determined by councillors, while last year three quarters went before the panel and only six were decided by planning officers.

Countywide, the number of applications decided by councillors has risen from 38 per cent in 2009 to 77 per cent in 2012.

Allerdale has 51 operational wind farms, according to figures from Renewable UK.

In 2011 – the latest figures in the Allerdale report – there were six small-scale/micro wind turbine developments in the national park, including one within the Allerdale area.

South Lakeland council was unable to contribute to the study because of staffing and Barrow council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority did not respond.

The inquiry is expected to conclude in September with a report to full council.

The Wind Turbine Inquiry meeting will be held at the Wave Centre in Maryport at 10am.


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