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Friday, 24 October 2014

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MP calls for halt to wind turbines being built in west Cumbria

Campaigners have hit out at the “overwhelming” number of wind turbines in west Cumbria.

Tony Cunningham photo
Tony Cunningham

FORCE (Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment) says the number is causing serious concern and MP Tony Cunningham believes it has reached saturation point.

He said the balance had “tipped too far” and any more would affect tourism.

“If you stand at the harbour at Workington you can’t look north, south, east or west without seeing wind turbines,” he said.

“We have got more than enough. The balance has now tipped too far and any more would be damaging visualisation and the tourist industry. The feeling that I get from talking to people is enough is enough."

Mr Cunningham said he believed that, for many years, the area “had done its bit” in relation to energy supply.

“We have got Sellafield, there are plans for a new nuclear power station,” he added. “We have offshore windfarms – we don’t need, or require, any more on land.”

Clive Marshall, from FORCE, said he was aware of 93 applications in the Allerdale council area.

The applications received by the council range from requests for turbines to initial expressions of interest.

“There is a lot of concern about the number being submitted. They are not all full planning applications but are expressions of interest in one way or another,” he said.

“There have been over 90 in nine months in this area alone. That is overwhelming and is of serious concern to us. A high number also appear to be for individual turbines, which seems to be a growing trend.”

The campaigners spoke out after plans for another giant wind turbine were approved, despite an 800-name petition and Allerdale council refusing it last year. Airvolution Energy’s 303ft turbine, at Seaton, near Workington, was given the go-ahead by a government inspector on appeal.

Although Allerdale has turned down a number of schemes, the group is concerned that national inspectors are now overturning these decisions – as was the case at Seaton.

Local councillor Trevor Fee condemned the decision. “I’m disgusted that the appeal officer has passed such a huge turbine. The local parish council and Allerdale council voted against it - everyone’s feelings have just been ignored,” he said.

Mr Fee added that Seaton was surrounded with wind turbines and the community was against more.

“They are a blight on the landscape and people have to live with it for the rest of their lives,” he added.

The turbine will power Siddick’s Eastman Chemical plant and Airvolution said it would provide major benefits to nearby communities. By providing low cost renewable energy to the plant, it says it will help to keep the local employer competitive.

Another Cumbrian resident has launched his own campaign to stop more windfarms in the county. Peter Garforth has set up an e-petition on the official Government website. If it attracts enough signatures it could trigger a debate in Parliament.

The petition calls on the Department for Energy and Climate Change to give Cumbria protection from further developments.

It can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39104.

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