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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Objections to plans for 50,000 panel solar energy park

Plans to build another solar park in rural north Allerdale have come up against ferocious opposition from angry residents.

Livos Energy Limited has earmarked an 80-acre site at Westnewton, near Aspatria, to build a new solar energy park housing about 50,000 solar panels.

The company says the site at Pasture Farm, just outside the village, will be able to produce energy for the next 25 years for an estimated 3,500 households.

The plans add to the growing number of proposed developments in the area, with sites at Bothel, Moota, Silloth and Abbeytown being put forward in the last year.

In a letter to nearby residents and key stakeholders in the site, Chris Beland, community liaison officer for Livos Energy, said: “As you may be aware, a solar installation is a temporary 25-year project producing clean renewable energy with demonstrable benefits and limited environmental impacts.

“After 25 years, the development is entirely removed and the site is returned to its former condition. There is no loss of farming land and the opportunity for sheep grazing is continued, and biodiversity enhancement is great.”

The first stage of the planning consultation finished this week, with a host of nearby residents submitting their opposition to the plans.

They claim that the solar park will destroy the picturesque views of the area, with some also raising health concerns in regards to the panels.

Livos Energy says the impact on the environment will be low.

John Ryden, of Lane Ends, Westnewton, said: “Given the recent construction of the Warwick Hall windfarm close to the proposed site, this development would represent further industrialisation in an area that has never featured in any local plan as development land.

“For solar developers to target Cumbria for solar parks is ridiculous. Any local resident might describe the area as windy but never as sunny or bright.”

However, one of Aspatria’s district councillors David Wilson, said he had no objection to the plans.

“All you will see is a thin blue line which will look like a lavender field. Solar panels are a lot better than wind turbines, “ he said.

Allerdale council says consultations are ongoing.

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