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Monday, 24 November 2014

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West Cumbrian council agrees to extend life of wind turbine

A wind turbine that has divided opinion will be in place for 25 years – five years longer than initially agreed.

Stephen Shepherd photo
Stephen Shepherd

Copeland’s planning panel has agreed to a five-year extension for the 45.5m-high turbine at Drigg Moorside Farm after a two-year dispute.

The council heard that the extension would ensure planning permission concurs with legal time frames the applicant, Stephen Shepherd, has entered into with the wind turbine suppliers.

The council received eight letters of objection with people worried that, if the timescale was extended once, it may happen again in the future. Other objectors said that an additional five years would be of no benefit to the community and environment.

A report prepared for the panel, however, said it was “unlikely” an extra five years would lead to “any significant demonstrable harm”. “It should be noted it would also extend the benefits associated with the proposal, in terms of renewable energy generation and reduced carbon footprint, for a further five years.”

The row over the turbine has been ongoing for nearly two years, since Mr Shepherd first sought permission for a 80m-high structure on his land, amid strong local objections.

Copeland Council turned down this proposal last May. Mr Shepherd appealed but it was rejected by the Government’s planning inspectorate which backed Copeland’s original decision.

The second proposed turbine is almost half the height and 40 metres away from the previous site. On the advice of their officers, councillors voted six to five in favour of awarding planning permission, ruling that the benefits of generating renewable energy outweigh any potential harm. No objection was lodged by the Lake District National Park Authority.

Mr Shepherd has withdrawn plans to increase the height of the turbine from 45.5m to 57m.

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