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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Wind turbines planned for north Cumbria could damage UK's standing in world - claim

Two proposed wind farms could damage the UK’s standing in the world.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) made the claim at a public inquiry into the developments, earmarked for land outside of Longtown.

William Upton, for the department said vibrations from them would affect nuclear test monitoring equipment at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) site at Eskdalemuir, near Langholm.

He said it was important to make sure this facility was allowed to continue monitoring distant nuclear tests.

If this was affected, he argued, there would be a negative impact on the UK’s image. “It would be interpreted internationally as the UK distancing itself from its nuclear non-proliferation commitments,” he said.

“The UK’s reputation as a respected nuclear non-proliferation state would be diminished.”

The two proposed wind farms would be based at Hallburn Farm and Beck Burn peat works with, respectively, six and nine 126 metre (413) high turbines. The first has been put forward by energy firm REG, based in Cornwall, the second was from the renewables branch of power giant EDF.

Carlisle City Council denied planning permission to both of the developments last year. In both cases they cited the main reason for rejection was objections from the MoD that “seismic noise” would affect equipment at Eskdalemuir.

However, both firms have appealed. The inquiry is being held in the Civic Centre, Carlisle.

Eskdalemuir has a exclusion zone of 10km (just over six miles) around it, where turbines cannot be built. The MoD must also be consulted about any proposals to erect turbines within 50km (around 31 miles).

The Ministry has a “noise budget” – the maximum amount of noise from turbines that will not affect monitoring equipment.

Developments take from this budget on a first come first served basis. Once the full amount has been taken, there can be no further wind farms. Individual turbines though can still be allowed.

REG argues that its proposals would not cause problems at Eskdalemuir.

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