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Protesters gather strength to face windfarm  

A storm of protest has already blown up over plans to site a windfarm alongside the M6 close to Shap.

Opponents have set up Community Opposed to Shap Turbines (COST) and “˜No’ posters have been put up in gardens in the village.

COST campaigners set up stall outside public exhibitions in Shap and nearby Crosby Ravensworth this week when details of the scheme were outlined to villagers.

The firm behind the £20m project, Gamesa Energy UK, says the Shap Renewable Energy Park could be generating power within three years.

It would comprise 10 turbines, each 100 metres high, and produce enough electricity for tens of thousands of homes every year.

It would also boost the local economy.

Plans are expected to go to Eden Council in the next few weeks ““ but Ivan Day, who has lived in Shap for 24 years, is not impressed.

He said: “I’m not a member of COST but I believe in the campaign.

“We have a unique landscape in this part of the world and our future lies in tourism.

“Something like 30,000 people walk the coast-to-coast route, which passes through the village, each year and it is always difficult to get a room here.

“An open meeting about these proposals was held a few months ago and there was a head count at the end of it.

“I reckon 95 per cent of those present were against it.

“The site by the M6 can be seen from places like High Street in the central Lakes and from the Pennine range.

“It is totally inappropriate for a windfarm with 100m-high turbines.”

Gavin Wilkinson, who lives at Crosby Ravensworth but is building a property at Maulds Meaburn, takes the opposite viewpoint.

He told The Cumberland News: “I’m in favour of this windfarm just as I’m in favour of nuclear power, hydro power and so on.

“Unless we invest in these things I’m convinced the lights will go out.

“I don’t have a problem with the location because there are already quarries and electricity pylons in this area.

“I actually believe that these turbines have a certain elegance.

“As for noise nuisance, that just won’t be a problem. I’ve stood right below one of the turbines at Lambrigg and you can’t hear it above traffic noise from the M6.

“The same would apply here.”

Gamesa Energy UK director Matt Partridge was among those at the two public exhibitions to answer questions from visitors and residents.

Everyone living locally was leafleted.

He claimed that their scheme was very different to that proposed for Whinash, near Tebay, which was turned down earlier this after a public inquiry.

He said: “The two are like chalk and cheese. Ours is a much smaller project with fewer turbines which are not so tall.

“It is also further away from the Lake District.

“The land where the windfarm will be built has also been very much affected by man-made creations such as electricity pylons and quarries.”

Mr Partridge said that if planning permission was granted quickly by Eden Council it could be a further year before construction work began on site. But that would only take nine months.

He said: “Realistically the earliest that we could be generating power there would be the middle of 2009, but it could take a lot longer than that.

“The cost of the project will be between £18m and £20m and a lot of money will be generated for the local economy.

“For instance, someone local is likely to win a lucrative fencing contract while there will be a lot of business for local guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments,” he added.

By Dave Gudgeon

cumberland-news.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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