The firm which wants to build a windfarm close to the M6 at Shap is spending thousands of pounds producing a detailed environmental statement on the £20m scheme.
The document, which runs to several volumes, is almost ready and Gamesa Energy anticipates submitting a planning application to Eden district council early next month.
The environmental statement will cover ecology, visual impact, noise, shadow flicker, archaeology, communication, hydrology, geology, hydro-geology and socio-economics. It will be available to the public.
It is proposed that the Shap Renewable Energy Park will comprise 10 wind turbines, each 100m high. It could be generating power by 2010.
But the scheme has already run into a storm of protest, and a pressure group, Community Opposed to Shap Turbines (COST), has been formed.
Public exhibitions were held in Shap and Crosby Ravensworth late last year with staff from Gamesa and environmental consultants. Since then some of the proposed access tracks have been moved in order to make use of existing tracks.
Project manager Steve Allen said this week: “We are in the process of ensuring that all the technical and environmental considerations are balanced and accurate before submitting the planning application. We hope to be making a submission in early February.”
COST says the proposed turbines will completely change the local landscape ““ and be visible from points as far apart as Blencathra in the northern Lakes, the Eden Valley, the Pennines and the Howgills.
It says: “Some people suggest that Shap is a good spot for a wind power station as it is already marred by pylons, quarries and the motorway ““ but Shap is a beautiful home to hundreds of people, few of whom are affected by any of these.
“The proposed Renewable Energy Park will be seen by many residents of Shap and other villages from their homes and will almost certainly be heard by many of them. The construction of such a site would change the character of the community.
“COST does not believe that negligible reduction in carbon emissions can justify the ruination of the landscape and ecology, nor can subsidising onshore wind power be justified when what is required is massive investment to research effective, efficient and long-term solutions to global warming.”
If planning permission is granted it could be a further year before construction work begins, which may only take nine months to complete.
By Dave Gudgeon
Published on 12/01/2007
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