Well-known Cumbrian author and broadcaster Eric Robson has spoken out against plans to build a windfarm on fells alongside the M6 at Shap.
The man who persuaded legendary Lakeland wanderer Alf Wainwright to make a television series with him has just become a patron of Community Opposed to Shap Turbines (COST).
That means he has joined forces with the like of Sir Chris Bonington and Lord Melvyn Bragg in opposing the creation of the Shap Renewable energy Park by Gamesa Energy UK which would comprise 10 wind turbines, each 100m high.
Mr Robson, who lives in Wasdale and chairs Cumbria Tourism, said: “It is sad that so soon after the victory for common sense at Whinash, Gamesa Energy want to install huge turbines on land just up the road from there.
“The same arguments that won the day for Whinash hold good for Shap: the proposed windfarm will do very little good, but will do immense harm.
“It would be too close to the National Park, visible from several national trails and would create an inescapable moving distraction from the splendour of Cumbria’s natural horizons.”
A proposal for a bigger windfarm at Whinash, between Shap and Tebay, was turned down after a public inquiry.
Gamesa Energy UK hopes to submit a planning application for the £20m Shap scheme to Eden Council next month and have the project completed by 2010 ““ but COST says the scheme would ruin the local landscape.
Now the group has managed to recruit some of the most high-profile public figures in the county to its campaign.
Sir Chris Bonington, who lives near Caldbeck, said: “None of us are against finding sources of alternative energy or windfarms in the right place ““ it is a matter of weighing up priorities.
“In the case of the hills bordering our National Parks in general and the hills above Shap in particular, the visual damage to magnificent hill country does not justify the presence of a large and intrusive windfarm.
“If greater resources were put into energy conservation, wave and tide power and small individual solar and wind schemes, there would be no need for these massive, industrial wind power developments over some of our most beautiful countryside.”
Lord Bragg, who was brought up in Wigton, said: “I spoke out against the proposals for Whinash and I will speak out about the proposals for Shap.
“We are surrounded by news about climate change at the moment, but it should not be linked to the plans for a windfarm on the edge of a National Park. Cumbria is blessed with an internationally important landscape that needs protecting.”
Hugh Lowther, the Earl of Lonsdale, said: “I believe Gamesa’s proposals are for the wrong thing in the wrong place. The proposed windfarm is too big, on land that is too prominent, and it is far too close to people’s homes.
“Cumbria is my home, and I will do what I can to protect the stunning landscape we have here.”
By Dave Gudgeon
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