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'400ft-high wind turbines could cause a low-fly RAF tragedy'  

More than 600 people have objected to plans to build a windfarm at Hellrigg near Silloth.

NPower applied again in January for a windfarm at Park Head Farm, as it is also known, which was refused two years ago.

The four turbines planned would stand 121m high and would cost around £10 million.

Eighty-five people attended a meeting arranged by Holme Low parish council on February 26 at the Golf Hotel in Silloth, with all but one declaring themselves against the plans.

Campaigner Doreen McNamee, who lives in Skinburness, near the airfield, said: “Residents in this area are concerned that these 400ft-high turbines ““ about 150ft above the minimum flying height of an RAF fixed wing aircraft ““ may cause a collision hazard to the aircraft flying over Silloth Airfield to the north of this site.

“The concern is that debris from such a collision would fall on the houses in the Silloth area.”

Her husband Eddie, a member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, said: “We could have a mini-Lockerbie over Silloth. I’m certain there would be an accident. Also, it is a frightening waste of money. In January and February they produce no useful power because there’s no wind, and when the wind gets over 50mph they have to put the brakes on so they don’t break.”

The RAF station at the airfield closed in 1960, but RAF planes do still fly over the airfield, which is part of the UK Low Flying System.

So far, Allerdale Council has received 652 comments on the application, with only five in support.

Planning officer Ric Outhwaite said: “Objections commonly refer to landscape visual impact, impact on tourism and impact on wildlife.”

The Silloth-on-Solway Action Committee which formed in 2004 to fight the previous application has reformed. Chair David Montgomerie said: “It is going to completely ruin the look of the area and tourism is what Silloth relies on.”

Npower Renewables Ltd says the Hellrigg windfarm would generate enough clean electricity each year to meet the average needs of some 3,950 homes, while offsetting the annual release of up to 15,970 tonnes of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

Project Manager Robert Warren said: “This time the windfarm will consist of just four turbines.

“There is an urgent need to tackle climate change and windfarms like this one have an important role to play in that fight.”

Allerdale Council extended the deadline to comment by two weeks.

It now ends next Friday, on March 16.

By Julie Armstrong

cumberland-news.co.uk

9 March 2007

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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