Representatives from the company behind controversial plans to build a windfarm near Shap are to meet parish councillors, a week after the firm was criticised for “misleading” the public The delegation from Gamesa, the energy company which hopes to get permission to install a ten-turbine windfarm on land above Shap, will visit the Eden Valley as part of a fact-finding mission and an attempt to “get to know the area better”.
Gamesa public relations officer Huw Evans said: “We’d planned to return around this point in order to help get a better understanding of the community, local politics and decision makers and general local feeling. The project manager also wanted a better understanding of the site.”
The visit comes only a week after the company was rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for “misleading” the public in promotional literature about the windfarm which was distributed in the village.
However, Mr Evans said the timing of the trip was “purely coincidental”.
“We had a series of meetings set up already including with the chair of the parish council who I believe is involved in the Community Opposed to Shap Turbines (COST) campaign and it’s purely on the basis that I think we should introduce ourselves out of courtesy,” said Mr Evans.
“We are reviewing all of our sites in the UK as several are now at the point of being progressed further but have no new news on the Shap development. This is purely an opportunity for us to familiarise ourselves with the site and locality better,” he added.
He also said he hoped to emphasise Gamesa’s commitment to the local area.
“I’m particularly eager to point out that if Shap is progressed then we would be donating around £20K per annum for 25 years to local community projects as proposed by the community.”
The ASA last week upheld a complaint against Gamesa that two advertising circulars provided misleading claims about the amount of energy that would be generated by the Shap windfarm.
The complaint prompted renewed criticism of the plans from MP for Penrith and the Border David Maclean and COST.
A spokesman for Gamesa said: “Gamesa is committed to working within the ASA’s guidelines in particular in relation to annual homes equivalent’ figures in regard to electricity production. Confusion appears to have arisen over whether the figures used in Gamesa Energy UK’s publication were site-specific to the Shap development or generic.
“The figures used were generic UK figures provided by the British Wind Energy Association and this will be made clear in future publications.”
You can have your say about the proposed windfarm at Shap by visiting the website www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk, clicking on Forums on the left hand side of the home page, then on Shap.
Wednesday 18th July 2007
By Messenger News Desk
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