Greystoke residents have mixed views on plans for a new windfarm about two miles west of the village.
They were out in force at a public information exhibition held by Berrier Hill Wind Energy Ltd at the village hall on Tuesday.
The company has submitted a planning application to Eden Council for nine 60m-high wind turbines to provide enough green electricity for 12,581 homes locally. Construction is expected to take six months and cost about £8m.
Visitors to the exhibition were able to view how the windfarm would appear from their home using computer-generated 3D images which covered about six miles around the proposed site.
Gordon Bambrough, 74, of Greystoke, said: “If we want electricity we’ve got to get it from somewhere.
“It doesn’t look as bad as it might have done.”
But his wife Pauline, 66, said: “In the pictures it looks inconsequential, but when they’re actually up it is more dramatic.”
Lesley Smith, chairman of Mungrisdale parish council, said: “There is a big interest in this. I’ve had a lot of people knocking on my door and ringing me about it.
“I’m trying to look at the plans with an open mind, but the reason people here are totally besotted by where they live is because of the views of the unadulterated landscape.”
Bruce Aitken, 71, of Johnby, said: “The government should be planning ahead. Instead of all nuclear power stations stopping all at once, they should have been rebuilding them over the last 25 years.
“I don’t think these windfarms are the way ahead. It will be visible from various points of the national park, like Blencathra.”
Brian Faulk, 65, of Greystoke, said: “It’ll just ruin the countryside. Wind is unreliable and the amount of power generated is minimal; you’d need thousands of turbines before you can get rid of one power station.”
Peter Glew, 78, of Greystoke, said: “It is a necessity to have alternative energy sources, and nuclear is subject to terrorism. People moan about them as an eyesore, but I don’t think they are.”
Anne Glew, 62, said: “I want my washing machine and my fridge to work, and at the moment we are relying on other places – Russia for gas, the Middle East for oil – all volatile areas. A few windmills is a small price to pay for hopefully being self-sufficient, and very few people in the village will see them. I prefer them to nuclear, where we’ve got to get rid of all the waste.”
Two more wind turbines are planned by different companies near Skelton and Lamonby. The nearest one actually built is Newlands near Hesket Newmarket. Others built nearby are at Great Orton, WWU High Pow near Bolton Low Houses and Wharrels Hill near Plumbland.
Samantha Crosby, planning and development manager for West Coast Energy, said: “The exhibition has been busy. We’ve had a lot of queries from contractors who want to get involved in the building. Local companies will be able to bid for construction contracts worth around £1.5million.”
A copy of the planning application and accompanying Environmental Statement is available for inspection at the Planning Services department of Eden Council at Mansion House in Penrith.
By Julie Armstrong
17 August 2007
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