A new directive from the Government could stop the march of the wind turbines in West Cumbria.
It follows the announcement that Dean Moor, south of Cockermouth, had been identified as a potential site for a wind farm and the battle by villagers in Tallentire and surrounding areas to stop turbines there.
The Planning Inspectorate has now said that the cumulative effect of a large number of turbines in an area can be taken into account by council planners for the first time.
In the past, councils had to consider each application separately and could not use other turbines in the same area as a valid objection.
However, Workington MP Tony Cunningham has had assurance from the inspectorate that the cumulative visual effect can now be taken into account.
He said: “I now have it in writing that the cumulative effect should be a factor in planning determinations and that the number of similar turbines in one area is now a material consideration.
“I believe now that enough is enough. We have to balance the cumulative visual intrusion against the electricity they produce.”
The inspectorate said, however, that the cumulative effect would be considered case by case.
Last month, Allerdale council planning officer Ric Outhwaite said the number of wind farms was likely to rocket as there was no set Government limit to them.
There are eight proposals for wind farms in Allerdale from different companies.
They include three turbines at Flimby Hall Farm, the plan for Dean Moor, applications lodged for Westnewton and Silloth, public exhibitions at Tallentire Hill and Dearham, an appeal lodged after Allerdale council refused an application near Allonby, and there has been an application for a monitoring mast at Broughton Lodge, Great Broughton.
County councillor Alan Clark, who represents Dearham and Broughton, said: “We have put up with nuclear dumping and we have put up with opencast coal mining and it is now clear that our rural parishes are being picked off one by one.
“Every parish has objected and every parish has lost – it is time that we stood up to them collectively.
“We have marched to save our hospitals and now it’s time that we marched to stop the turbines.
“I’m not against wind turbines outright – but it is now clear that we have had our share.
“They know they wouldn’t get away with this in leafy Cheshire, where the rich footballers live, or in the wild places of Scotland, where big money protects shooting interests for the rich.”
* Meanwhile, an investigation is being considered by Allerdale council into energy firm E.on, which is behind the offshore farm at Robin Rigg, for allegedly breaching planning conditions on turbines at Oldside, Workington, and Siddick.
The nine Oldside turbines and seven at Siddick won planning approval in 1996 on condition they kept on turning, and were never taken out of service for longer than six months.
Allerdale Labour councillor Peter Bales, said he had evidence that two Siddick turbines had been out of commission for over six months and the Oldside turbine, nearest to the Port of Workington, had not turned a blade for more than three years.
E.on said that there was a turbine broken at Oldside, two at Siddick and one at Lowca.
A spokesman said the longest to be inoperative was at Oldside, but claimed it last turned in November 2006.
He added: “Manufacturing within the wind turbine industry is at an all time high and sourcing turbine spares is a major issue.
“We’re working at resolving current technical issues to ensure we see them operational through to the end of their design life. The majority of the turbines are turning as they should.”
26 October 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding