A campaign group has written an open letter to Cumbrian MPs and councillors urging them to turn down ‘inappropriate’ windfarm applications.
Members of Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale are concerned that an unrealistic renewable energy target has been set for the county. They believe that because over half of its area is protected by designation, such as the Lake District National Park, there is huge pressure to site turbines in places like the Eden Valley.
Tim Kimber, chairman of FELLS, said in the letter: “Three years ago, FELLS produced a map of the county showing the then existing spread of wind farms, windfarm applications and those rejected.
“Since then the Whinash Public Inquiry has taken place resulting in rejection by the Secretary of State. Despite that, windfarm companies are bombarding the county with ever more applications.
“We believe this is being driven by fear about the future of the lucrative Renewable Obligation regime. Any dilution of the scheme would markedly cut the exceptional profitability enjoyed by onshore windfarms.
“Cumbria is one of the most splendid and unspoiled counties in England.
“That is why about 48 per cent of the county is designated as a national park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a Heritage Coast. A further seven per cent is currently under review by Natural England.
“That landscape sustains much of Cumbria’s economy and employment. For these reasons we believe our renewable energy target for 2010 is unrealistic. The regional authorities simply looked at land area and the wind profile of the county without making allowance for its unique nature.
“FELLS has updated the map and it is critical that councillors at all levels of local government continue to be vigilant towards these applications.
“Although a few might be deemed acceptable, many are sited in completely unsuitable areas or combine with other windfarms to produce an entirely unacceptable cumulative impact. We urge you to be bold and vigilant and to work to protect this unique county for the enjoyment of future generations by turning down windfarm applications that are in inappropriate locations.”
Kyle Blue, who was prominent in the Whinash inquiry said: “The inquiry highlighted the importance of the countryside to Cumbria and its economy. It is therefore essential that these intrusive developments are monitored and only sited where appropriate.”
By Dave Gudgeon
7 December 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding