A campaign which gathered 750 letters of support for a proposed windfarm near Aspatria – from people living miles away from the development – has been branded as “worthless” by the local parish council.
Broadview Energy Limited wants to erect five 107m (351ft) turbines at Warwick Hall Farm, Westnewton.
But local residents, fearing a windfarm would destroy the area’s beauty and damage the important tourist trade, put together more than 1,700 letters of objection to the plans.
In response, Broadview collected around 430 signatures from residents and visitors to Workington, and a further 320 from people in Maryport, Wigton and Carlisle, from four days of canvassing opinion.
John Ryden, chairman of Westnewton parish council, said: “As far as I can see, the letters are worthless.
“Reports that letters received by the local authority totalled 1,700 against, with only a handful of support, panicked the developer to pay some ‘windfarm warriors’ to stand the streets of local towns for a number of days to scrape together letters of ‘support’.
“Notably, there was an absence of support from rural areas, as most support came from Workington.”
The company’s idea to seek opinions from outside of the area directly affected by the proposals was also criticised in letters to the local press, but Broadview’s managing director Jeffrey Corrigan said it had received some support from people in Westnewton and Aspatria, following a public consultation and exhibition.
He added: “Everyone in Allerdale and Cumbria has a right to comment on the project. What we’re trying to do is get opinions from as wide a range of people as possible.
“During the canvassing in Workington and Maryport some of the support we received was from Westnewton and Aspatria.”
Mr Corrigan said a number of the 1,700 objections had also come from people living in Carlisle and Workington.
He added: “We are extremely happy with the continued support for the project, particularly in view of the fact that those in favour are always much less vocal than those opposed.
“This demonstrates that the residents of Cumbria recognised the effectiveness of windfarms in combating climate change.”
The company says the scheme will generate enough clean renewable energy to supply 6,989 households a year.
The application will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s development panel, at a date yet to be confirmed.
15 January 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding