Plans for two giant wind turbines which would have dominated the countryside between Garstang and Pilling were rejected today.
Wyre planning councillors threw out the controversial application after hearing from residents of Pilling, Eagland Hill, Nateby and Out Rawcliffe who argued strongly against the towering turbines on Pilling Moss.
Cornish-based company Cornwall Light and Power lodged plans to site two 80m high turbines (125m high at top blade height) at Orchard End, Eagland Hill, earlier this year.
The plans prompted more than 300 letters of objections from indiviudals and organisations includling the British Horse Society, Fylde Coast Bridleways Association, Fylde Bird Club, the RSPB, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Garstang Chamber of Trade, Garstang Town Council and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
Ornithological and naturalist groups claimed the plans were likely to harm the area’s population of pink-footed geese, protests which prompted a second round of consultation about the threat to birdlife.
Residents of the rural community around Eagland Hill, Out Rawcliffe and Nateby, had been worried that the towers, would depreciate property values, damage the countryside, were too close to homes, hamper local microlighting activity, frighten horses, affect people’s health by shadow flicker and noise, and cause stress to cats and dogs in pet boarding kennels and catteries in the area.
Among the speakers were Garstang-based planning agent Graham Salisbury who likened the threat from the siting of the wind turbines to Canatxx’s gas plans in the Wyre estuary.
“They will have the biggest single impact in the borough since the Canatxx scheme. These are goliaths, and you need to be aware of the scale and impact on the borough.”
Rachel Parker of Manor House Farm, Nateby, was concerned there had been no consultation over the impact on wildlife at her family’s farm, which comes under a government-supported high priority eco-habitat stewardship scheme.
Susan Hargreaves of South Woods farm pointed out the instability of the peat in the mossland area and expressed concerns about the the large number of vehicle movements which would be generated.
Coun David Sharples (Catterall) said the proposals were visually, ecologically and environmentally intrusive. He was also worried about the impact on the moss roads, which he said were breaking up.
Coun Gordon McCann (Preesall) said the best place for windfarms was off-shore. He criticised the report to councillors by planning officials as “full of euphamisms.”
Coun David Williams (Garstang) said wind energy was the “most costly and inefficient form of lowering CO2 emissions ever devised.”
Coun Ron Shewan (Fleetwood) said the proposals put both businesses and wildliife projects in the area at risk.
He added: “They are proposing two now – how many later?”
Supporters of the plans who spoke were the development manager for Cornwall Light and Power, Steve Allen, who spoke on the benefits of windpower, and Mr Martin Lawrenson from Orchard End Farm, Eagland Hill, where the turbines were proposed to be sited.
Mr Lawrenson said farm diversification was government policy and he felt the site was ideally situated.
He said similar objections to those to the wind turbines had been voiced in the 1960s by those opposing high profile pylons.
Commenting on concerns about the potential effect on the area’s geese he said: “The greatest stress to the geese come from those who shoot them for sport.”
When councillors refused to support the planning officials’ recommendation, Coun Ted Taylor (Fleetwood) proposed a motion to reject the plans on the grounds that the turbines would be out of character and overbearing in the area, and, on the information submitted may have an unacceptable, detrimental effect on the pink-footed geese population of the area.
The Courier approached Cornwall Light and Power for its response to the decision, and asked if it would appeal against the rejection.
Mr Allen, commented: “We are very disappointed with the outcome of today’s public meeting.
“We feel our application had gone a long way to addressing the concerns, both of the local public and of those organisations with a stake in the proposed scheme.
“We firmly believe that our plans have the best interests of the community at heart and would be a significant step in Lancashire reducing its dependency on fossil fuels.
“We will now be looking carefully at all options before deciding on what action to take.
“Updated information will continue to be posted on our website at www.clpwindprojects.co.uk.”
7 May 2008
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