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‘Dismay’ at new windfarm plans

Objectors to a windfarm planned for Cumwhinton will make their views known at the village hall today.

An exhibition by Bolsterstone Plc, who want to put up three turbines 115m (377ft) high, is being held between 3pm and 7pm today and between 10am and 2pm tomorrow.

Some believe not enough notice was given by the company and are questioning the efficiency of wind turbines, which Bolsterstone claim would provide enough power for between 3,019 and 4,300 local homes.

Nearby residents are to form an action group to fight plans for the turbines between Newlands and Cringles, near Junction 42 of the M6.

Objector Allison Stamper, who lives in Cringles, said: “This is the wrong site for such massive things, far too close to the village itself, 500m from a stables and just a few miles from a tourist city.

“Carlisle is being promoted as historic; you’ve got lovely tourist boards as you come in and then you’ll look up and see these eyesores. It infringes on the quality of life everyone is entitled to.

“There is the worry of the strobe effect – when the sun gets behind them and causes shadows and flickers, it is thought it could cause all sorts of problems for people like epilepsy or migraines. It’s not proved but we don’t want to take that risk.”

Her son, Steve Stamper, added: “There is massive public dismay at these proposals. The picture Bolsterstone shows crops off our house by 1mm, leading people unfamiliar with the area to assume there are no houses nearby.

“We would be about 300m away to the nearest turbine.”

If Carlisle City Council is favourable to the application – to be submitted next month – a community fund would provide £15,000 a year for the windfarm’s 25-year lifespan – a total of £375,000.

Mr Stamper added: “£15,000 a year is a sweetener, and a small price to be paid for not being able to sleep at night. We don’t know how much noise they’ll make, and once they’re built they’re built.”

Mike Corker, director of Bolsterstone, said: “We will use specialist software to detect in advance any properties likely to be affected by shadow flicker, with subsequent mitigation. In 25 years of wind generation, with 68,000 turbines now worldwide, there are no significant reports of health issues. This includes Denmark, whose turbine density is 30 times that of the UK.

“There are many instances of windfarms in tourist areas. Research was carried out in 2005 at several windfarms in the Scottish Borders and in Southwest Ireland.

Tourism is economically important in both regions and they are renowned for their scenic beauty, so the prospect of an upsurge of windfarms was a cause for concern.

However, Dr Charles Warren of the School of Geography and Geosciences, The University of St Andrews, established that although people expected a range of negative impacts, these fears were not realised.

“The results of face to face interviews for SW tourism found that for 93 per cent of people interviewed, the presence of turbines would make no difference.”

“The UK’s first commercial wind farm at Delabole received 350,000 visitors in the first 10 years, and the turbine at Swaffham in Norfolk enjoys 10,000 visitors a year.”

Feedback forms will be supplied at the exhibition. The plans and a questionnaire are at www.newlandswindfarm.co.uk.

By Julie Armstrong

The Cumberland News

30 May 3008