The Whitehaven News’ coverage of the decision to allow the building of a wind farm at Pica, clearly indicated how irrelevant the “powers that be” feel local opinion is in such matters.
Despite 13 years of overwhelming community opposition, previous rejections and clear votes by democratically-elected local representatives to refuse permission, the Government Inspector chose to give the go-ahead.
The Government Inspector was very clear; he accepted that the project would:
Have significant local visual impacts.
Have significant impact on the surrounding area within three kilometres of the site.
That these amounted to severe adverse effects as Copeland Council policy defines them.
But, as our landscape, however great we think it is, is outside the National Park and not an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, his view seems to be that anyone can stick a wind farm anywhere in our area, providing the “wind conditions” are right.
We can’t even turn to the new Government Quango “Natural England”, a combination of the Countryside Agency, English Nature and DEFRA’s rural development wing for help, because that’s their view too!
Onshore wind farms polarise opinion and their productivity, value for money, employment benefits and net contribution to environmental well being, are questionable – indeed one prominent national politician has called them simply “giant bird blenders”.
The Pica precedent will inevitably lead to the proliferation of 300ft-plus government-subsidised Danish and German wind turbines anywhere in the “windy” parts of North Copeland, damaging our landscape, our tourism potential and putting rare birds at risk.
It must be obvious by now to everyone in North Copeland, that the views of local people and those of their elected representatives on this issue, just don’t count, because the “benefits of renewable energy” will always take precedence.
Well if that’s not the basis for an aggressive campaign to change a policy, I don’t know what is!
Councillor Tim KNOWLES
Rheda Park, Frizington
18 June 2008
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