An action group has accused developers of ‘underhand’ practices in gathering support for a windfarm.
Bolsterstone plc, the company behind the Newlands Windfarm on the edge of Cumwhinton, put up a stand in English Street, Carlisle, yesterday and today where they have offered passers-by the chance to sign a letter in support of the development.
However, Alison Stamper, chairwoman of the Newlands Windfarm Action Group, said she felt such activity was unfair.
She said: “Stopping random people who have no idea about the development and who haven’t put time into looking at the site is a very underhand way of doing things.
“I have done it myself – when you are stopped on the street you will sign anything.
“They have got a matter of minutes to say ‘do I want to sign this or not’, you are just pressured into signing something you have not even thought about.
“I was most annoyed and disgusted with their approach.”
Formal plans for the site were recently submitted to Carlisle City Council. The project’s director Mike Corker said: “I don’t see why they are not happy with this.
“The people who are there have all the environmental information with them including copies of all the data that went to the planning office, and photomontages.
“They can show people the nature of the development and people who attend can go into as much detail as they require.”
The letter which people were being asked to sign was addressed to the planning officer dealing with the proposal, and asked people to state they were expressing ‘strong support’ for the wind farm.
Mrs Stamper added that her group had been distributing information on the plans, and were asking people to make an informed decision.
Under the plan, three 115-metre-tall turbines would be built near to the Golden Fleece motorway junction.
Last month, Penrith and Border MP David MacLean claimed that wind farms were ‘worthless’.
On Monday, permission was granted for the biggest windfarm in Europe to be built between Carlisle and Glasgow.
Abington, next to the A74(M), will become home to a 152-turbine farm, with the capacity to power 320,000 homes.
The scheme, costing £600million, will eclipse the current largest wind farm, in Guadalajara in Spain.
The council have eight weeks to make a decision on the site after publishing details of the application.
Details of the opposition group’s campaign are available at www.againstnewlandswindfarm.co.uk.
For more details of the proposal, visit www.newlandswindfarm.co.uk
By Thom Kennedy
22 July 2008