August 13, 2010

Lune Valley residents voice wind farm objections

The Westmorland Gazette, 12 August 2010

Residents turned out in force to voice their objections over plans for a windfarm in the Lune Valley.

Over 30 people attended last night’s meeting of Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council to protest against Eon UK’s plans to erect nine, 110 metre high wind turbines at Longfield Tarn, near Hutton Roof. The energy provider is expected to submit a planning application to Lancaster City Council next month.

However, whilst town councillors did listen to concerns, they made it clear that they could not make any decisions until they had seen the plans, which will not be until September.

Speaking on behalf of the residents, Michael Mijinsky, of High Biggins, said: “These turbines will be nearly as tall as Blackpool Tower and will have a detrimental effect on the ecology, wildlife and environment, not to mention tourism, the people who live here and their houses.

“The Lune Valley relies on its beautiful landscape and if we are not careful the Lune Valley will become Turbine Alley.”

The vice chairman of Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council, Coun Allan Muirhead said that while members will take on board concerns raised by residents, it is only on planning grounds that the council can make its recommendations.

“If anybody would like to raise their concerns we would urge them to contact the town clerk in writing, by email or verbally,” he said. “We will take on board every point raised, but we cannot make a decision until the plans are in front of us next month.

“Hopefully we will have the application before us in time for our next meeting on September 8, but if time is against us, and we need to make a decison before it goes before LCC, we may well hold a special meeting to discuss it, the details of which will be made clear on noticeboards around the village and in The Westmorland Gazette.”

Eon UK’s plans for community grants to be paid out – of which £20,000 would go to Kirkby Lonsdale should the windfarm get the go ahead – have angered residents, many branding them “bribes.”

“Even if we do not support the application, if LCC give it the go ahead, we will get the grants, so that is by the by,” said Coun Muirhead. “The problem we have is that ultimately it is an LCC decision, made in Lancashire for us here in Cumbria. We will use all our power to voice the feeling of the people of Kirkby Lonsdale, and that is all we can do.”

Eon’s project manager Nik Taylor said his team had worked hard to make sure the wind farm would have minimal effect on the landscape.

“We have chosen turbines which are on the smaller side of the ones available and we have also arranged them so they don’t appear cluttered.

“To people who say wind farms are not an effective way of producing energy I would just say it wouldn’t make any commercial sense for us to then want to build them.

“We are in the business to make as much energy as possible and wind turbines are an effective way of doing that.”

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