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Victory for protesters after north Cumbrian windfarm plan scrapped

Residents are celebrating after windfarm planners scrapped a controversial scheme to build 125-metre turbines near Threapland.

The dramatic u-turn comes just a week before BT’s proposals for up to four turbines at Threapland Lees were due to be considered by Allerdale planners.

Tom Martin, head of BT’s partnership development for Wind for Change, told The Cumberland News this week that technical issues at the site were behind the move. He said: “Ongoing assessments highlighted technical challenges which, when considered against the benefits of pursuing the application, have led to the decision to withdraw from this site.”

The decision comes as a relief to local people who fought a fierce 12-month campaign against the scheme, fearing turbines just 800-metres from their homes would blight their lives.

Families living in Threapland, Bothel and Plumbland formed the Threapland Turbine Action Group (TTAG) in a bid to battle the scheme.

Steve Swallow, of TTAG, said: “Immense relief sums it up. This has been hanging over people like a dark cloud.”

The group created a website to generate support and clubbed together to pay for an independent noise review – this revealed night time noise in Threapland would increase four fold if the turbines went ahead.

More than 900 letters of objection were lodged against the scheme which would have been around half a mile from turbines at Bothel. A ballot of residents in the Plumbland area was carried out by the parish council last year. It revealed 90 per cent of householders who voted were against the proposals.

The planned turbines would have been almost as high as the London Eye . An impact assessment concluded the impact on Threapland village would have been “severe due to over dominance”.

Landscape watchdog Natural England also called for the scheme to be refused because it would have affected the Lake District National Park and the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Cumbria Tourism and Cumbria County Council also joined the call for the plans to be scrapped and Allerdale’s planning officer recommended refusal. Mr Swallow added: “BT have withdrawn because the site is just not viable.

“You can paint it as David and Goliath, but we have pushed and paid for our own expert’s views.

“The heartening thing is that when we first started this some people said there’s no point, we will never win. But planning law is there to regulate. Just because an application has the full weight of a billion dollar company behind it, does not mean it can circumnavigate planning law.”

A BT spokeswoman said there are currently no plans to lodge a revised scheme for the site.