- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Windfarm fear for village near Penrith

Anti-windfarm campaigners have seen their fears realised after a wind monitoring mast was erected near a Cumbrian village.

Opponents of the Reagill windfarm, south of Penrith, had hoped to put a block on the plans for the 11-turbines scheme and say that some local farmers had agreed not to release their land for use by wind energy developers.

Now, however, a monitoring mast has been erected at the site, usually a precursor to a full application going in, suggesting that windfarm developers could still intend pressing ahead.

Jennifer Beasley, who owns the Cat Nap Cattery nearby, has opposed the plans in the past. She said: “People don’t want this round here, it’s as simple as that.

“Whether this developer will come along and offer greater incentives to get farmers back I don’t know, but we hope they will stay on our side. One of them refused, and the mast is in his field.

“We were all grateful to the farmers who came onto our side and decided this wasn’t something that was in their interests. At the moment, trying to tell what’s going to happen is like looking into a crystal ball.”

Last year Mrs Beasley organised her own protest against the windfarm, driving around neighbouring villages, playing a CD of the sound of a problematic windfarm in Lincolnshire and floating helium-filled balloons to heights topping 400ft to show the towering height of the turbines.

She had planned to expand her cattery to create the area’s first cat quarantine centre but abandoned her plans when the energy scheme was unveiled.

But she says the intervention of a local MP could be more effective in preventing windfarm applications.

She said: “If our MPs and councils led the charge within parliament to lift the subsidies approved by the previous government for windfarms, if they took them away this would all fall flat on its face.

“It’s time to put pressure on our local MPs to act on this. Without those subsidies I’d bet these developers wouldn’t bother, and the money could be used to help prop up the economy.”

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart has responded to Mrs Beasley’s concerns, saying he opposes onshore windfarms, but said he could not spare the time to support ‘solitary causes’. He has, however, offered to visit the site to help highlight the issue.