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Give people more power to fight windfarm plans, urges Cumbrian MP

Workington MP Tony Cunningham has called for more power to be given to local residents to fight against wind turbine developments in west Cumbria.

Mr Cunningham was speaking yesterday at an inquiry into the proposed development of three 350ft-high turbines at Warwick Hall Farm at Westnewton.

The inquiry, held at the Oval Centre in Salterbeck, Workington, was called after energy company Broadview Energy Developments appealed against Allerdale council’s decision to reject the scheme in June.

Mr Cunningham said west Cumbria had its fair share of wind turbines.

He said: “I represent the people of this area and I hope they can have increased powers to fight this kind of thing in the future.

“We have got to ask local people what they want and they have already said; ‘enough is enough’, and that they don’t want any more turbines.

“If you drive across west Cumbria all you can see is wind turbines which are adversely affecting individuals, tourism and the environment.

“These turbines will have a serious impact on the unique environment we have here and we have reached a tipping point.”

Mr Cunningham also said that the turbines would have a serious impact on the tourism industry in the area.

David Hardy, representing Broadview, said that the turbines were needed so the north west could contribute to its share of renewable energy.

The inquiry also heard from Bothel resident Ron Williams who presented a DVD and report on the problems he had suffered with shadow flicker and noise from the Wharrels Hill development near his home.

However, Mr Hardy said that it could not be proved that the problems Mr Williams had experienced would affect people the same way if turbines were built at Westnewton.

He said: “There are a number of factors that need to co-incide with each other before shadow flicker even becomes an issue and at different places you are going to get different effects.

“The problems experienced by Mr Williams only happen at certain times of the year and are very specific to himself and I have to ask whether you are going to get that in other villages.

“If, after construction, we see that shadow flicker becomes a problem we have the technology to turn the turbines off.

“We accept there are issues that have been put forward with regard to the turbines at Bothel but I don’t think many of them will be relevant to Westnewton and should not be used as a reason for refusal.”

Westnewton resident Andrew Sumner also spoke out against the turbines and said that it would encourage other windfarm developments in the area, reduce the value of houses in the area and lead to a reduction in the quality of life for residents in the village.

He added: “We don’t wish to see Westnewton as one of those communities destroyed by turbines.”

The inquiry, which is expected to finish on Tuesday, continues.