Allerdale campaigners to fight on despite wind turbines ‘shock’
Credit: By Sarah Newstead, The Cumberland News, www.cumberlandnews.co.uk 18 February 2011 ~~
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Campaigners in north Allerdale say they will continue to fight future windfarm proposals in the wake of a decision to allow three turbines to be built near Aspatria.
Objectors to Broadview Energy Ltd’s bid to build three 305ft turbines near the village of Westnewton said they were “shocked” over the planning inspector’s decision to approve the scheme.
John Ryden, former chairman of Westnewton parish council, says he resigned following the blow earlier this month.
He said: “We talk about localism, but it’s nonsense. Local politics is a waste of time if you can’t object to something that has a major impact on local people.”
Allerdale council initially refused the scheme in 2008, but Broadview appealed. People spent three years fighting the plans and 1,850 letters of objection were lodged.
Objections included concern about shadow flicker, noise, the effect on wildlife and the visual impact on the Solway Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Lake District National Park.
Cumbria County Council and Aspatria town council also objected to the scheme and MP Tony Cunningham spoke in support of local people at the planning inquiry held last December.
Mr Ryden added: “We’ve certainly talked about leaving the village – we’ve all been shocked.”
Campaigners against a slew of recent applications to build onshore windfarms in the area have banded together. They hope to raise cash to pay for their own experts to support their fight.
Member of the group, Colin Robinson, said: “The decision at Westnewton owes less to renewable energy and more to satisfying EU quotas for the tens of thousands of onshore wind turbines which are demanded of us, combined with the huge subsidies which are available both to entrepreneurial energy companies and landowners.
“This group will continue to oppose the avalanche of applications which are targeting this region and is as committed as ever to fighting greed not green.”
It was also revealed this week that Allerdale forked out more than £52,000 at public inquiries in their bid to try and stop the Westnewton windfarm and one proposed by Renewable Energy Systems UK for Tallentire, near Cockermouth.
Allerdale’s strategic manager for business, Jill Elliott, said that the council was “extremely disappointed” by the outcome of the inquiries.
“The council used an experienced barrister and recognised experts to present its case,” she added. “Despite all efforts to minimise the costs it still cost the council a total of £52,715.
“It is a major regret that this whole process has cost the council so much but we felt it was important we took a stand.
“It highlights the difficult position councils face.”
Broadview Energy Ltd said the Westnewton project was expected to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 3,500 households.
The firm intends to set up a community fund worth between £12,000 and £18,000 per year to support projects within the community.
Tom Cosgrove, project manager at Broadview Energy, said: “We believe this to be a good project in a good location and we are glad that a government inspector has recognised this and granted planning permission.”
He added that construction would begin as soon as possible.
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