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150 object to bid for 415ft-high turbines

More than 150 people have objected against plans for a wind farm at Solway Moss, between Gretna and Longtown.

And the campaigners are likely to be joined by Cumbria County Council, which is expected to lodge a formal objection when its development control committee meets today.

Energy firm EDF Renewables wants to erect nine turbines at Black Burn Peat Works immediately north of the A6071 Gretna-Longtown road.

It would be among the tallest windfarms in the country with turbines standing 415ft to the blade tip – three times the height of Carlisle Civic Centre and only 100ft shy of Blackpool Tower.

Carlisle City Council will decide the planning application at a date to be set.

Cumbria County Council has to be consulted. Philip Feehily, the assistant director – planning and sustainability, is recommending that councillors object.

His report says: “There is insufficient evidence to determine if significant adverse affect would arise to highway safety, the landscape setting of the Solway Coast AONB and the registered battlefield of Solway Moss.”

His report says that, added to wind turbines either operating or approved in Scotland, the “cumulative landscape and visual effects would be unacceptable”.

It adds: “Wind turbines would form a recurring large-scale feature in the back drop to the [Solway Coast] area of outstanding natural beauty.

“They would reduce the sense of wilderness and tranquility associated with the views across the estuary towards the Scottish foothills.”

The report also raises concerns about construction traffic, particularly heavy lorries passing through Longtown.

Mr Feehily concludes: “In addition, significant harm could arise to protected bird species. As such the proposal could cause unacceptable harm. An objection should be raised on these grounds.”

The city council has so far received 109 letters or emails in support of the scheme and 155 plus a petition against.

EDF says the turbines would generate 18 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply 10,000 homes. Twenty jobs would be created during construction and the company pledged to donate up to £450,000 to community projects over the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm.