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West Cumbrian fishermen say more off-shore wind turbines will destroy livelihoods  

Credit:  Times & Star, www.timesandstar.co.uk 25 February 2011 ~~

West Cumbrian fishermen say their livelihoods will be destroyed if any more wind turbines are built in the Solway Firth.

The Scottish Government held a public meeting in Maryport on Friday to seek English opinion.

It has identified the Solway Firth as a potential site for more wind farms.

However, members of the consultation team, Marine Scotland, admitted that they had consulted 550 people but found nobody on either side of the border who supported more offshore turbines.

Around 30 people, mainly fishermen, attended Friday’s consultation at The Wave Centre, the first meeting of its kind.

Fishermen said that the Robin Rigg turbines off Maryport were already causing problems for their industry. Turbine foundations, cables and moving sandbanks were making navigation difficult and disturbing fish.

Ron Graham, chairman of the North West Region of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation, said there was to be an announcement soon of £3.9m of European funding to shore up the fishing industry between Silloth and Ravenglass.

But he added: “Any more turbines would devastate the industry and we would have no need of that money.”

James Mitchell, who fishes out of Maryport, said that any more turbines in the south west of Scotland would amount to “a two-finger salute to Cumbria by the Scottish Government.”

He added: “The Scottish residents near the wind farms will not benefit. The profits from the power will go to Europe. Our fishing will be destroyed. The Solway is already so congested.

“There are sandbanks, foundations from the Robin Rigg turbines and cables and shifting sands since the turbines were built.”

Janet Morgan, who has an oyster farm near Allonby, said that every day there were changes in the sands and her business would be destroyed by further development.

Fishermen said that prawn grounds were already affected and added that development further down the cost was squeezing them into a small patch that would not sustain their industry.

The Scottish Government is looking at the potential for 1,000 new turbines around the country’s coast, including more towards the Maryport end of the Robin Rigg wind farm.

Plans will be published on March 18, when the Scottish Government will decide which developers it will work with and on which sites.

Mr Graham urged Marine Scotland to send a strong message to the Scottish Government that no more turbines should be built in the Solway until the long-term effects of Robin Rigg have been ascertained.

Dr Fiona Simpson and Paul Alcock, of Marine Scotland, said it would be made clear to Scottish politicians that there was no support for turbines off the south west Scotland coast, towards Cumbria. Dr Simpson added that while there were technical problems for development on the eastern coast of Scotland, there was not the same blanket disapproval as in the south west.

Source:  Times & Star, www.timesandstar.co.uk 25 February 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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