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West Cumbrian fishermen claim victory over offshore turbines  

Credit:  Times & Star, www.timesandstar.co.uk 31 March 2011 ~~

Maryport fishermen are claiming a crucial victory in their battle to save traditional fishing grounds around the Solway Firth.

The Scottish Government has revealed that it has dropped plans for any more Solway wind turbines.

The move follows extensive consultation in Scotland and a consultation meeting involving fishermen in Maryport earlier this year.

It rules out offshore wind farm sites suggested previously in Scottish waters of the Solway Firth, Wigtown Bay and Kintyre because of adverse environmental and economic impacts.

In a further boost to the fishing fleet, E.on confirmed yesterday that it would not appeal against the Scottish Government decision which has put a stop to the company’s proposal for a 300-megawatt wind farm near the existing Robin Rigg turbines opposite Maryport.

A company spokesman said that E.on would not be looking at any more sites on either the Scottish or English side of the Solway in the foreseeable future.

It is a huge victory for beleaguered West Cumbrian fishermen whose grounds have already shrunk because of a fishing exclusion zone around Robin Rigg.

John McAvoy, spokesman for the Maryport Fishing Co-operative, said: “This is very good news.

“It means a lot to the fishing industry and means some revenue for Maryport fishermen.”

Ron Graham, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation’s North West region, said: “It is bound to be welcomed by fishermen around West Cumbria and especially Maryport.

“Many of the Maryport vessels fish in the area that would be affected by the wind farms.”

Maryport fisherman James Mitchell said the decision would not only help to save the industry but would reduce the potential for fatal accidents, with boats coming up against wind farm platforms and underwater cables.

The UK Government has indicated that, while it has no current plans for wind farms in the Solway, it remains committed to offshore wind farms around the coast as part of its drive to find new energy sources.

l The region from Silloth to Ravenglass has been chosen as one of six areas around the UK to qualify for £3.9 million of European funding to boost the fishing industry and the communities it supports.

Source:  Times & Star, www.timesandstar.co.uk 31 March 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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