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Lancashire wind turbine plans given go-ahead

Plans for two wind turbines off the Lancashire coast which may threaten the lives of pink-footed geese have been given the go-ahead by the High Court.

The proposed turbines will be located about 5km (3.1m) from Morecambe Bay where a special protection area hosts birds, including pink-footed geese.

Local residents of Eagland Hill tried to challenge the legality of the plans.

But the judge, sitting in Manchester, rejected all their grounds for challenge.

The proposed turbines would stand 80m (262ft) high at the hub, with a blade tip height of 125m (410ft).

‘Procedural unfairness’

The geese commute inland for up to 10km (6.2m) from their roosting sites on the north-west coast to feed on grain and winter cereal crops near the site on which they are due to be built.

The judge heard that all sides in the case agreed that there was a risk that up to 50 geese a year would collide with the turbines.

The developers, Cornwall Light and Power Company Ltd, were eventually given the go-ahead by a planning inspector after agreeing to provide compensatory feeding grounds for the geese.

The anti-turbine Eagland Hill Action Group (EHAG) fought a last-ditch High Court bid to block the scheme, arguing the inspector, David Pinner, erred in law by failing to reconsider whether an environmental impact assessment was necessary, and failing to conduct an appropriate assessment under EU wild birds and habitats directives.

However, this was rejected by Judge Pelling QC.

The group had also argued there was procedural unfairness because the group had not been invited to take part in the discussion on the compensation proposals for the geese.