August 27, 2011

Hundreds object to turbines proposal

By Julian Whittle, The Cumberland News, 26 August 2011

More than 500 people have objected to fresh plans for wind turbines on the edge of Cumwhinton.

Bolsterstone Innovative Energy’s original proposals for three 377ft-high turbines, at Newlands Farm near junction 42 of the M6, were thrown out last year following a public inquiry.

Now the renewable energy company has tabled two more planning applications.

One is for a single turbine, the other for two, each 328ft high.

Carlisle City Council has so far received 555 comments on the application for one turbine and 485 on that for two.

Only five are letters of support.

The objectors include Carlisle MP John Stevenson, who claims the turbines would be too close to homes.

He said: “Of course there is a legitimate argument for renewable energy. However, I do not think that it is necessary for renewable energy schemes to be constructed near to houses or villages.

“Cumbria has large expanses of isolated land which would, in my opinion, provide better sites for wind turbines compared to a site within close proximity to a village.”

Two of Cumwhinton’s newest residents, retired couple Richard and Maggie Cleave, were shocked to find their newly-purchased house is only 600 yards from the proposed turbines.

They only moved in this summer.

Mrs Cleave, 54, said: “We thought we’d found our ideal retirement home. We love the village and we like Carlisle.

“Our surveyor mentioned there had been a planning application for three turbines but we found the inspector’s decision and thought that was it.

“I think Bolsterstone are trying to break down the will of local people. The village had to raise £25,000 to fight the last application and now we may have to do it all again.”

She added: “There is evidence that sleep disturbance and shadow flicker from turbines can cause mental health problems.”

Bolsterstone’s first planning application was refused in 2008.

The city council argued that the turbines would be “seriously detrimental” to the landscape.

The company appealed, triggering a public inquiry chaired by planning inspector Paul Griffiths.

He ruled that the turbines would be too close to Cringles Farm and Beech Cottage. Cringles is only 450 yards away.

Bolsterstone claims that its latest proposals are much less intrusive.

Meanwhile, another wind energy company is considering whether to appeal against refusal of planning permission for turbines at Hallburn Farm, east of Longtown.

City councillors decided last Friday to reject an application from REG Windpower for six 415ft-high turbines.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) argued that vibrations or ‘seismic noise’ from the turbines might hinder scientists at Eskdalemuir, 25 miles away, from monitoring nuclear tests around the world. That would prevent the UK from meeting its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

REG asked for a deferral so that it could challenge the MoD’s claims but councillors refused to wait.

Matt Olley, development manager for REG Windpower, said afterwards: “Naturally we are disappointed with the committee’s decision. We firmly believe this is an excellent site for generating a significant quantity of safe, clean, renewable energy. We will now consider our options regarding the next steps for the project.”

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