The Furness landscape could be “blighted” by scores of wind turbines as farmers are given cash payments to allow developers to build on their land, it has been claimed.
A number of farmers have been approached by windfarm development companies looking to install the machines on their land.
Some have been offered payments in excess of £30,000 in return for allowing turbines – some of which will be taller than Barrow Town Hall – to be erected in their fields.
The area has been targeted because of strong wind speeds and close proximity to underground power cables.
John Hornby lives at Bowesfield Farm in Stank, and has submitted a planning application to build two turbines on his land; one at the farm and one at Dalton Road, Askam.
The turbines would stand at 54.5 metres, the same size as those at Haverigg, which are clearly visible from Barrow and Walney.
The dairy farmer, whose annual electricity bill reaches £8,000, said: “I got a visit from an Irish company who said they’d like to install turbines on my land and was I interested.
“We’re trying to reduce our carbon footprint. The development will cost about £250,000, which is covered by the company in return for us allowing them to use our land and we get cheaper electricity.
“From what I’ve heard there are going to be a lot more round here, a lot of people want to take advantage.”
Another Stank farmer, John Cooper, has also submitted an application to install two smaller turbines, which will have a total height of 18 metres.
Four further applications in the area have been submitted; to build one 25-metre turbine at Billincote Farm, Long Lane, near Dalton, two 15-metre turbines at Barrow House Farm at Newton, a 54.5 metre turbine at Newholme Farm, Rampside, and a 15-metre turbine at Lindal Cote Farm.
The total combined electricity that would be generated by all seven developments would be enough to power around 400 homes a year.
The 30-turbine Ormonde offshore windfarm, 10km off the coast of Walney, will provide enough power for 100,000 homes.
Residents from across Furness are concerned their view may be impeded by the towering structures.
Tony Smith lives at Newton Road, Stank, about 500 yards from the proposed Bowesfield Farm development. Mr Smith said: “The turbines will loom over the village. I have concerns about the noise, increased traffic during construction and also there have been problems with subsidence in the area.”
Alan Stoker, owner of Furness Park cars, lives at South Lodge near Furness Abbey.
He said: “Furness Abbey is a wonderful area and this monstrosity will be in full view and will blight the landscape.
“Planning permission has been granted for over 130 turbines offshore, why do we need a few onshore to blot the landscape?”
Others who have vowed to object to the plans include Parkhouse Farm owner Russell Beck, Barry Bray of Parkhouse Court and Sandra Allonby, who lives at Newholme Farm in Stank, next to Bowesfield Farm.
Members of Dalton Town Council have unanimously objected to the proposals they have been consulted on, and quoted one family who live near a farm at Askam who said the turbine was like an audio form of Chinese water torture.
The council said if Mr Hornby’s 54.5-metre turbine was installed at Stank, the combined height of the turbine and the elevation of the land would be higher than the Devonshire Dock Hall.
A supporting statement from the company behind the Newholme Farm application, Cheshire-based CMS UK, suggests the visual impact of the 54.5-metre turbine would be mitigated by nearby hedgerows.
All applications are due to be heard by Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee next month.
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