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Furness windfarm supporters and opponents speak out  

Credit:  Gareth Jones, North-West Evening Mail, www.nwemail.co.uk 28 October 2011 ~~

Planning officials at Barrow Town Hall are wrestling with 10 separate applications for wind developments.

Since June, Barrow Borough Council has received applications for 15 wind turbines and one for an anemometer tower.

The council’s planning department is dealing with the applications separately.

The proposals are likely to face objections from campaigners who are dead set against a rush of turbines coming to Barrow.

Council planning officer Jason Hipkiss confirmed the authority was dealing with 10 separate applications for wind turbines.

He said consultations were being carried out as part of the process and the council hoped to be in a position soon to bring the applications to the planning committee.

Mr Hipkiss said: “Our next meeting is on November 15.

“It’s possible that we might get one or two of the smaller ones ready for that meeting, but we can’t promise anything at the moment.”

The Furness Windturbine Action Group is one of the groups which has been formed by residents who are concerned about the impact turbines could have on their lives and the area in general.

Alan Stoker, one of the founding members of the group, says people have to be aware of the potential effects of the applications, should they be accepted. He believes farmers are cashing in by allowing their land to be built on by energy companies, and that if these applications are accepted, it could set a precedent for hundreds of turbines to be built.

Mr Stoker says the campaign to raise awareness is progressing well.

He said: “A great deal of work is going on behind the scenes to understand the areas planners have for refusal.

“We are, however, gaining public awareness and will be working to lobby councillors and the planning department at the town hall to reject the applications.

“We are starting to gain pace in getting the small individual groups together to see how we can advance this situation.”

Councillor Ray Guselli organised a public meeting in Rampside on Monday to discuss the applications.

He said there was significant opposition against wind development.

He says the council needs to issue guidelines for officers and committee members to prevent Furness from becoming like Aberdeenshire, where there are applications for up to 850 wind turbines.

Cllr Guselli said: “While off-shore turbines were disliked, I think there was an appreciation that if they had to be accommodated, at sea was the best place.

“However, even that was not ideal.

“How can we expect cruise ships which we have encouraged to Barrow to negotiate or come into an area full of these wind turbines; they do nothing to enhance our promotion of the area as a tourist attraction, and even less so when they are on land.

“It was agreed that I write, on behalf of concerned residents, to councillors and the MP expressing their concerns.

“While it was understood the council has to work within a planning framework, Carmarthenshire County Council, for example, will not permit wind farms within 1,500m of a residential dwelling.

“Other councils have guidelines to afford some protection to inhabitants, their towns and countryside and it was hoped that Barrow too could adopt and provide similar protection for its residents.

“A previous turbine application for one to be built off Rampside Road was for one with a height of three quarters that of Blackpool Tower.

“While existing applications are for smaller turbines, once erected, subsequent applications can be for an increase in their size.”

Despite the opposition, environmental campaigners say Britain has no choice but to implement wind energy to cut carbon emissions.

Chris Rowley, chairman of South Lakeland Action on Climate Change, says there is an urgent need for alternative energy.

He said: “Many of the people that oppose wind energy do not recognise the urgency of the need.

“Just now, there isn’t an alternative in terms of moving forward.

“Many people are hopeful nuclear energy could be an alternative but it is unlikely to be the source that we need.

“In terms of how the turbines look, it’s very much down to the individual.

“There are significant numbers of people who actually like the sight of wind turbines.”

With the government having targets of cutting 1990s CO2 emission levels by 34 per cent, by 2020, and with few other viable options for renewable energy available, it is unlikely the amount of wind turbines both on land and at sea in Britain will decrease in the coming years.

Source:  Gareth Jones, North-West Evening Mail, www.nwemail.co.uk 28 October 2011

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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