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Site visit needed before voting on the Eastman wind turbine

A decision on controversial plans to erect a 303ft wind turbine to supply energy to Siddick’s Eastman Chemical plant was deferred after a feisty council meeting.

Protestor Anita Lowden, of St Helen’s Farm, walked out of the meeting at the Wave Centre, Maryport, while council development panel chairman Peter Bales warned the 29-strong audience: “Behave or else.”

Councillors voted to visit the site before making a decision during heated exchanges on Tuesday.

Eastman, which already has the area’s two largest turbines on its Siddick site, says the mast at Wythegill Syke would produce electricity to support its own energy needs.

The turbine, producing electricity for the equivalent of 1,200 homes, would help to maintain its competitiveness in the European market, improving the viability and sustainability of the plant.

Ms Lowden suggested that councillors should visit the site before making any decision, a move backed by councillors Joe Holliday and Carole Armstrong.

She added: “The turbines are not economical or practical.

“We do need to do our bit for the environment but Allerdale has done that. The rest of Britain should follow suit.”

Glenis Jones, of Barncroft Avenue, Seaton, said the beautiful Cumbrian landscape would be ruined if the plans were approved.

She added: “This turbine will spoil the wildlife that are trying to thrive here and it would have an impact on every residents’ lives.

“My health has started to be affected by this issue and the views will be ruined.”

But Councillor Martin Wood said: “You do know you don’t buy a view when you buy a property, don’t you?”

Speaking on behalf of Airvolution Energy, agent Ric Outhwaite said the turbines would help to bring £172,500 worth of funding to the area through grants.

He said: “Approving this application would be an excellent example of supporting local development. It is only a single turbine but it will make a big difference.”

Carol Tindall, of Maryport Town Council, was speaking as a Flimby resident.

She also backed the plans, and said: “Before I agreed to support this turbine I needed assurances.

“The turbines will be fitted with anti-flicker devices to help residents and Airvolution Energy has tried to make the turbine as green and unobtrusive as possible.”

Coun Holliday described Mr Outhwaite’s comment regarding funding being brought to the area as “nothing more than a bribe”.

He added: “We have been offered bribes and threats from the agent. How can we make a decision on these grounds?”

Villagers in Seaton and Flimby claim they are under siege from wind turbines, odour from the nearby sewage works and industrial development.

The application has received more than 80 letters in support with reasons ranging from the local benefits it will bring to the need to tackle climate change.

But more than 200 people have objected to the scheme, including a 145-name petition, and Seaton Parish Council has objected on the grounds of visual impact.

There were no objections from the Ministry of Defence, Natural England, Cumbria Wildlife Trust or the Ramblers’ Association.

Airvolution Energy said it will secure the ongoing employment of the local workforce, income from business rates, jobs for local people through contracts for local businesses as well as an associated Community Benefit Fund.

The fund will provide annual payments of £3,000 per megawatt of installed capacity and said over the lifetime of the project it would raise more than £100,000 for local projects and causes.

The fund would be available to support local initiatives in communities such as Seaton, Siddick, Flimby and Northside.