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Controversial West Cumbrian turbine plan rejected  

Credit:  Times & Star, www.timesandstar.co.uk 13 December 2011 ~~

Plans to build a 303ft wind turbine in Seaton have been rejected.

Airvolution Energy wanted to build the turbine at Wythegill Syke for Siddick’s Eastman Chemical plant, to help keep the firm competitive in the European market.

At a meeting of Allerdale council’s development panel today, members rejected the plans because of the turbine’s visual impact on properties on Barncroft Avenue in Seaton, Moorhouse Guards at High Seaton and at St Helens Lane in Flimby.

Officers had recommended the plan for approval, because its benefits outweighed the harm.

Eastman, which already has the area’s two largest turbines on its site, said the turbine 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, which would improve the viability and sustainability of the plant.

The turbine would lead to an annual community income of £6,900.

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 including Seaton, Siddick, Flimby and Northside.

More than 800 people signed two petitions against the scheme and the council received 30 letters of objection.

It was also sent 130 letters of support, with reasons ranging from the local benefits it would bring and the need to tackle climate change.

Evelyn Varty, of St Helen’s Lane, said she suffered from shadow flicker and noise from the two existing turbines and believed more would follow.

Anita Lowden, of St Helen’s Farm said: “These turbines will have a detrimental impact on Seaton and the surrounding areas.
“There will be a loss of value on our properties and less of an influx of visitors into the village.”

Seaton Parish Council recommended refusal of the plans of the grounds of visual impact.

Kate Birkett, speaking on the council’s behalf, said: “There has been no meeting of a parish council where there has been so much public objection to one plan.
“The quality of life of the residents will be impaired by further development.

“None of us want to see this development and ourselves and the surrounding areas feel very strongly about it.”

Ric Outhwaite, agent for Airvolution Energy, said that because of the landscape the wind turbine would only be 31ft higher than the current turbines at Eastman.

He added that there were no objections from statuary bodies which was unusual for wind turbine applications, Airvolution Energy needed to support local businesses and that renewable energy targets had to be met.

He said: “We have got to be seen to be contributing to the government’s renewable energy targets.

“The turbine would provide electricity to a long established local employer of 175 people and 90 per cent of them live within five miles of the site.

“Significant weight needs to be given to the benefits of this scheme which will safeguard the employment of local people and keep Eastman in a competitive position.

“It is a balancing process we have to go through. We know there will be an affect but you have to balance that against the national policy of producing renewable energy and see if it is acceptable.

“We will have adequate control over noise nuisance and the turbines can be switched off for a limited period of time if it proves to be a nuisance in terms of shadow flicker or noise.

“The harmful impacts are outweighed by the benefits.”

Carol Tindall, of Flimby, spoke out in favour of the plans.

She said: “When I was looking through the plans I couldn’t find anything in my mind that make it worth rejecting. There is no point spending thousands of pounds on appeals objecting to something that is going to be passed later on.”

However, the development panel believed approving the turbine application would set a precedent and turbines would become the dominant feature in the area.

Coun Jim Lister said: “If it is accepted it will set a precedent and they will end up surrounding the whole area.”

The plan was rejected by nine votes to three.

Source:  Times & Star, www.timesandstar.co.uk 13 December 2011

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

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