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‘We have won turbine battle but still need to fight a war’

Flimby residents are celebrating after plans for a 303ft turbine nearby were thrown out by Allerdale council, but said they believed the fight against it was far from over.

Anita Lowden, of St Helen’s Farm, spoke out against the plan from Airvolution Energy for the turbine at Wythegill Syke, which would produce energy for the nearby Eastman Chemicals plant.

She said that even though the plan was refused by Allerdale council’s development panel, she believed the energy company would appeal.

She said: “We have won the battle but there is still a war to fight. I don’t think they would have put all this work in if they were not going to appeal.

“I am not against green energy, but these companies think they just have some god given right to put them up against our unbroken skyline.

“If another had been accepted it wouldn’t have stopped and would have continued all the way down the skyline.”

Her brother Jason, 40, also of St Helen’s Farm said: “The councillors backed up what we said about it being an eyesore and if the company had got this they could have done what they wanted.”

At Tuesday’s meeting councillors rejected the plan because of the turbine’s visual impact on properties in Flimby and Seaton.

Council officers had recommended the plan for approval, because they said 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 energy needs.

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

The turbine would have led 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.

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

It was also sent 68 letters of support, with reasons ranging from the local benefits it would bring and the need to tackle climate change.

At the meeting Evelyn Varty, of St Helen’s Lane, Flimby, said she suffered from shadow flicker and noise from the two existing turbines.

Mrs Lowden said: “These turbines will have a detrimental impact. There will be a loss of value on our properties and less of an influx of visitors.”

Carol Tindall, of Flimby, who spoke out in favour of the plan, said: “There is no point spending thousands of pounds on appeals objecting to something that is going to be passed later on.”

But the development panel said that approval would set a precedent and turbines would become the dominant feature in the area.

Pete Roberts, site manager at Eastman Chemicals, said: “We are disappointed with the decision to refuse the plans.

“Energy is our second biggest cost on site and the turbine would have helped give us a stable price. We are seeing some of our competitors close because of these costs.

“Hopefully we can go to appeal over the plans but, if not, we will have to look to reduce costs elsewhere on site.

“We employ 175 people here all from the local community and have been based in Flimby for the last 42 years. We bring £10 million into the local economy every year and we want to continue doing that.”