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Call to empower councillors with turbine plans training

Councillors should be given special training to learn how to deal with an increasing influx of wind turbine planning applications, an Ulverston politician has claimed.

Cllr Janette Jenkinson raised her concerns over the number of applications being submitted to South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee and also said turbines are spoiling the Furness Peninsula.

“My concerns are the cumulative effect these turbines are having on the area,” she told a planning committee meeting at Kendal Town Hall on Thursday.

“That’s why I think we should have some training on this issue. I can see the need in some cases for them, but I also want them to be right when they do go ahead.”

Members of the planning committee were asked to decide whether to allow a 34.2 metre wind turbine on land at Bolton Manor Farm near Little Urswick.

The application, which attracted objections from residents and recommendations for refusal by Urswick and Aldingham Parish Councils as well as SLDC planning officers, states the structure will generate more than half of the electricity needed by the dairy farm.

Cartmel Cllr Mary Wilson backed the call for extra training on how to decide which applications should succeed or fail.

She said: “I am also concerned about the cumulative effect of these turbines. When we visited the site of this proposal we could see other turbines scattered across the area.

“It’s becoming very problematic in the Furness Peninsula, which is uniquely beautiful and very different to anywhere else in this area, to maintain reasonable gaps between them.”

However, the proposal attracted some support from the committee before it was finally refused.

Broughton Cllr Joss Curwen told the committee: “I have never been a big lover of windfarms but I do like to see them go in and make benefits to the people who keep our countryside looking the way it should.”

New planning committee member Cllr David Ryder added: “The farmer has made a reasonable case on the impact and the need for it. I think it should be approved, especially as the dairy industry struggles so much to survive.”