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Resident anger over energy co-op’s windfarm tactics  

Credit:  North-west Evening Mail | 8 November 2012 | www.nwemail.co.uk ~~

Opponents of five giant wind turbines in Furness say the proposed windfarm would ruin their lives.

Residents living just a few hundred metres from the site of the planned 99.5m (326ft) structures criticised tactics used by energy companies in a bid to get their planning application approved.

A joint application for the 11.5MW wind farm was submitted to South Lakeland District Council and Barrow Borough Council by Infinergy and Baywind Energy Co-operative.

SLDC planners have acknowledged more than 300 letters of support – but residents near the site in Pennington say the majority have come from outside the South Lakes area.

The Evening Mail has also seen minutes from the latest Baywind AGM, which stressed the need to convince “friends and family” to show their support for the plans.

Residents in the nearest four properties to the site of the proposed windfarm fear their objections could be drowned out by the voices of people who will not be affected by the development.

Stephen Parr, of Ewedale Farm, said: “We are not NIMBYs – we live between two windfarms – but it is causing so much upset it’s unbelievable.”

He said one of his neighbours had been so distressed by the situation it had made her unwell and she had tried to sell her home.

John McMinn, of Standish Cote added: “We are fighting hundreds of people who don’t live anywhere near here.”

Annette Heslop, director of Baywind Energy, said she saw nothing wrong with asking local members to encourage their like-minded friends and family to show their support.

She added: “We only asked people to write who live closest to the wind farm.”

Councillor Ian McPherson, chairman of SLDC’s planning committee, said members could use their discretion in deciding how much weight to give people’s comments and that proximity to the proposed development is a relevant consideration.

SLDC planners acknowledged the benefits of the wind farm, which would provide enough power for 6,000 homes, but had recommended refusal saying this was outweighed by the impact upon neighbours.

The planning report says the “dominating” turbines would “exert a harmful influence on the living conditions currently enjoyed by neighbouring residents”.

The application was deferred at the request of Baywind to allow the applicants more time to consider the planning report.

Mrs Heslop said refusal of the plans could threaten Baywind’s future, placing some of its seven local jobs at risk. She said the company currently has no back-up plan should the application fail.

Source:  North-west Evening Mail | 8 November 2012 | www.nwemail.co.uk

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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