Times & Star | 18 January 2013 | www.timesandstar.co.uk
An investigation has been launched to find out why the area covered by Allerdale council has as much as 62 per cent of Cumbria’s wind turbines.
The county at present has 102 onshore wind turbines, with another 18 being built.
Allerdale council received 110 applications for turbines in 2012.
A sub-group of Allerdale council’s scrutiny committee is now looking into the high number of applications and approvals after councillor Bill Finlay questioned the amount.
At its first meeting last Friday, Coun Finlay, who represents Aspatria, said that while he was not against renewable energy or wind turbines, they had to be erected in the right areas.
He said: “There is a great discrepancy in the amount of turbines in Allerdale compared to other districts and the figures are quite stark.”
Coun Finlay is supported by anti-wind farm group Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment, which now has more than 700 members.
The group has been invited to speak at the committee’s next meeting.
Marion Fitzgerald, chairman of the friends, said: “The group feels that this is a necessary review because turbine applications are very much at the forefront of people’s minds.
“Over the past year we have had 110 applications in Allerdale and because turbines cannot be put in the area of outstanding natural beauty or the national park, the turbines are funnelled into the space in between.
“We want to help individuals and similar groups fight these applications that come in and hopefully we will continue to gain momentum.”
The council wants to gather data on turbine applications, refusals and appeals and ask the county’s other planning authorities to do the same. It is expected that it would take less time for other planning authorities to do this as there were fewer turbines in their areas.
Investigations will then look at how many turbine applications required environmental impact assessments and whether previous applications included turbines that did not produce as much energy as they could have.
Coun Finlay said: “We shouldn’t have these industrial machines if we are not getting the full benefit of them.”
It is estimated that it will take around four weeks for the information to be collected and another four weeks for analysis.
It is hoped that a report will go before the full Allerdale council in May.
County council leader Eddie Martin, who represents Dearham, has backed the investigation.
He said: “I hope this report will be hard hitting, as robust questions need to be asked.
“Allerdale is suffering in accepting these influx of wind turbines over the last three to four years and it has got to the point where the environment is adversely affected by them so it has to stop.
“This is despite local opposition against having these wretched things imposed on us and now we have a cumulative affect of them which is doing nothing to enhance the environment.”
Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham said: “It is extremely good that this investigation has started, but we need to get the policy right to prevent the proliferation of wind farms across Allerdale.
“Far too many decisions have gone against the council, and having this investigation is positive as it is such an important issue to so many people.”
Alan Keighley, a member of the Westnewton Action Group, which fought against turbines being built near the village, said: “The number of applications being put in for wind turbines is getting beyond a joke.
“There seems to be a lot of single turbine applications now which could flood the countryside landscape.
“This investigation is vitally important for ourselves as a group as well as for so many other people.”
URL to article: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/01/18/have-your-say-why-are-we-getting-more-than-our-share-of-countys-turbines/