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Plan for wind turbine at Furness landfill site sparks toxic waste worries

Plans to build one of the county’s tallest wind turbines near Dalton have raised fears that toxic waste could be disturbed at the site.

The proposed project would see a landfill site at Bennett Bank, Thwaite Flat, being used to house the 90m tall turbine – which would be one of the tallest onshore wind turbines in Cumbria.

The tip was a major dumping ground for medical waste such as arsenic, mercury and asbestos.

FCC Environment, which is looking to build the turbine, says it would produce enough low carbon electricity to power the equivalent of around 300 homes.

Dalton resident Peter Leach says such substances will not be buried far from the surface and could be disturbed by building on the site.

Mr Leach, of Skelgate, said: “There is asbestos there and it was licensed to take clinical waste. Asbestos is a dangerous substance and that and other waste is buried not far from the surface.

“It depends on where the turbine is being sited but it is going to be sat on top of rotting methane. It will be a blot on the landscape. I think they are all unsightly and we will look back in 100 years and think what a folly it was to put them up.

“They are not efficient and it’s just people profiting from government grants.”

Councillor Anthony Bowe said he hoped the people of Dalton would voice their concerns over the plans.

He said: “It hasn’t come up for planning permission as yet. I am led to believe the proposed wind turbine will be 90 metres in height.”

Cllr Bowe went on to add: “Basically, the site was a toxic tip for many years and there is a lot of toxic waste that is buried not too far from the surface. Obviously, it depends where they are digging but there is the risk it will be disturbed. I also wonder what is going to happen to the 100,000 seagulls that feed there?”

Stuart Markham, project development manager at FCC Environment, said: “In preparing our proposals for a single FIT turbine at our Bennett Bank site, a range of rigorous technical and environmental assessments is being undertaken.

“As an environmentally aware company, we believe it is important for us to look at ways we can use our landholding to help generate renewable and sustainable energy in the UK.

“The proposed turbine at the Bennett Bank site would enable us to generate our own electricity for use in powering onsite operations, with excess being available for distribution via the local grid.”