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Allerdale is the turbines hotspot, report shows

Almost half of the wind turbine planning applications lodged in Cumbria last year were submitted in the Allerdale council area, an investigation by the district council has revealed.

The study, by Allerdale council’s scrutiny sub-committee, revealed that 74 wind development applications were submitted to six of Cumbria’s nine local authorities in 2012.

Thirty six of those, or 49 per cent, were lodged with Allerdale council.

The council launched the study in January after Councillor Bill Finlay questioned the high proportion of wind farms in the district.

It contains information from Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle and Eden councils, the county council and the Lake District National Park Authority.

Since 2007 there have been 218 wind developments across the area with 94 of them – 43 per cent – in Allerdale.

The number of plans being submitted in Allerdale has increased six-fold since 2008, when six were lodged compared to 36 in 2012.

Copeland, meanwhile, has had only 39 applications since 2007, just 18 per cent of the total for the six authorities.

There have been 16 applications in the national park since 2007.

The number of applications decided by councillors on Allerdale’s development panel has increased over the years.

In 2011 only four of the 28 applications were determined by councillors, while last year three quarters went before the panel and only six were decided by planning officers.

Countywide, the number of applications decided by councillors has risen from 38 per cent in 2009 to 77 per cent in 2012.

Allerdale has 51 operational wind farms, according to figures from Renewable UK.

In 2011 – the latest figures in the Allerdale report – there were six small-scale/micro wind turbine developments in the national park, including one within the Allerdale area.

South Lakeland council was unable to contribute to the study because of staffing and Barrow council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority did not respond.

The inquiry is expected to conclude in September with a report submitted to full council.

The report will be discussed at a meeting at the Wave Centre, Maryport, next Friday.