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Controversial Ulverston wind farm given go ahead by Barrow planners, but future remains unclear  

Credit:  By Tom Murphy, Reporter | The Westmorland Gazette | 21st May 2013 | www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk ~~

A hotly-contested plan to ‘re-power’ a five-turbine wind farm near Ulverston has been given full support by Barrow planners.

However, three of the turbines fall within South Lakeland District Council jurisdiction, who narrowly rejected the plan earlier this year.

It means developers will have to successfully appeal SLDC’s decision before being given the green light.

The plans, which would see the removal of five existing 53-metre-high turbines replaced by ones nearly twice that size, were unanimously approved at a packed meeting of Barrow Borough Council planners this afternoon.

The community co-operative which runs Furness Windfarms hope that the new modern turbines, on Harlock Hill, between Marton and Pennington, would replace the ageing structures to produce more electricity.

It is thought the 99-metre-tall wind turbines would provide enough power for around 6,000 households a year.

Two of the new turbines would be operated by Baywind Energy Co-operative Ltd and three by Infinergy – though only one application was submitted.

More than 300 letters of support were received for the project while 50 letters of objection were lodged.

Speaking in favour of the development, Chris Dodwell, of Ulverston’s GlaxoSmithKline plant, explained how buying electricity from a local windfarm would help the pharmaceutical company achieve its ambition of a zero carbon footprint by 2050.

Mother Tammy Calvert said the plans ‘make sense’ for the future. “My children love the wind turbines, my girl understands where electricity comes from and says ‘hello’ to them when we drive past,” she said.

“I don’t want my children to grow up in the dark.”

Mr Shaw, who lives in Ulverston, said: “If we as a generation don’t act then the next generation may have to make even tougher decision.”

However a number of residents, ‘living in the shadow’ of the current wind farm, also spoke out against the development.

John McMinn, who has lived nearby for 15 years, said: “When we were looking to buy a house we wanted something peaceful but now we face the possibility of another 25 years with closer, bigger and noisier turbines.

“It would destroy our view of the land.”

Steven Benson, of Horace Farm, labelled the development ‘monstrous’.

“I am the third generation of my family living here and I take great pride in being a custodian of the countryside.”

David Bone, who has lived on Harlock Farm for 27 years, raised concerns about the applicant’s motives.

“This is a business opportunity, not a philanthropic exercise to save the land or be greener.”

Speaking after the meeting, Baywind Chairman David Eastlick described the decision as a ‘relief’.

“Our wind farm has a few years left in it but if it isn’t repowered it will spell the end of Baywind,” he said.

“Today Barrow Borough Councillors have said yes to local investment and local jobs by helping to ensure the continuation of our successful wind farm that has been bringing benefits to the area for 16 years.”

Infinergy’s Senior Project Manager Matt Russell added: “Furness Wind Farm will bring many tangible benefits to the area including educational opportunities for local schools and Furness College.”

Mr McMinn said he was ‘disappointed’ with the decision. “I don’t think the councillors knew what was going on,” he added.

A Furness Windfarm spokeswoman said they are set to appeal SLDC’s refusal.

Source:  By Tom Murphy, Reporter | The Westmorland Gazette | 21st May 2013 | www.thewestmorlandgazette.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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