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Copeland council welcomes government decision to reject windfarm appeal

Copeland council has welcomed the Government’s decision to dismiss a windfarm appeal saying it signalled a shift in policy towards onshore turbines.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government agreed with the planning inspectorate over its recommendation against the £17 million Weddicar Rigg windfarm, near Whitehaven.

The proposed six-turbine scheme, by Banks Renewables, had received more than 600 objections, and councillors voted against their own officers’ recommendation for approval, saying the negative visual impact of the 377ft turbines was more important than the policy on renewable energy.

Copeland called on a landscape architect, Derek Woolerton, in support of its case. He said the Weddicar moorland was of a scarce type, of county importance and that the cumulative effect of turbines in that area would be unacceptable.

The Secretary for State announced that it agreed and was dismissing the appeal, together with an appeal for costs against the council.

John Groves, Copeland council’s head of nuclear, energy and planning, said they welcomed the decision.

“It clearly reflects the considerable effort to ensure that a robust case was put forward, in support of the views of councillors and the communities which they represent,” he said.

“It is clear that there has been a shift in the Government’s planning policy position in relation to in-land wind turbines, and this is reflected in the Secretary of State’s decision and the reasoning behind this decision.

“The changes in national policy would clearly be taken into account if a similar application were to be considered today.”

Banks Renewables is now reviewing the reasons behind the decision before deciding its next steps.

They argued that the turbines would not cause any properties to become an unattractive place to live.

The firm added that the windfarm would supply electricity to more than 9,500 homes and create up to 30 jobs.