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Turbine noise could drive Cumbrian prisoners ‘crazy’

Prisoners could be driven “crazy” by the noise from a proposed windfarm resulting in a riot, it was claimed at a planning meeting.

Councillors voted nine to one against five wind turbines of up to 120.5m high at HMP Haverigg.

Copeland council planning committee said it was minded to refuse the application submitted by Partnership for Renewables.

The 25-year operation would be constructed on land belonging to the prison off North Lane, on a former airfield adjacent to an existing windfarm.

Reasons against included the visual impact of the additional turbines as well as the height which is almost double of those already installed in the area. Both councillors and residents raised concerns for the welfare of prisoners due to the noise.

Peter Unsworth, of North Lane, Haverigg, said he was concerned about the welfare of the prisoners in regards to noise and the fact they were not consulted.

He told the meeting at Copeland Centre, Whitehaven, it could drive them “crazy” and result in a riot.

Mr Unsworth said: “The prisoners themselves were not asked and they are residents too.

“They won’t be able to sleep because of the noise. It would drive anyone crazy and it could end up in a riot.”

A Partnerships for Renewables spokesman said: “We don’t ask how it will affect the prisoners because they will directly benefit from having the turbines there.”

Councillor John Jackson said: “The prisoners have as much right to sleep as anyone else. I have to agree that it could cause a lot of trouble if they are not going to get a good night’s sleep.

“I couldn’t believe it when Partnerships for Renewables said the prisoners would not be taken into account because of the benefits it would receive.

“They are still human beings for goodness sake.”

During its consultation it received 93 letters of objection from Haverigg residents, as well as from Millom town council and Friends of the Lake District.

Planning officer John Groves has recommended the application for approval subject to a section 106 agreement including a financial contribution to Cumbria County Council for right of way disturbance, building surveys and provision of an area set aside for ornithological enhancement.

In a statement he said: “That delegated authority be granted to the head of Strategic Nuclear, Energy, and Planning to approve the application subject to no further adverse comments being received as a result of consultation with Natural England and the RSPB.”

A final decision will be made next month.