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Fears voiced over wind turbines near Sellafield

Safety and security concerns have been raised about two large wind turbines planned close to the Sellafield site.

Airvolution Energy Limited has applied for the two 110m-high turbines – said to be among the tallest in the county – on land at Church House Farm, Calderbridge, at around 500m from the site’s perimeter.

Ponsonby Parish Council has “strongly objected” claiming that fragments could break off and impact the nuclear site. Members also feel that the top of the turbine overlooks the site, which could pose a security risk.

It is understood that the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) – which has its central lab at Sellafield – has also raised concern.

However, the Office for Nuclear Regulations (ONR), which oversees the nuclear industry, will not object, despite a plea from Ponsonby Parish Council to do so. Sellafield Ltd has also raised no objection.

The ONR’s Mike Finnerty said: “We believe there are no safety concerns. We have carried out technical assessments which show in all probability there are no significant risks, in terms of angle and momentum, from any fragments.”

Ranald Stewart, chair of Ponsonby Council, said a poll has been taken in the parish which reveals 80 per cent of households oppose the development.

Coun Stewart gave examples of fragments of turbines breaking off, including a recent case in Seascale when a piece landed in school grounds. He added that neighbouring parishes share Ponsonby’s concerns.

Jeny Rawlings, development manager for Airvolution Energy, said the parish council’s concerns are one of a number of subjects being discussed with Copeland Council during the planning process.

She added: “If the project is consented, we will be providing a community benefit fund of £20,000 per year into the local community for 25 years.”