Plans to replace one of Britain’s oldest wind farms with new turbines almost three times as tall will have a “devastating” effect on the Lake District, campaigners have warned.
The 12 turbines of the existing Kirkby Moor wind farm, which was built in 1993, are each 139 feet tall and stand less than a mile outside the southern boundary of the National Park.
Energy company RWE Innogy is seeking planning permission to replace them with six new turbines, each up to 377 feet tall, which it says could together generate up to five times as much power as the existing wind farm.
Industry experts forecast such attempts to “repower” existing wind farm sites will become far more common in coming years, as old planning consents expire and developers seek to cash in on new larger machines which are much more profitable.
But residents near the Cumbrian site say the “gigantic” new turbines would be far more visible from further afield, as well as noisier for those living near them. They have urged South Lakeland council to reject the plans, leaving RWE to tear down the turbines when existing consent expires in 2018.
“People do not visit the Lakes to see wind turbines, they come to see lakes and mountains unsullied by monstrous, modern machinery,” one local couple told the council. “The only satisfactory outcome would be for all the wretched things to be taken down and the land returned to heather moorland,” a landowner wrote.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “We fought the current turbines back in the early 1990s and we shall fight this application all the way. Because there are already turbines on this moor it is easy to see the effect of replacing them, and it is devastating.
“They are a severe intrusion in this wild landscape, highly visible from many directions and in particular from the tops of the Lake District National Park. They destroy the view into the park too. The new turbines would be over twice the height and therefore much more visible.”
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