Councillors have ‘strongly objected’ to plans for the construction of six wind turbines in South Cumbria which have been labelled as ‘absolutely ridiculous’.
Cumbria County councillors have put forward a unanimous recommendation of objection for the proposal which would see a dozen existing 42-metre high turbines replaced with six at 115 metres tall – more than five times the size of the Angel of the North.
Standing just 1km from the Lake District National Park boundary, the application from RWE Innogy UK for the development on land at Kirkby Moor Wind Farm, Kirkby-in-Furness, was rejected on the basis of its effect on the landscape.
At yesterday’s Development Control Committee meeting in Kendal councillors agreed that the environmental benefits of renewable energy did not outweigh the visual and cumulative impact the scheme would have.
Planning officer Richard Pearse said such large industrial scale structures could be ‘intrusive’ and very noticeable in what is otherwise a wide open and tranquil landscape, adding there would be ‘significant’ visual effects within five kilometres of the farm.
The officer also raised concerns that the area was already experiencing a cumulative effect of big structures.
Cllr Roger Bingham said the effect on the landscape could directly impact on tourism in the area.
Dubbing the plan ‘absolutely ridiculous’, Cllr Ernie Wilson said: “I can’t see why we should approve this at all.
“For some people even the slightest view of it is unacceptable.”
RWE Innogy UK has already faced criticism from local residents who joined forces to form an action group in opposition.
Parish councils in Lowick, Blawith and Subberthwaite, Egton-cum-Newland, Osmotherly and Mansriggs and Kirkby and Ireleth have all objected to the plans.
Cllr Martin Stephenson said: “It’s not so much about having wind farms there at all but it’s about the scale and these are substantially greater than what is already there.”
And Cllr Gerald Humes said the authority needed to ‘make a stand’, adding ‘enough is enough’.
The existing wind farm, built in 1993, was one of the first generation of wind turbines in the UK.
Cllr Lawrence Neil Fisher said: We don’t want to set a precedent for future plans and we need to send the message out that they don’t just get permission because they’ve already had permission before.”
There are further worries that the concrete foundations left from the existing wind turbines would have a negative environmental impact on the landscape.
Mr Pearse said there would be a removal of foundations to an ‘extent’, leaving a one metre gap from the concrete to the surface.
The application from RWE Innogy UK – one of the UK’s most experienced wind farm developers – will go before South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee later this year.
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