Campaigners have welcomed a decision to reject taller wind turbines which it is claimed would have impacted on the Lake District National Park.
South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee refused the application for repowering the Kirkby Moor windfarm.
They wanted to replace existing turbines with taller, more efficient versions which it was claimed would have been visible from the jetty at Coniston Water and from Kirkstone Pass.
The proposal by energy company RWE comprised the decommissioning of the 12 existing turbines on the Kirkby Moor site and replacing them with six turbines with a blade tip height of 115m, over two and a half times the height of the current machines.
While recognising the importance of renewable energy development in providing clean energy sources, membership charity Friends of the Lake District believes that the proposal would have had a significant detrimental impact on the landscape and, in particular, the setting of the Lake District National Park.
Laura Fiske, planning officer at Friends of the Lake District, said: “Six 115m tall turbines would have been inappropriate and intrusive in this location and massively out of scale with their surroundings, flashing over a skyline from more distant viewpoints.
“The development threatened to impact on some of our most iconic views including many Lake District peaks such as the Old Man of Coniston, Black Combe and Kentmere as well as views from Coniston Water and Kirkstone Pass.
“We are very grateful for the support offered by the local community in dealing with this application and would like to extend our thanks to them.”The application also drew objections from Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park as well as the Ministry of Defence.
Friends of the Lake District submitted an objection to the application highlighting the following areas of concern:
* The proposal would result in unacceptable visual harm to the landscape due to the magnitude of change of the turbine size compared to the existing turbines on Kirkby Moor.
* The development would have a significant adverse impact upon local landscape character including on the setting of the Lake District National Park not least by reason of the cumulative impact from nearby built/under construction/consented wind turbines along with the proposed route of the National Grid North West Coast Connections pylons.
* The visual impact arising from this development in such close proximity would result in significant harm to the landscape of the National Park.
* The intrusive nature of the proposal would impact on the nature conservation interests of the SSSI and on recreational activities on Kirkby Moor and into the Lake District National Park including quiet contemplative opportunities on nearby fells and Coniston Water and locally cherished viewpoints including The Hoad and Birkrigg Common.
The existing windfarm on Kirkby Moor is due for decommissioning in 2018.
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