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Petitioners oppose wind turbine plan

A petition signed by 40 residents against a plan for three wind turbines overlooking Port Erin has joined the chorus voicing opposition to the proposal.

The application ((14/00632/B) by Cheeseden Investments Ltd) for the turbines is at a home owned by billionaire property magnate John Whittaker at his home at Ballaman in Rushen parish.

The petition raised several objections including that three 18.5-metre-high wind turbines would have ‘a significant visual impact’ and that it contravenes five policies in the strategic plan.

The petitioners argue: the proposal could affect the local bird population and have an ‘unacceptable impact on the setting of archaeological remains on Mull Hill and Meayll Peninsula’; that it could have a potential impact on air navigation radar at Ronaldsway airport; their erection would make private helicopters using Ballaman approach over Port St Mary and Port Erin, resulting in an increase in noise and disturbance from the helicopters for residents; approval would set a precedent for other much larger onshore wind farms in the island.

The petition states: ‘The quality of life and exceptional landscape are things that make the Isle of Man distinctive – this key economic asset should not be undermined.’

Rushen Parish Commissioners reiterated points they raised in 2014.

Their concerns include the aesthetic impact, arguing: ‘The site is already substantially developed (and) … already dominates the landscape and three wind turbines would exacerbate the situation.’ They add this does not benefit the people of the island, adding: ‘Had they been there may have been an argument for approving wind turbines – but not in this location.

‘Approval would set a precedent for turbines in other parts of the island.’

They said this is mentioned in a report from Rushen Eco Energy, which is part of the application, which stated: ‘Multiple turbines may also be considered possible after a single one has proven the principle. Multiple small turbines are likely to be more acceptable than a single large one at this location above the town.’

The authority raised concerns about aircraft safety: ‘It is an area affected by mist and fog. Consideration by the Office of Planning has been delayed for two years because of concerns regarding the safety of aircraft flying in this vicinity.’

They added the proposal includes information that a pole has been erected since May in the position where the turbines would go and that they have provoked no complaints, but it ‘bears no resemblance to how the three turbines would appear should they be erected’.

Port Erin Commissioners, granted interested party stratus in 2014, reiterated its opposition.

Commissioners’ clerk Jason Roberts said there were ‘two or three’ letters of support for the plan, but the majority were opposed.

Commissioner Phil Crellin said: ‘I try to be as green as I possibly can. It’s a shame it is where it is, but unfortunately I cannot agree with that.’

He said he hopes others with plans to erect wind turbines should not be deterred by objections to this proposal.

‘Everyone knows green energy is the way forward,’ he said.

‘But government must take the lead on saying where we can put them.

‘Having them ad hoc like this is not acceptable.’