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Concern over plans to transport turbine blades through Longtown  

Credit:  Concern over plansto transport turbine blades through Longtown | News & Star | www.newsandstar.co.uk ~~

Community leaders in Longtown are frustrated about the lack of communication on how huge wind turbine blades will be transported through the town.

They expressed their concerns about REG Windpower’s plans to bring the components and 46m-long blades through the centre of the town to the site a Hallburn, on the outskirts.

Construction is anticipated to start in the spring with the delivery of the six turbines planned for September.

The blades alone will be delivered in 18 loads.

Due to the size of the blades, a parish council bus shelter, trees and a telegraph pole, as well as pedestrian railings and sandstone paving slabs will need to be removed from one end of Swan Street.

Councillors are also worried about the disruption this will cause businesses and residents on a street home to a number of shops, the doctors surgery, primary school and fire station.

The parish council has requested a meeting regarding the transportation of the components. It understands that when the construction team were in place REG would meet with them to discuss the plans.

But Arthuret parish council chariman Sir James Graham said: “There has been a lack of communication and a lack of information.”

John Mallinson, county councillor for Longtown, said: “Sometimes there gets to be a confusion when the highways authority says they have no objection.

“If somebody comes and takes my car away or my garden shed I would ring the police.

“What does the parish council do here?

“What about businesses. Have they been consulted.”

Ray Bloxham, who represents Longtown on Carlisle City Council, said it is not good enough and fears local input will be left too late.

He is aware of the plans REG has agreed with the county council.

“They haven’t said what disruption to the school and most importantly if the fire brigade want to get out.

“Heaven help us if there’s a fire. If they haven’t made arrangements. I can see chaos.

“All the parish council and I am asking, is for REG to have a meeting with the parish council.

“The parish council is made up of local people who know the locality and no what is possible and what’s not,” he said.

“I’m not a naturally suspicious person but what are they hiding. Why can’t it be open and transparent.

“They would be better advised to have a meeting with the parish council, the county councillors and ourselves from the district council.

“We know what is going on in Longtown and what is best. It’s a mess.”

A spokeswoman said REG has primarily dealt with the county council at this early stage but that it has always intended to meet with local representatives once the start date approaches.

“In our experience, their involvement is key to ensuring we minimise disruption,” she said.

“We always assume there will be specific requirements in each community which can minimise disruption further, and these are best addressed with local representatives.

“We have suggested a meeting with those representatives when our team are on site. The preparation of the foundations will take approximately six months, so there is plenty of time to work together before arrival of the turbines in September.”

The developer has submitted a traffic management plans to the county council which sets out the routes for construction traffic, the site access point and hours of working to minimise disruption and improve safety.

Temporary measures, REG said, will be in place for six to eight weeks and everything will be returned to the same or better condition.

A county council spokesman said that the removal of street furniture and sandstone flags was necessary to facilitate the delivery of the turbines.

A temporary surface will be put down where the sandstone pavement is removed.

“As soon as it’s passed we will start putting everything back,” said a spokesman.

“The pedestrian barriers aren’t being removed until the day itself. They are the last thing to come out and the first thing to go back in.”

REG is paying for the works along with additional police in Longtown when the turbines will be delivered.

The council said residents will be informed of a timetable of the works nearer the time.

The wind farm is set to come into operation by the end of 2017 and is estimated to generate enough energy to power about 9,100 homes a year.

Construction will trigger the first installment of a £66,000 community fund which will be administered by GrantScape.

Source:  Concern over plansto transport turbine blades through Longtown | News & Star | www.newsandstar.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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