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Pressure group fights plan to extend life of wind turbines on Cumbrian commons

The Open Spaces Society, Britain’s leading pressure-group for the protection of common land, has objected to plans by Zephyr Investments Ltd to extend the life of the 12 wind turbines on common land at Kirkby Moor and High Lowick, Cumbria, for a further eight years and seven months, to 31 March 2027.

In 2015, South Lakeland District Council refused permission for the replacement of the existing turbines with six larger ones when the current permission expires in 2018. Now the developer wants to keep the existing ones instead and has submitted a planning application for consent to do so.

The Open Spaces Society objects because the turbines are a severe intrusion in a wild landscape, highly visible from many directions and in particular from the Lake District National Park and when seen against the national park’s backcloth. Since the original consent was granted in 1990 the Lake District has been designated as a World Heritage Site because of its unparalleled landscape qualities. The society says that the turbines severely mar those qualities.

The turbines occupy a significant area of registered common land, where the public has the right to walk and commoners have the right to graze stock. The moor is also criss-crossed with public rights of way.

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society: “We fought the current turbines back in the early 1990s and expected them to be removed in 2018. We are appalled at the prospect that they might remain until 2027, destroying a beautiful landscape and intruding on people’s enjoyment of this splendid common land.

“We have urged the district council to reject the application and to ensure that, once the current consent expires, the turbines, their bases, access tracks and other paraphernalia are all removed and the land is restored as a site of special scientific interest and common for all to enjoy.”