Having read the letter by Mr Herbert (November 23, ‘Extend life of the wind farm’), I note that he does not live locally. The opinion of many local people and 11 parish councils is that the application to extend the life of the Kirkby Moor wind farm should be refused.
None of these local people are against sustainable energy, but this particular wind farm was only erected as an experimental wind farm at a time when we did not understand the industry.
The original application was refused by the area and by an Inspector but was only granted permission to proceed by the Secretary of State ‘in light of the national interest’ at the time. He did, however, in agreeing with the inspector, accept that this was a sensitive site, having been awarded SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status and within metres of the National Park.
He therefore applied very stringent conditions to the grant, one of which was that the turbines were to be removed at the end of 25 years (August 2018) No Ifs, No Buts.
The developers, knowing that this time was approaching, applied to replace these old turbines with new, modern ones, which would have been nearly three times larger than the present. However, this application was totally refused in 2015.
Much of the reasoning for that application was that the turbines were now aged, becoming more difficult to maintain, hard to find spares for and technically had been totally outdated by the new modern turbines (actually, it is now fully accepted that the most efficient wind turbines are out at sea and we have one of the world’s largest sea farms off our Cumbrian coast – not too many in Northhampton!).
You have to ask why it is that the developer wishes to extend the life of this farm for a period of eight years, seven months and five days? By their own admission, this is to facilitate them receiving monetary subsidies until the day they are stopped.
RWE agreed, in their planning application SL/2014/1220, that, should they not be granted the application to erect the big turbines, they would, at the agreed 25-year time, decommission the site, by removing the turbines and transformers, reinstate the turbines bases etc.
However, in an attempt to sweeten this present application the developer has offered to enhance parts of the moor. But, as a SSSI, this is the responsibility of Natural England and the landowner. This should not be be a carrot to a planning application.
The south Furness area now has a plethora of wind turbines. As an area we are contributing greatly to keeping the lights on for the rest of the UK. This is not about anyone arguing about the need for green energy. It is about the granting of a planning application, by a Secretary of State, with very specific and stringent conditions that should be respected and honoured and many local people want to see the turbines on Kirkby Moor removed at the original, specified time and the moor allowed to return to its natural state.