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Plans to extend life of ‘noisy’ wind farm goes before authority

Objectors who have battled a ‘noisy’ wind farm for 20 years have convinced councillors to temporarily halt plans to let it stay another decade.

Barrow Borough Council planners voted to defer an application by Cannock Wind Energy Limited to extend the life of the Askam and Ireleth wind farm.

Councillors want more independent evidence about the noise it makes.

Marton resident Gillian Haythornthwaite told councillors it accounted for 152 of 206 complaints.

She blamed the site topography, changes in wind direction and how close it was built to homes.

Ms Haythornthwaite said it caused an unbearable, horrendous, noise nuisance and that a noise reduction service installed by the operators had cut complaints but not stopped the noise.

Ireleth resident Les Nicholls told the planning committee: “It’s created a noise nuisance which has continued for 20 years.

“Despite this, no action has ever been taken by the council against the developer to my knowledge. When repeatedly questioned why the response has always been that the developer has got deep pockets and the council is skint.”

Mr Nicholls branded the wind farm unproductive, uneconomical and loss-making, saying its value would vastly increase if the application was agreed.

Mike Tracey, managing director for the applicants, said they took over five years ago yet at no point had the wind farm been found to cause a statutory noise nuisance during its lifetime.

Nor did Barrow council’s public protection officer object to the plan, he added.

Claims about its efficiency were erroneous, said Mr Tracey, adding that it had delivered profits in line with projections and still served a useful purpose.

He said the company took complaints seriously and had invested in noise management systems to provide greater control and understanding of what was happening.

Councillor Mark Burley, the Conservative member for Newbarns, said: “You’ve had all this time to sort out the noise issues, why do you think you can sort it out now and obviously people aren’t happy.”

Coun Bev Morgan, the Labour member for Ormsgill, said: “Twenty years of noise complaints is long enough.”

The committee voted to defer the application to a later date.