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Furious farmers lose battle over plans for increased helicopter flights  

Credit:  By Ellis Butcher, Local Democracy Reporter | The Mail | 12th September | www.nwemail.co.uk ~~

Furious farmers fed-up with helicopters have failed to win a planning battle against Walney’s off-shore windfarm.

Orsted’s plan to increase return flights from six to 10 between May and September was unanimously agreed by Barrow council’s planning committee. Father-and-son farmers Geoff and Steven Sharpe strongly objected.

The Sharpes, who farm at Ormsgill and Oaklea Farm, Roanhead, both complained that the flights, from Sandscale Park, are harming their health and livestock.

Mr Sharpe senior said no helicopters should fly over his farm and claimed there had been ‘no consultation whatsoever’.

He said: “The helicopters cause severe damage. Our livestock bolts onto the railway line and they’ve destroyed about 600 yards of steel fencing. The helicopters are buzzing us when we are calving the cows.”

He claimed a pair of eagles had nested earlier this year but had ‘gone’ once the helicopter flights started up.

Son Steven told the committee he had no quarrel with the wind farm but he was not ‘feeling the love’ from Orsted and was ‘sick to death’ of being ‘overflown’.

Mr Sharpe junior said: “Helicopter noise is extremely intrusive and can have a damaging effect on livestock and cause a great deal of distress. My wife and I found it quite distressing when the heliport started in operation.

“It startles my livestock and it’s damaging my enjoyment of my life, my property and my home.”

Juan Murray, planning agent for Orsted, said none of the legal consultees raised any objections.

He explained that the helipad could not operate off Walney airfield due to restrictions by the MoD. The Government department had also objected to the company using the Associated British Ports site.

“They objected to that due to national security,” said Mr Murray. “A submarine coming into the port at the same time as a 15,000-litre aviation fuel tank flying over in close proximity.”

Planners inserted an extra condition that Mr Sharpe’s farm at Roanhead be excluded from any fly zone.

Source:  By Ellis Butcher, Local Democracy Reporter | The Mail | 12th September | www.nwemail.co.uk

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