Residents have passionately spoken out against plans for a large-scale renewable energy park potentially to Cumbria.
Members of the Solway Plane Action Group are publicly objecting Ridge Clean Energy’s (RCE) proposals for the Great Oaks Renewable Energy Park, near to Wiggonby, Great Orton – which would see the pairing of a 40.8 MW project of four wind turbines and solar farm.
The residents have spoken out due to the scale of the project, in which each turbine is set to stand at a height of 150 metres tall (making them some of the largest in Britain) whilst also being set for an area they believe is already oversaturated with wind turbines.
A spokesperson for Solway Plane Action Group, Peter Ovens, said: “We are for sustainable net-zero projects, we’re not a ‘not in our backyard’ group, this is about a project that is unprecedented in scale, a 150 metres tall supersized turbine equivalent in size to Blackpool tower.
“If this goes through, it will affect many other communities, not just in Wiggonby and Outerby,” he said.
One wind turbine is situated 750 metres from properties in Wiggonby, with another 790m from Oughterby properties.
Due to the scale of the project, Peter said it raises concerns of the adverse impacts of shadow flicker on residents.
“The shadow-flicker, which can have a serious impact on people’s mental health, will be significant and it wouldn’t be economically viable to turn it off – if this goes through, it will be absolute madness.
“Allerdale has more turbines per acre than any other local council in England.
“We do know net-zero is essential but this is absolutely the wrong way to go about it, this proposal is not about sustainable energy- it’s profit driven opportunism by a hedge fund management and self interested landowners.
“We’re really angry and upset about it because it dwarves anything in the locality. There’s nothing that comes close to the scale of this project. In fact, the only on-shore equivalent I can find is in Avonmouth, near Bristol, which is in a heavily industrialised area.
“All the others on the Allerdale Borough Council are about 75 metres and this just doubles the scale,” he said.
The application status is currently in review seeking public consultation.
Peter Ovens is also calling for a re-submission of the Minimum Distance Between Wind Turbines and Residential Premises Bill which fell through in the House of Lords in 2013, which would see a 3km stipulation of distance between homes and turbines of 150 metres and over.
Workington’s MP, Mark Jenkinson, is fully supporting the groups objections.
“I’ve been quite clear to Ridge Energy and to Planning that I won’t contemplate another huge windfarm, with four turbines the size Blackpool Tower – the largest we would have in Allerdale, and even larger than the offshore Robin Rigg – in my constituency, or the further use of agricultural land for solar farms.
“We have no end of large roofs on public sector buildings that should not be without solar panels first. And while I’m not against onshore wind per se, for example I could support individual smaller turbines or applications in existing windfarms or industrial areas, the proposal for Great Oaks would be hugely detrimental.
“I would encourage any constituent with an interest in this to contact me,” he said.
Marjorie Glasgow BEM, co-founder of RCE said: “We believe that combining clean energy with the needs of communities is the most powerful way to tackle climate change and its impacts.
“Our local contributions go over and above the standard amounts to community funds.
“We would like to work with the community to support them on their path to net zero, which could include the provision of a community hub, EV charging, Net Zero Community app, support for local public transport, improving footpaths or increased woodland planting.
“We will also intend to provide a yearly energy rebate for households nearest to the project,” she said.
Jo Lappin, chief executive of CLEP, was also in support of the proposal: “Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is delighted to support Ridge Clean Energy in delivering their Great Oaks Renewable Energy Park proposal.”
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