Rory Stewart Champions Campaign for Minimum Distance of Wind Turbines

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, has said he will revive Lord Reay’s campaign to introduce a bill (Minimum Distance from Residential premises) to establish separation distances which increase as the height of turbines increases.

Sadly Lord Reay died unexpectedly in 2013 before the bill could progress to the committee stage. Rory Stewart said “I would like to revive his campaign, and will do all I can to progress it both locally and within the House of Commons.”

Allerdale Borough Council have already adopted a minimum separation distance of 800m in their local plan but Rory would like to see a similar clause in all Local Plans across Cumbria. He said “we hope ultimately this modest reform would be enshrined in planning guidance throughout England.”

For more details see http://www.rorystewart.co.uk/category/wind-turbines/

A Message from Westnewton Action Group

As you probably know Allerdale is under siege by the wind industry. Here between the Lake District National Park and the Solway AONB there is only a relatively narrow band of countryside that is “available” for the developers to assault, something that they have already done – with a vengeance, as Allerdale now has over 62% of Cumbria’s, wind turbines, with more applications arriving almost every week – for another four turbines this week alone!

But the wind industry isn’t what this is about – there is a new kid on the block now!

Because believe it or not – the solar industry has arrived – and in force! Solar farms, here in sunny (??) Cumbria – who’d have believed it? But we’re not kidding!

Just within the past year there have been 15 screening applications submitted for 145 Megawatts of P.V. panels, which could potentially cover over 820 acres of farmland! Two of these have already moved forward to full planning applications now, one of which is just across the road from the three 107 metre wind turbines that have already been imposed upon our village!

The other application, is close to the village of Bothel and has received quite a large number of objections, but for some reason the one near us has only had a few, which is why we are asking for a bit of support.

Attached is a pro-forma objection which we would be very grateful if you (and everyone else you can think of) could add your name and address to a copy of, and either send or e-mail it to Allerdale’s Planning Dept.

Their e-mail address is:- planning@allerdale.gov.uk

If you could also kindly pass this “baton” on to as many other like minded folk as possible, we would be eternally grateful.
objection for solar farm

Minimum Setback Distances

During CWW’s absence a petition has been launched to encourage Eden District Council to include in their local plan, the same minimum setback distance from residential property for wind turbines, that Allerdale has recently adopted.

The government guidelines for permitted noise levels from turbines (ETSU-R-937) were produced in 1997 and many people think they are inadequate to protect residential property. The noise level permitted at night when people are trying to sleep is even higher than during the day and many people living near turbines complain of sleep deprivation which can lead to health issues.

This was one of the reasons Allerdale Borough Council decided to include a clause in their plan to provide a minimum separation distance of 800m between wind turbines and residential property.

Please let Eden District Council know that you would like to see the same in Eden by signing our petition. At present the Draft plan does not contain a similar clause but the officers are prepared to look at this again, however they will need to know there is support for the idea if it is to be adopted. Many of you will have been affected directly by a turbine application or have friends or relatives who have been faced with an application for a turbine close to their property.  If you haven’t been directly affected yet, please still consider signing the petition to protect yourselves and family and friends in the future.

Click here to sign the petition if you have not already done so

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-uZy7daSo0e5wTTYz_sAmEvsKSmnlGg0EepSjs3qHyw/viewform#start=openform

Cumbria Windwatch back Online!

Many apologies to anyone who has been trying to access the information on this site in the last couple of months but the site was down due to ‘circumstances beyond our control’, as they say. I am afraid I couldn’t begin to explain or even to understand the reasons, but it involved problems with the hosting. If there have been new applications, during this time, that are not showing on the site please send details to cumbriawindwatch@gmail.com

Good News from FORCE!

Great news!!

As some of you will already know, the long awaited report from the Planning Inspectorate on the Allerdale Local Development Plan has now been published and deemed ‘sound’ by the Inspector, Susan Holland. The plan was formally adopted by Allerdale at the full Council meeting held on 16th July 2014.

This means that there is now a meaningful local plan that addresses the issues of renewable energy development and includes a separation distance of 800m between wind turbines over 25 metres in height and residential properties unless the applicant can absolutely justify a lesser distance. This will provide much greater protection for residents of Allerdale in the future.

Obviously it is unlikely to please the developers and there is a possibility that a legal challenge to the plan, or parts of it, could be mounted. But the reality is that the Inspector has made it very clear in her report that the setback had been properly and sensibly assessed by Allerdale and that the objections raised to it previously were not robust enough to remove it from the plan.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to achieve this great result!!

A Neighbourhood Forum meeting is planned to take place in Rosley Village Hall between 7.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. on Thursday 24th July. At this meeting, Allerdale’s Head of Development, Kevin Kerrigan, will talk about the new plan including the renewable energy policy.

Two appeals for 77m single turbines dismissed by Planning Inspector

Two appeals for turbine applications in the Petteril valley were dismissed this week.

The first was in Carlisle District at Greenlands Equestrian Centre where the inspector found that the proposed 77m turbine would harm the character and appearance of the local landscape. He said that it would be a disruptive skyline element out of scale with its setting and would affect walkers, horse riders, occupiers of nearby properties, road users on the motorway and local roads and the residents of the village of Wreay. He also noted that the Cumbria Wind Energy SPD recognises that turbine development will not always be appropriate in the more sheltered valleys or undulating fringes where it would be over dominant and conflict with more irregular land cover patterns.

The second was in Eden District near Southwaite. Again the main reasons for dismissal were on grounds of visual harm with the inspector noting that “in the local context of the Southwaite community it would be a very large, prominent and visually intrusive element in the landscape.”

Both these decisions are good news and it was particularly heartening to see the following in the decision notices “current national planning practice guidance (PPG) makes it clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections or the planning concerns of local communities. Protecting local amenity is an important consideration which should be given proper weight in planning decisions. ” Also from the Southwaite decision “Whilst not all people dislike a turbine dominated landscape the precautionary approach is to treat this effect as negative.”

 

 

Banks Renewables withdraws Killington wind farm plan

Proposals for a three-turbine wind farm in Cumbria have been withdrawn ahead of a planned public inquiry.

Plans for the 430ft (132m) turbines at Killington, near Kendal, were approved by South Lakeland District Council earlier this year.

But the application was called in by the government and a public inquiry was scheduled for September.

Developers Banks Renewables said the likely costs of the inquiry meant it had no choice but to scrap the plans.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-28070492

 

Application at Drigg for taller turbine refused but 45m turbine “not suitable”

I received this today from a local resident of Drigg and Carleton. Many thanks for sending it in.

“We note with pleasure that Mr Shepherd of Shepherds Views Holidays Camping and Caravan site at Drigg had his 3rd wind turbine application in 3 years turned down on 21st may by Copeland council planning panel.  Many thanks must go to the large number of people in the wider community who did so much to pass word around and ensure people were aware of the application and attended the panel meeting to which neither Mr Shepherd nor his Agent Mr Harley of Planning Consultations could be bothered to attend!

The 57m turbine was to replace a 45m turbine which gained approval last year, which in the so called professionals own words (Sternwind and Mr Harley of Planning Consultations) was, I quote “not suitable from a technical point of view, due to the weak grid structure in this part of Cumbria.” Also “the Turbowinds T-400 has a outdated gearbox mechanism which cannot adapt to grid fluctuations” This fluctuation can, according to them, cause the turbine to “trip out”.  They go on to say that “in addition to the inefficiency of the turbowinds T-400 it is acknowledged by landscape professionals that a stopped turbine is more visually damaging to the landscape than an operating one”! (taken from pre consultation documentation provided by Mr Harley)  Yet they go on to state in the application that should the 57m be refused they would put up the 45m turbine…

Well its their money, let them spend in on what they admit is “outdated, inefficient and technically unsuitable”!! BUT of course it isn’t Sternwinds money that will be wasted, its actually us that will be paying for something that doesn’t work, devalues our property and spoils our area, in the form of subsidy payments from our fuel bills, which when it “trips out” could also trip the substation out causing power cuts to the area, according to a conversation with Electricity Northwest.

How incompetent these so called wind turbine professionals are, or maybe Sternwind and Mr Harley of Planning Consultations knew of the issues, but kept them quiet, because they knew they stood a better chance of gaining permission for the 45m then ask for a bigger one later??  Do we even have a weak grid in our area, as they claim? (Currently under investigation) Either way we don’t need the likes of them coming here and spoiling our village, maybe they can go somewhere else and leave Drigg alone, they won’t be missed!”

FORCE Newsletter April 2014

So far, it really had been a year of mixed fortune. As ever, the bad news first but there really is some good news to follow – so please read on!

Anyone using the A595 near Thursby cannot have failed to see the blinding monstrosity that is the How End Farm turbine!

The appeals at Firs Farm, High Scales and Goose Green which were all decided by the same Inspector, Mr McCoy, were approved. This is a very disappointing result not least because Inspector McCoy failed completely in his reports to take account of the fact that he was approving three turbines all within approximately 1 kilometre of each other thus creating his own cumulative impact!

One factor that may well have played a part in his decisions is that Goose Green and Firs Farm were both recommended approval by Allerdale’s Planning Department but rejected by the Development Panel members. This demonstrates yet again how important it is to provide Allerdale Planners with robust objections so that they can formulate sensible grounds for recommending that applications should be refused in the first place. In the light of last year’s ministerial guidance, this not only includes spelling out the grounds on which we believe an application should be refused, but also showing that significant numbers of the local population object to the proposal.

The same is true of an appeal decision in January at Brayton Park which was also allowed by Inspector McCoy who will henceforward always be known in these parts as ‘the man who created his own cumulative impact.’

Current situation

Until last week it has been a quiet year on the application front, with only one full application being posted on Allerdale’s website. That was until Friday 25th when FOUR MORE full applications went online.

FORCE will be lodging objections to these and we would urge you to do the same. Please feel free to utilise any points from our objections when they are posted on line. The applications can be found at the following links:

Waverbank, Mealsgate – 1 x 45 metre turbine

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=114731

Carrick Dean, Edderside – 1 x 35 metre turbine

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=114896

Arkleby House Farm, Arkleby – 1 x 45 metre turbine

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=114891

Water Flosh, Aikton – 1 x 77 metre turbine

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=114952

Dundraw Farm, Dundraw – 1 x 67 meter turbine

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=114953

All of these applications far exceed the DECC definition of small scale (15 metre to hub) and if any were to be granted would significantly add to the negative landscape impacts and cumulative impacts that we already suffer, not to mention the potential impacts on residential amenity for those who live near to them.

News from Eden is that REG (the company that owns and operates High Pow) is planning a six turbine array at Hay Close Farm, Calthwaite. This is in it’s very early stages and public exhibitions are being held on the following dates:

Friday 16th May 2 – 8pm

Low Hesket Village Hall,

Low Hesket,

CA4 OES

and

Saturday 17th May 10am – 2pm

Skelton Memorial Hall, Skelton,

CA11 9TE

Whilst they seem to pay no heed to the feedback that they receive following this type of exhibition, there can be no harm in letting REG know what you think!

There is however also some good news!

The long awaited appeal decision on the turbine at Lane Head Farm, Boltongate was issued on 16th April and the appeal was dismissed. This was however a close run thing since the Inspector had actually recommended to the Secretary of State that the appeal be allowed, but this recommendation was overturned on the basis that if the proposal were to go ahead it would harm the setting of the Grade 1 listed church in Boltongate.

This is actually the fourth appeal in Allerdale this year to be dismissed, the others being at Clea Mire, Charity Lane and Wiggonby, not to mention one that was dismissed at the Flatt Farm on the Carlisle side of the border!

Just goes to show that it really is worth battling on and getting the objections in.

It is our understanding that the application for three 115 metre turbines in the undeniably tranquil and rural setting of Carwath, near Rosley, will be heard by the Development Panel in May. We will post full details of the arrangements on this website as soon as they are known.

Also expected soon is the Inspector’s final report on Allerdale’s proposed Local Plan.

Residents Stunned by Giant Turbine Plans -REG Windpower plan a wind farm near Calthwaite

Householders in the Calthwaite and Ivegill areas were stunned last week by a Cornish company’s plans to site an industrial windfarm on fields behind their homes. The proposal drawn up by REG Windpower shows six giant turbines, each over 400′ high, within 650 metres of residential properties.

Local resident Hilary Norman whose home is one of the closest to the site was horrified to hear of the plans. She said “This wind farm would completely overshadow us. Each turbine would tower 500 feet above our house – that’s like looking up to the top of Blackpool Tower. This is an area where we want people to visit and stay, to come cycling and touring, not to be put off by this industrial development.”

Jill Hunt, who lives next to Hay Close Farm where the turbines are planned said “If you drive for 100 miles down the M6, from north of Carlisle to south of Preston, you won’t see a bigger windfarm. People think that the turbines at Lambrigg, near Killington Services, are a blight on the landscape – but the ones planned for here are over 150 feet higher, and there are more of them.”

Jill’s neighbour Derek Hurton said “They must have been planning this for a year or so, but no one has had the decency to find out what we think about it. What’s happened makes a mockery of the company’s claim that they want to build strong relationships with local communities.”

Commenting on the way the news broke, Mr Hurton went on “The way this has been handled has been a shambles. The first we knew about the plans was getting home from work to find a letter saying they were coming the next day to install noise monitoring equipment in our garden. Then they said they couldn’t come that day but would come a week later. They got our names and our neighbours names wrong on the letters. The plan on their website showed our garden as part of their development site. If this is the extent of their professionalism, what confidence can I have about anything else they tell me about the scheme?”

Given the scale of the plans, local opposition is expected to be strong. As well as concerns about noise and flicker from the turbines disturbing the closest residents, there are fears that horses and livestock on nearby farms will be unsettled. People living several miles away from the site are likely to see their views of the Lake District obliterated. The latest plans form another link in a chain of schemes that have been proposed on each side of the M6 from Penrith to Carlisle, including sites at Forest Hill, Skelton, Southwaite and Ainstable.

The closest residents have already met to draw up plans to oppose the development. Local businessman Ges Ratcliffe, whose property would be just a few hundred metres away from the nearest turbine, summed up his neighbours’ views, saying “No one I’ve spoken to has a good word to say about the scheme. One of these companies described the residents of areas like ours as NGA – naieve, gullible and apathetic. I think they’ll find people here have an appetite for the fight.”

Local Parish Councillor David Porter criticised the way the news had come out. On Tuesday he commented “It’s not good enough that people have only found out about this by accident. A few people heard second hand when they got letters telling them that the developers wanted to put noise monitoring equipment on their property. Other people who live less than half a mile away and whose livelihoods could be ruined have still heard nothing from the developers.”

The developers hope to submit a planning application later in the summer.