Cumbrian protestors fear windfarm spread

Rachael Tinniswood

A pressure group has raised concerns about the number of companies planning to build turbines across the Cumbrian landscape.

The Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale Scenery, which is opposed to the development of windfarms in the region, has written to councillors and MPs across Cumbria asking them to be aware of the increasing number of windfarm proposals.

A map showing sites around the Lake District National Park with more than 30 windfarms planned was also enclosed with the letter.

FELLS is particularly concerned at the Government's target for the UK to generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, calling it "unrealistic" and adding that the country's target fails to take into account that more than half the area is protected by National Park designation. As a result, Eden Valley is the target of a lot of the proposals.

Chairman of FELLS Tim Kimber said: "Although a few might be deemed to be acceptable, many are sited in completely unsuitable areas. The letter asks councillors at all levels of government to continue to be bold and vigilant and to work to protect this unique county for the enjoyment of future generations".

A Wind Energy Supplementary Planning Document setting out guidelines for future planning decisions with regards to turbines, was published in September by Cumbria County Council, provoking concern in some quarters that it would simply identify potential sites for windfarm development.

But Cllr Ian Stewart, cabinet member responsible for environmental wellbeing, has argued that this is not the case.

He said: "As an upland, rural county Cumbria is a place where developers are already looking for opportunities to create wind farms and that is not going to go away. That is why we need to have robust, coherent guidance to help consider the complex planning issues on what is a controversial subject. It will help communities, planning authorities and wind energy developers."

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