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Reaction continues as Government rejects windfarm plans

[Friday 03 March 2006]

Reaction is continuing to a Government decision announced yesterday that rejected plans to build what would have been the country's largest windfarm on the fells of Whinash near Tebay.

The developers had applied for planning permission to build twenty-seven turbines on the site, which is located between the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks.

Reaction continues as Government rejects windfarm
Reaction continues as Government rejects windfarm

A wide coalition was formed in opposition to the plans on the basis that the massive turbines would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape - including the two National Parks.

Despite an equally vigorous campaign by its supporters, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks and Rural Affairs Minister Jim Knight accepted the recommendations of the Inspector, David Rose, to refuse permission for the 27 turbine windfarm at Bretherdale and Roundthwaite commons.

Both Ministers accepted Mr Rose's conclusions that the effects on the landscape and its value for recreation would be so serious that they would outweigh the benefits of securing a renewable energy source and the need to address climate change.

That statement was welcomed by a number of authorities who acted together in objecting to the windfarm at last year's inquiry.

In a joint statement Cumbria County Council, Eden District Council, the Lake District National Park Authority, South Lakeland District Council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said:

"We are delighted with the Government's decision to back the inspector's finding and refuse consent for the 24 wind turbines at Whinash. It shows the Government is committed to protecting the landscape in one of England's most beautiful areas.

"It is particularly good news for the people living nearby who opposed the scheme from the start.

"The inspectors concluded, and ministers agreed, that in this case the harm this development would cause outweighs the benefits it might bring. Broadly speaking that was the case that we jointly argued at the Public Inquiry".

The authorities are keen to point out though that they are not against windfarms per se.

The statement continued: "We also recognise that it is important not to underestimate the prediction of climate change impact.

"We will continue to look positively at projects which seek the sensitive exploitation of renewable energy sources on an appropriate scale and in appropriate locations".

Like other environmental groups, Friends of the Earth (FoE) reacted furiously to the decision and called it "yet another blow to the Government's green credentials".

FoE's director, Tony Juniper, said: "The Ministers who decided this should be ashamed. No wonder the Government is failing to tackle climate change. As each day goes by Labour's commitments to the environment become more and more unbelievable".

Friends of the Earth Lakeland's spokesperson, Margaret Sanders said: "Cumbria is one of the windiest counties in Britain, and the Whinash windfarm, which sits outside the national park, is the type of development the Government should support if it is serious about tackling climate change.

"The decision now casts doubt on numerous wind projects across the UK which are the subject of vocal NIMBY campaigns."

What do you think?

Is the Government right to reject the Whinash windfarm

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Feedback received for this article:

  • Good news, it's a pity the one on the A59 west of Harrogate was not thrown out as well.
    From: Pete
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