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Wind turbines as tall as Big Ben will ‘blight our Blencathra view'

People living in a village near Greystoke want to stop an energy company building an £8m nine-turbine windfarm. Fourteen people have objected to a plan to build the 60m-high wind turbines at Berrier Hill which, it is claimed, would provide enough green electricity to power 12,581 homes. Residents plan to form a protest group and to leaflet nearby houses following a public consultation on the Berrier Hill Wind Energy Ltd scheme, which ended yesterday. They fear the windfarm - whose turbines would be taller than Big Ben - will impair views of and from the Lake District fells and reduce tourism. ..."No-one in their right mind would build turbines where they wouldn't produce a viable amount of electricity. There is no robust scientific base for these assertions."

People living in a village near Greystoke want to stop an energy company building an 8m nine-turbine windfarm.

Fourteen people have objected to a plan to build the 60m-high wind turbines at Berrier Hill which, it is claimed, would provide enough green electricity to power 12,581 homes.

Residents plan to form a protest group and to leaflet nearby houses following a public consultation on the Berrier Hill Wind Energy Ltd scheme, which ended yesterday.

They fear the windfarm - whose turbines would be taller than Big Ben - will impair views of and from the Lake District fells and reduce tourism.

The energy company has submitted a planning application to Eden Council for the windfarm, which would take about six months to construct.

Karen Freestone, a school dinner lady from Berrier, said damage to the landscape was the main concern but feared that if planning permission was granted it could lead to several more windfarms being developed near the Lake District.

"It is stunning in Berrier. We are on the boundary of a national park but Alfred Wainwright would be turning in his grave at this. This is not just an issue for our little village.

"Many magnificent views, including those of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

People living in a village near Greystoke want to stop an energy company building an £8m nine-turbine windfarm.

Fourteen people have objected to a plan to build the 60m-high wind turbines at Berrier Hill which, it is claimed, would provide enough green electricity to power 12,581 homes.

Residents plan to form a protest group and to leaflet nearby houses following a public consultation on the Berrier Hill Wind Energy Ltd scheme, which ended yesterday.

They fear the windfarm - whose turbines would be taller than Big Ben - will impair views of and from the Lake District fells and reduce tourism.

The energy company has submitted a planning application to Eden Council for the windfarm, which would take about six months to construct.

Karen Freestone, a school dinner lady from Berrier, said damage to the landscape was the main concern but feared that if planning permission was granted it could lead to several more windfarms being developed near the Lake District.

"It is stunning in Berrier. We are on the boundary of a national park but Alfred Wainwright would be turning in his grave at this. This is not just an issue for our little village.

"Many magnificent views, including those of Blencathra from the east, would be severely impaired, as would those from the Lakes' northern fells towards the Pennines, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

"It is difficult to imagine tourism, the lifeblood of so much of the local economy, being anything other than damaged."

Mrs Freestone, 48, criticised a public information exhibition held at Greystoke last month. She said Berrier Hill Wind Energy, a subsidiary of West Coast Energy Limited (WCE) set up to develop the windfarm, did not answer residents' concerns.

"It came across as a sales pitch," she said.

Villagers have met to discuss the proposal.

The windfarm would play a role in the government reaching its target of 10 per cent of electricity being generated from renewable energy by 2010. Cumbria also has a target to play its part in reaching that figure.

But Mrs Freestone also said the benefits of wind farms were open to debate and that the companies which built them rely on government subsidies funded by the taxpayer.

Her objections came as energy companies were accused of cashing in on government subsidies by building windfarms that will never make any money because they were constructed on sites without enough wind. Some farms were proposed for sites where companies have exaggerated their energy potential, a BBC investigation claimed.

Companies that meet green energy targets receive government money under the Renewables Obligation Certificate Scheme (ROC). Experts told Radio 4 documentary, Costing the Earth, that claims of windfarm potential were being overestimated by companies keen to receive subsidies.

Michael Jefferson, policies chairman of the World Renewable Energy Network and former chief economist with Shell, said the industry is encouraged to exaggerate wind speeds and the amount of potential wind energy a farm can supply.

Jim Oswald, an engineering consultant, analysed figures on the amount of wind generated across the year.

The recommended load factor for a viable wind development is 30 per cent, but he said the average across Britain is 28 per cent and that the volatility of the wind caused a problem. Britain is not consistently windy enough to generate a regular energy supply and there is no way of storing wind energy.

"It's the power swings that worry us. Over a 20-hour period you can go from almost 100 per cent wind output to 20 per cent," Mr Oswald said.

He also said an over-reliance on wind power could result in power failures and higher electricity bills and called for the network to be redesigned.

A spokesman for Berrier Hill Wind Energy said an independent assessment of the wind farm found there would not be an adverse effect.

"No nationally designated landscape interest will be adversely affected and the wind farm's influence will be low," she said.

"There will be a local visual impact, but if government targets on renewable energy are to be met, it must be accepted that wind turbines have a place in the landscape."

She said the development would respect the landscape and the effects would be very localised.

"A British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) report, which looked at the impact on tourism in Cumbria and the North West, found the effect of wind farms on tourism to be negligible at worst, with many people taking a positive view of them.

"A Friends of the Lake District study found 87 per cent of visitors and 88 per cent of tourism organisations felt positive towards windfarms on the edge of the Lake District, with most reporting no impact on their business from existing wind farms.

"There is no conclusive evidence that windfarms and the Berrier Hill proposal will reduce tourism."

She said WCE is investigating alternative routes for HGV construction traffic and the exhibition was a way of allowing people to view the proposal.

BWEA chief executive Maria McCaffery said of the BBC documentary: "Britain has the best wind resource in Europe. These claims are absolute nonsense. The wind energy industry is investing billions of pounds to produce clean power in the UK to tackle climate change.

"There is no government subsidy for building windfarms. As much as £2bn of private investment has been made in the UK wind industry. The ROC support mechanism is only available for electricity that windfarms have already produced and supplied to utilities. In 30 years of monitoring there have been no days when the wind has not blown throughout Britain. Wind farms generate power about 85 per cent of the time and supply over 2GW of electricity in Britain, which is 1.5 per cent of British electricity needs."

"No-one in their right mind would build turbines where they wouldn't produce a viable amount of electricity. There is no robust scientific base for these assertions."


Source: http://www.cumberland-news....

SEP 7 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/13324-wind-turbines-as-tall-as-big-ben-will-blight-our-blencathra-view
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