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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Fears over wind farm plan
wind farm
The wind farm will be the largest seen in Cumbria
A public inquiry is likely to rule whether a wind farm - so big it will be classed as a power station - can be built close to a national park in Cumbria.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is considering a plan to build 27 wind turbines, each 400ft high at Whinash, near the Lake District National Park.

The turbines would be spread over a four-mile site and would generate 67 megawatts of electricity.

The 55m plan, by West Coast Energy, would result in the largest wind farm development yet in Cumbria, between Tebay and Shap, overlooking the M6 motorway.

Steve Salt, project director with Wales-based West Coast Energy, said: "The government needs to increase the amount of energy produced from renewable sources to 10%.

"The North West, and particularly Cumbria, has excellent wind resources and the area wants to produce more energy.

This landscape is not going to stay as it is for ever, climate change being a great threat
Steve Salt, West Coast Energy

"We believe we have an appropriate site here for significant generation.

"This site will produce power for something like 47,000 homes."

Because of the size of the project the DTI will be responsible for planning consent, instead of Eden Valley Council, in whose area the wind farm will be sited.

Kyle Blue of the No Whinash Wind farm Campaign (NWWC) said: "We must consider the landscape, which deserves a green future too."

Threat to climate

He added: "This is outstanding landscape adjoining the Lake District National Park and this will have a colossal impact on the surrounding countryside.

"These turbines are too large for this landscape and their impact would be far too great."

But Mr Salt added: "This landscape is not going to stay as it is for ever, with climate change being a great threat.

"We have to do something about that to protect the landscape.

"At the end of the day the planning system will decide."

Once the DTI has examined the application, there will be a four-month window for objections to be lodged.

It will only need on objection to trigger a public inquiry.




SEE ALSO:
Wind farm jobs hope for Cumbria
28 Aug 02  |  England
Protest over wind farm plan
19 Aug 02  |  Northern Ireland


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