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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Wind farm public inquiry begins
wind farm
The turbines would generate enough power for 46,000 homes
A public inquiry into proposals to site one of England's largest wind farms in Cumbria has begun.

Chalmerston Wind Power Ltd and West Coast Energy want to build 27 turbines each almost 400ft high at Whinash in the Lake District.

The turbines, which would stretch 7km to the Yorkshire Dales, would generate enough power for 46,000 homes.

Green groups back the plans, but they are opposed by tourism chiefs who fear a "dangerous precedent" will be set.

The 55m plan would involve turbines being spread between Tebay and Shap overlooking the M6, and would generate 57 megawatts of electricity.

'Important step'

Developers say they have consulted a number of environmental groups in the run-up to submitting plans.

Green lobby groups will highlight local support for the wind farm when the inquiry begins in Penrith. They will also say it is an "important step in tackling climate change".

Cumbria Tourist Board said it is not against renewable energy, but it claims building the wind farm at Whinash could impact on visitor numbers to the area.

Environmental campaigners will ask the government inspector to disregard claims made by opponents of the scheme, ruled as "misleading" by the Advertising Standards Authority, about damage to house prices and the tourist industry in the Lake District.

Because of the size of the project, the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) will be responsible for planning consent.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Why opinion over the windfarm is so divided



SEE ALSO:
Fears over wind farm plan
30 Sep 03 |  Cumbria
Wind farm jobs hope for Cumbria
28 Aug 02 |  England


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