Windfarm 'obsession' will ruin Lakes economy, says Cumbria County Council leader Eddie Martin

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

CUMBRIA County Council leader Eddie Martin has accused Energy Secretary Ed Davey of being ‘fixated’ and ‘obsessed’ with windfarms.

In a strongly-worded letter blasting their effect on the county’s economy, Mr Martin said Cumbria ‘continued to be disfigured and scarred’ by growing numbers of turbines.

Writing to energy minister John Hayes MP, he called on the Government to channel the ‘extraordinary subsidies’ given to windfarm developers into alternative methods of energy, such as tidal, hydro and nuclear.

Coun Martin’s comments come a week before South Lakeland’s newest windfarm is due to take shape at Armistead, near Old Hutton, despite widespread local opposition.

“The county council has grave concerns that the current targets for onshore wind-generated energy ride roughshod over the capacity of our landscapes and seascapes to satisfactorily accommodate further windfarms,” wrote Mr Martin.

“Cumbria’s environment is a key asset for economic well-being. The county council believes that a proliferation of windfarms will undermine efforts to address the county’s economic problems.”

Conservative energy minister Mr Hayes recently ruffled feathers with his Liberal Democrat superior after claiming windfarms would no longer be ‘imposed on communities’.

But Mr Davey later slapped down the comments, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to wind energy to meet EU targets.

Mr Martin’s letter to Mr Hayes continued: “Cumbria’s economy is already fragile and we cannot afford for it to be diminished or damaged even further.

“So, I call on the Secretary of State to reduce his fixation with windfarms and I fully support the stance you have so clearly and bravely articulated.”

It is understood the first turbine tower for the Armistead scheme, near Old Hutton, will be delivered next Wednesday, November 28, by developers Banks Renewables.

Meanwhile, the firm has equipped 20 homes at Killington, where it has applied for planning permission to build a windfarm, with a 3G-based broadband system in a month-long trial.

Banks has promised to identify how faster internet access can be improved in the village, but only if its windfarm scheme is approved by South Lakeland planners.

The company has allocated a so-called ‘community benefits fund’ to finance local projects.

Banks claims the windfarm – between the A684 and junction 37 of the M6 – would produce enough energy to power 8,100 homes annually and stop around 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere every year.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron used a Parliamentary Question to the Department of Energy and Climate Change to call for a new hydro energy strategy with Cumbria at the heart of it.

Mr Farron has asked the Government to provide financial support as well as considering allowing small hydro schemes to be installed under permitted development, with certain caveats attached for marine wildlife and biodiversity.

“Despite the fact that Cumbria has Britain’s fastest flowing waterways, there are only a few working hydro schemes in our county,” said Mr Farron.

Comments (6)

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10:53pm Wed 21 Nov 12

onelocal says...

Now that the Tory leader of Cumbria County Council has come out against windfarms, we can take bets that LibDem SLDC will approve the application for Killington. No love lost between the two.
Why do we need Banks to provide fast broadband to the village as a carrot?We heard today that CCC, BT and Tim Farron were going to deliver fast broadband to the whole county, no strings, or windmills attached.
Now that the Tory leader of Cumbria County Council has come out against windfarms, we can take bets that LibDem SLDC will approve the application for Killington. No love lost between the two. Why do we need Banks to provide fast broadband to the village as a carrot?We heard today that CCC, BT and Tim Farron were going to deliver fast broadband to the whole county, no strings, or windmills attached. onelocal
  • Score: 0

8:47am Thu 22 Nov 12

BentheBorderCollie says...

With a "leader" like Eddie, no wonder the Cumbrian economy is going nowhere.

I wonder will he join the call from leading players in the renewables sector this week for "a report, verified by the National Audit Office, describing the subsidies in the energy sector" (note: the whole energy sector).

Then we will see truly where the ‘extraordinary subsidies’ have gone and are going now.
With a "leader" like Eddie, no wonder the Cumbrian economy is going nowhere. I wonder will he join the call from leading players in the renewables sector this week for "a report, verified by the National Audit Office, describing the subsidies in the energy sector" (note: the whole energy sector). Then we will see truly where the ‘extraordinary subsidies’ have gone and are going now. BentheBorderCollie
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Thu 22 Nov 12

marianneb says...

Eddie needs to get his priorities right. His vehemence against wind energy is misdirected - if he takes a hike up to the top of Coniston Old Man there aint a wind turbine in view - only Sellafield and Heysham. The biggest threat to Cumbria and its neighbours is from new nuclear build at Sellafield and the worlds first high level waste dump under Ennerdale/Eskdale or the Allerdale area. Ed Davey is "sure Cumbrians will support" a nuclear dump - like hell. Wind turbines would be needed all over Cumbria not for domestic use but to provide energy to dewater, ventilate a dump and look after ever increasing and ever more dangerous wastes from Moorcide.
Eddie needs to get his priorities right. His vehemence against wind energy is misdirected - if he takes a hike up to the top of Coniston Old Man there aint a wind turbine in view - only Sellafield and Heysham. The biggest threat to Cumbria and its neighbours is from new nuclear build at Sellafield and the worlds first high level waste dump under Ennerdale/Eskdale or the Allerdale area. Ed Davey is "sure Cumbrians will support" a nuclear dump - like hell. Wind turbines would be needed all over Cumbria not for domestic use but to provide energy to dewater, ventilate a dump and look after ever increasing and ever more dangerous wastes from Moorcide. marianneb
  • Score: 0

10:02pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Jsgreen says...

The 8100 homes the developer states looks dubious to me, they have for some reason changed the base figure (kWhrs / household) used to calculate this number significantly, from 4700 kWhrs on 18th April, to 3300 kWhrs on 20th September. I asked the developer about this at a public meeting on 25th October, no significant reply was given, they did however state that whichever figure was used it was a lot of homes, the point they wished to demonstrate.
So 8100 homes may be actually 6134 or maybe less but what does it matter? I think it does as we need to balance the benefits against the harm to our countryside, so at the same meeting I asked Peter Thornton (Parish councillor, SLDC leader) to question this with the planning department, and unfortunately technically quite correctly he pointed out that this is not a planning issue???? Central government has taken away this option.
So recon it’s a job for you Steven Bell of WG do some investigative journalism and report the truth please.
The 8100 homes the developer states looks dubious to me, they have for some reason changed the base figure (kWhrs / household) used to calculate this number significantly, from 4700 kWhrs on 18th April, to 3300 kWhrs on 20th September. I asked the developer about this at a public meeting on 25th October, no significant reply was given, they did however state that whichever figure was used it was a lot of homes, the point they wished to demonstrate. So 8100 homes may be actually 6134 or maybe less but what does it matter? I think it does as we need to balance the benefits against the harm to our countryside, so at the same meeting I asked Peter Thornton (Parish councillor, SLDC leader) to question this with the planning department, and unfortunately technically quite correctly he pointed out that this is not a planning issue???? Central government has taken away this option. So recon it’s a job for you Steven Bell of WG do some investigative journalism and report the truth please. Jsgreen
  • Score: 0

10:28am Wed 28 Nov 12

JimTraficantforPresident says...

Travelling down the Old Scotch Road between the A684 and the Kirkby Lonsdale I used to see the protest signs by the locals against the proposed wind farm. When I could see the foundations going in on the far side of the open fell I just could not believe it. What a totally inappropriate place to industrialise.

Mariannab - There are plenty of Wind Turbines in view from the top of the Old Man.
Travelling down the Old Scotch Road between the A684 and the Kirkby Lonsdale I used to see the protest signs by the locals against the proposed wind farm. When I could see the foundations going in on the far side of the open fell I just could not believe it. What a totally inappropriate place to industrialise. Mariannab - There are plenty of Wind Turbines in view from the top of the Old Man. JimTraficantforPresident
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Kendal Jock says...

Developers,Renewable energy buffs and
brain-washed believers always overstate the benefits of wind power. I've yet to hear what the production and material costs are (produced by companies abroad, not in the UK). Please don't let us get like Alex Salmonds Scotland.Ugly
useless monsters, spoiling the beautiful countryside. Mile after mile of hundreds
of the things, and many not turning.
I have a friend whose son delivers 2 tanker loads per week to the Borders sites. I guess aprox, £40.000 per load
This is just one BIG CON.
Developers,Renewable energy buffs and brain-washed believers always overstate the benefits of wind power. I've yet to hear what the production and material costs are (produced by companies abroad, not in the UK). Please don't let us get like Alex Salmonds Scotland.Ugly useless monsters, spoiling the beautiful countryside. Mile after mile of hundreds of the things, and many not turning. I have a friend whose son delivers 2 tanker loads per week to the Borders sites. I guess aprox, £40.000 per load This is just one BIG CON. Kendal Jock
  • Score: 0

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