CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop South Lakeland being ‘industrialised’ by scores of wind turbines have had their cause bolstered by senior opposition politicians.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and the Tory energy spokesman Greg Clark have both said they would protect the area’s landscape from windfarm proliferation.

They spoke out after a top Labour advisor predicted Britain’s countryside needed to host far more windfarms than are currently being proposed.

Prof David MacKay, the new chief scientific advisor at the Department of Engergy and Climate Change, warned Britain could begin running out of power within seven years because new energy sources were not being built fast enough.

He said: “If we want to have a plan that mainly relies on renewables then we need to be imagining industrialising really large tranches of the countryside.”

But Mr Clegg told The Westmorland Gazette this would not happen if the Lib Dems were in a position to influence energy policy.

“I know how committed people in South Lakeland are to creating renewable energy — but the focus must always be on energy generation that is suited to each local area,” he said.

“The huge untapped energy source in the Lakes is water.

“We will protect the historic landscape of the South Lakes and will not allow it to become industrialised. What Cumbria needs is an ambitious programme to make sure that its hydro and tidal energy potential is properly tapped.”

Meanwhile, Mr Clark, the Conservative Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, told the Gazette that under a Tory government windfarms would not be imposed on South Lakeland against local democratic wishes.

In what amounts to a criticism of a planning inspector’s decision to approve the Armistead windfarm at Old Hutton after it was rejected by local planners, he said: “While I support the need for renewable energy — including both onshore and offshore wind — I believe that such developments should be fully subject to the planning decisions of the communities in which they would be sited.”

Gareth McKeever, the prospective Conservative candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “On-shore wind in South Lakeland is a blight on our countryside and potentially very damaging to our tourism economy.

“I believe that wind has a place to play in our nation's energy footprint but that it should be concentrated off-shore or in those parts of our country where the landscape is less densely populated and visited. With abundant water in Cumbria, we also ought to be focused on hydro power and play to our strength.”

South Lakeland has just one operating windfarm at Lambrigg, with construction of the second, Armistead, yet to get under way.