HISTORY was made today after a cluster of wind turbines was approved for the first time in the Lake District.

Three 15-metre high wind turbines will be built at the Kirkstone Pass Inn after members of the Lake District National Park Authority’s development control committee voted nine to two in favour of the scheme.

“It wasn’t an application, rather a plea for the survival of the pub,” said an emotional John Jennings, who runs the Kirkstone Pass Inn. “We can now get on with the future and if this application was rejected today the pub would have shut.”

Power to the hillside hostelery is currently supplied by diesel generators, which cost £25,000 a year to run and produce 93.5 tonnes of carbon waste. The meeting was told the wind turbines will reduce the use of the generators by 75 per cent.

Members heard that the impact on the landscape would be minimal because the turbines would be seen as part of the inn which stands 1,500ft above Ambleside.

But Mike McKinley, who opposed the application, said: “There has to be an impact on the landscape when you have three wind turbines alien to the landscape, made of alien material.”

The National Trust also questioned the impact turbines would have on how the area looked.

But members believed that the economic needs of the pub and the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere outweighed any aesthetic concerns.

Members also felt that approving the turbines would not set a precedent for more clusters of wind turbines to be built in the national park.

“We felt on balance that the applicant had explored all the different options for renewable technology and it wasn’t viable,” said Richard Pearse, of Friends of the Lake District.

“The bottom line is we felt that the turbines would be acceptable in landscape terms.

“Had this been elsewhere, it might not have been appropriate but on balance, we thought the turbines were in the most suitable solution.”

Lakes Parish Council also supported the building of the turbines, saying in a statement that it was “essential this important public house is kept open.”

The other renewable energy options considered for the pub included solar panels, which would have cost £210,000 and covered an area over 320 square metres.

Hooking the pub into the main electricity grid would have cost £275,000.

The cost of the turbines is around £135,000.