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SLDC Planners Discuss Kirkby Moor Windfarm's Future

South Lakeland planners are expected to approve extending the life of the Kirkby Moor wind farm today (Tuesday).

The moor - which is five kilometres north west of Ulverston, and just one mile from the Lake District, has been the site of 12 turbines since 1993.

They had been due to be decommissioned next year, but SLDC is likely to approve a ten year extension to the site's lifespan.

135 letters of objection have been received, including from Cumbria Tourism and Friends of the Lake District, while 32 letters in favour have also been sent in.

Those with no objection include The Lake District National Park, English Nature, Historic England and the Duddon & Furness Mountain Rescue team.

Permission to generate electricity at Kirkby Moor is expected to be granted, with the condition that power shall cease to be generated there by the 31st of March 2027.

You can see the full report here.

Below: A summary of the support expressed to SLDC:

• The Lake District National Park, English Nature and Historic England do not object.

• Original planning permission did not rule out time extension.

• Proposal goes beyond the original conditions. 

• Ecological mitigation provided as part of the wind farm proposal will provide a net ecological benefit for the site there is no evidence that they disturb wildlife.

• Would improve and restore the SSSI.

• Given the state of climate change - why oppose this.

• Will always require more power.

• The windfarm will still make a contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. Alternative energy generation should be available for the good of the country.

• Better than more nuclear.

• Windfarm has some disbenefits but is greener and environmentally preferable to alternatives.

• If turbines remain in good condition then why not extend time.

• The wind farm provides local employment.

• Gives good work, good wages, pension and health care scheme.

• The economy of Cumbria cannot rely on tourism alone.

• Mountain Rescue Team has been supported and utilise infrastructure for radio equipment and this is vital to their operation.

• Will provide monies available to local community. 

Below: A summary of objections given to SLDC:

• Adverse visual impact; the turbines remain visible for miles around, greatly detract from the high amenity value of the surrounding landscape and enjoyment of this area by locals and visitors. It is an ugly scar and impacts on historic sites.

• The Lake District National Park now has World Heritage Site status.

• The wind farm was an experiment that has run its course.

• Would not be acceptable today it was approved contrary to the wishes of locals and was a call in by the Secretary of State, no longer in the National Interest.

• The turbines would impact on views from many popular locations from within the National Park which is a World Heritage status and would have a serious detrimental effect on views experienced by visitors in an area heavily dependent on the local tourism economy. 

• The existing turbines were only meant to be in place for 25 years. They should be removed in accordance with the condition attached to the original consent and the land restored to its natural state. The decommissioning does not require further consent. It is essential that the concrete bases should be completely removed.

• There is no justification for retaining the structures on the environment other than for financial gain. The turbines will continue to take subsidies paid for by the consumers and tax payers.

• There have been many advances in the production of wind energy and offshore turbines have proved more efficient and have less adverse impacts on local communities and sensitive landscapes. There are better alternatives.

• Were told in the re-powering application that the turbines were worn out.

• The existing turbines will begin to breakdown more frequently and give further issues in terms of noise, need for access onto the moor by maintenance vehicles.

• The proposal would continue to have unacceptable impacts on local residents in terms of noise impacts; the quality of life would be harmed.

• There will be a continuing adverse impact on the Kirkby Moor SSSI resulting in the damage / loss of habitat and wildlife especially moorland birds. It will adversely affect the mires and heather moorland.

• An increase in flooding in Chapels has occurred. 

An SLDC report concludes: "The proposal will continue to make a tangible contribution to targets for renewable energy generation, and although it is considered that this does not completely outweigh the harmful landscape, visual and cumulative impacts of the development including the adverse impacts upon the setting of the Lake District National Park.

"There is sufficient evidence of the public benefit arising out of the continuing production of renewable energy for a discrete period of time, this is further tilted positively by the cumulative public benefit arising from a comprehensive programme for decommissioning the turbines, the restoration of the moorland affected directly by the turbines and the regeneration of nearby moorland and mires within the SSSI."

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