Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Lune Valley residents battle Wind Farm plans, question motives of backers

Lune Valley residents are fighting another Wind Farm proposal, despite plans from Cheshire based company Community Windpower being thrown out before.

Community Windpower is has now submitted plans for a third time to erect 10 massive wind turbines, high up on the moor above the Lune Valley, near Lancaster, which residents say will ruin the wild beauty of the moors.

If the plans are approved, the new turbines would be built adjacent to the existing wind farm on Caton Moor.

"The new turbines would be much taller than the existing eight turbines on Caton Moor," says Lune Valley resident Steve Anthony. "They will also be sited on much higher land at the top of the moor and will be significantly more prominent in the Lune Valley and the surrounding villages.

"If the proposed application went ahead it would be a desecration of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."

Locals are objecting to the plans because they feel the development is of an inappropriate scale given its location within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Countryside Area, and that the development would have an adverse visual impact upon the landscape.

They also argue the development would have an adverse cumulative impact upon the environment affecting the area's biodiversity and hydrology , including within the Biological Heritage Sites, which has not been adequately assessed, so appropriate mitigation against and/or compensation for the development cannot be identified.

"The development would be overbearing, dominant and intrusive on a number of nearby residential properties," says Steve.

The campaigners also question the motivation behind the scheme - which it's felt by some are hardly "community friendly".

"Wind Farms generate very large profits for the Wind Farm Energy companies themselves and landowners from subsidies. Over £5 million a year, just in subsidy payments, This subsidy is paid for by us, the public - and is concealed in our electricity bills."

"The Lancaster and Morecambe area has already contributed considerably towards UK energy requirements via Heysham Power Station, the Morecambe Gas Field and the existing Caton Moor Wind Farm," Steve feels. "We don't deserve to be penalised by having our beautiful environment being scarred for another 25 years – all for the sake of donating even more money to wealthy landowners and greedy energy companies."

Community Windpower is offering the local community benefits to gain support for its plans, comprising of a Community Trust Fund of £1,000 per MW per year for 25 years, as guided by the RenewableUK Community Benefit Protocol.

The company says the Trust Fund for this project, based on an installed capacity of 23MW, would be £23,000 per annum for the lifetime of the project (25 years). Applications for funding would be open to community groups, charities, events and other parties from within the parishes of Caton-with-Littledale, Claughton, Hornby-with-Farleton and Roeburndale.

Based on a standard capacity factor of 30%, the company says the wind farm would generate electricity for over 13,000 local homes and displace around 25,990 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year (equivalent to 649,750 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 25 year life of the wind farm).

• The planning application and accompanying documents can be viewed via the Council's online planning portal by searching for the application reference number which is 13/00128/FUL.

• A copy of the Non-Technical Summary can be downloaded here.

• To comment on this application,  submit your comments to Lancaster Council. Send an email to re planning application reference 13/00128/FUL with your reasons why the application should be rejected.

Community Windpower Project Page

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