Parish Councils in Lowick, Blawith and Subberthwaite, Egton-cum-Newland, Osmotherly and Mansriggs and Kirkby &Ireleth have all objected to the proposal by the energy giant RWE Innogy UK to repower’ the existing Kirkby Moor Wind Farm. Consent for the existing wind farm runs out in 2018, and the developers want to replace it with a new farm, with six new turbines that, at 115m to the tip of the blades, would stand almost three times as high as the familiar old ones on the skyline of the moor.
Local residents and Parish Councils, as well as regional organisations, are appalled at the prospect, and are linking up to form an Action Group that will co-ordinate responses to the Application. The final deadline for public comments to be before South Lakeland District Council’s Planning Committee has been set at 15th May.
Lowick Parish Councillor Liz Vaughan is organising open Public Meetings at Water Yeat Village Hall on Monday 16th March and at Lowick Community Hall on Tuesday 17th March, both at 7.30 p.m. The main speaker will be Environmental Consultant Doug Cross, from Lowick.
Doug has been involved in examining Environmental Statements on projects great and small for over forty years, and will comment on the Application from an environmental and social perspective But the meetings will be open for public debate, so that everyone will be able to ask questions to those who have been examining the Application.
Views are running high in the Crake Valley. Some fear that this would spoil the landscape of the South Lakes area, and that living near the huge machine might have unpleasant effects on them. Their potential effect on property values is also a serious worry to many.
But environmental organisations are also very concerned. A large part of Kirkby Moor has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and is subject to enhanced protection against disturbance and damage to the ecology of the Moor.
“This is the fifth application that has been submitted for wind turbines in this immediate area since I came here, over 20 years ago,” Councillor Vaughan complains. “They just won’t take ‘No!’ for an answer!”
The new Action Group was resurrected at short notice from the group that so effectively opposed recent attempts to build a single turbine on Lowick Common,. It is inviting local people with expertise to join together to examine the huge amount of documentation on the project submitted by RWE Innogy.
“I am staggered at the sheer bulk of this Application.” says Doug Cross. ”We have had to farm parts of it out to other members of the public to work through, so that we can meet the May deadline set by the Planning Regulations. With everyone pulling together we’ll get a full and clear response to the Council in time. Then it’ll be up to them to decide if they will allow yet more highly visible and ancient Common Land to be turned into an industrial landscape, right on the edge of the National Park.”