Newsletter October 2015

Dear Friends

As the year draws to a close, it is time to review recent events which have made a significant difference to our struggle against inappropriately sited renewable energy developments.

As discussed in our previous newsletter, there have been important changes to national government policy and to published planning guidance.

The requirement for community support for onshore wind energy appears to have reduced the number of new applications received locally, at least for the time being.  For further details of the new guidance, please refer to our website or revisit our August newsletter.

The effect of the new national guidance at planning appeal level is demonstrated by the following decision in which an Inspector resolved to dismiss using the June 18th Written Ministerial Statement without even examining other aspects of the case!  It is the shortest appeal decision we have come across.  It can be viewed via the link on the following page from the Inspectorate’s website:

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?Caseid=2227711&CoID=0

Unfortunately, the Government’s plan to cut subsidies for onshore wind appears be faring less well politically.  We will have to wait and see what happens to these proposals.

On the local front, Eden District Council has agreed the final draft of its Local Plan which will now be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for public examination.  In respect of wind energy, the draft plan ‘expects’ a minimum separation distance of 800m between turbines over 25m in height and residential properties.  This wording is exactly the same as used in the Allerdale Local Plan and, if approved, it will bring the two councils in line with each other.

In Allerdale, the new national planning guidance featured prominently at a meeting of the Council’s Development Panel held on Tuesday 20th October.  From a total of four wind turbine applications, three were refused in line with the planning officer’s recommendation.  The fourth was an application to erect a different model of turbine on a site where planning permission for a smaller model of turbine had already been granted.  No actual decision has been made on this application yet because a member of the public has asked for it to be called in by the Secretary of State.

A number of applications in Allerdale have been withdrawn recently, including the grotesque proposal to erect three wind turbines in close proximity to the existing wind farm at Westnewton.  Even the operators of the wind farm objected to that one, fearing that the new turbines would steal their wind!

Sighs of relief from the beleaguered residents of Westnewton were cut short by the emergence of a fresh application to install a second solar ‘farm’ near their village.  Westnewton is already home to a 32 hectare photovoltaic park in addition to the existing wind farm.  There must surely come a point when a community’s responsibility to contribute to renewable energy targets must reasonably be considered to have been discharged.  For this reason, we are taking this opportunity to ask for objections to the latest proposal which can be viewed via the following link:

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=135861

Our members have also asked for help in opposing an application submitted for a 74m wind turbine at Roundhill Farm, Welton.  This application is almost identical to one which was submitted earlier this year and withdrawn on the advice of Allerdale Borough Council.  On the first occasion, the applicant’s agents managed to rally support from far and wide with comments arriving from North Yorkshire, Longtown, and also from the contractors who would have carried out the work.  Given the requirement for community support which is the backbone of the new national planning guidance, it is important that we muster as many objections as possible.  The application can be viewed via the following link:

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=136160

 

On balance, we are relatively optimistic about the future but will, of course, remain on guard for signs of a renewed ‘gold rush,’ as experienced in the recent past.  Please take a moment to visit our website at

forcecumbria.org

If you have any questions or require further information, we will do our best to help.  Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment can be contacted via this email address.

Best wishes

 

Marion Fitzgerald on behalf of

 

Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment