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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Stop the erection of an 80-metre turbine on highest land for miles

SIR – A warning to the people of Drigg and the surrounding villages. On March 8, The Whitehaven News published a planning application for the “erection of a single wind turbine” at Drigg Moorside Farm.

The fact that the application was associated with a farm may have led readers to suppose that the application was for a small turbine to help offset the energy costs at the farm.

Readers should be clear, this is not the case. This application is for a full-scale wind turbine standing 80 metres high – around 260ft to those who find 80m difficult to visualise. Still difficult to get a sense of scale? Well try these:

An average house is about seven metres high.

A very large tree may be as much as 15 metres.

Big Ben in London is around 90 metres. That’s right, we’re talking about a structure that is nearly as big as Big Ben.

And where is it proposed to build this huge structure? On the highest point between Seascale and Ravenglass. As a result it will tower maybe 130 metres over the surrounding area and be visible from St Bees to Ravenglass.

Bad enough? How about this? It will be built within less than a mile of the Lake District National Park boundary and only a couple of hundred metres from a National Nature Reserve at Halsenna Moor. That’s right, close to the National Park, in the way of what Britain voted the best view in the country and smack bang in the middle of the coastal plain and therefore highly visible from the Western Fells.

This letter is a warning to all. The council is obliged to publish the title of a planning application as written, hence the words that appeared in this paper. However the title could equally have been described as “application for the erection of a 80-metre high wind turbine on the highest land for miles” but perhaps the applicant thought that might raise some concerns in the area which could have a negative effect on the application.

My view is that this wind turbine would have a massive negative effect on the local environment and would change the character of the landscape forever. As such it cannot be allowed to happen. However the only way to stop this is to follow the planning process and raise and objection to the proposal.

To those of you who are resident or are users of this special area, I urge you to register your concerns by writing to the Copeland Borough Council Planning Department and registering your objection. But be quick – the clock is ticking and the deadline for raising objections is April 4.

Name and address supplied

SIR – As a recent visitor to Shepherds Views, Cottages and Campsite at Drigg, I noticed that there were signs in the village “no wind turbine at Drigg”. On enquiry to locals in the pub, I found out that it was to be put on land I was actually staying on, belonging to the same farm.

I shall not be returning. “Shepherds Views”, are they having a laugh? Have they thought about this?

To all holiday makers, there are lots of cottages and campsites at Eskdale, Wasdale, Ravenglass, Saltcoats, and Gosforth/Holmrook, none of which are going to have a huge great eyesore next to them!

Name and address supplied

STADIUM PLANS

SIR – Your headlines last week with reference to the proposed new Community Sports Stadium, were entertaining and attention- grabbing – object achieved. Apart from the headline entertainment value it is very easy, for many, to be wise after the event.

Personally I do try to see the positive and supportive angle, but I do feel failed by the groups and opposing groups in the Copeland Council driving seat. CBC is not on my Christmas card list!

If I bought a house on a hill surrounded by a farmer’s green field, with the obvious need for a garden path, I would want to be assured that I had a right of way to the front door.

In similar circumstances, with access a prime requirement to the proposed new Community Sports Stadium, has Copeland Council been very poorly advised by their legal and planning departments? These groups, not for the first time, do seem quite inept, not fit for purpose, with an echo of “we will learn from experience” in the background, and it does sound a bit hollow.

Comments from opposing political parties putting forward a bit of constructive positive lip work would be very agreeable. And as to the miners, I hope they never need a life boat when they are out at sea!

Do we need a basket under the guillotine? Time will tell.

Steve HASSON
Church Street, Whitehaven

REMPLOY

SIR – The Government has said it plans to close 36 Remploy sites across the country, following an independent review into disability. This would include the site on the Leconfield estate at Cleator Moor.

If this is an independent report that the Government has based its findings on, then how is it, according to Chris Juke, senior organiser for the GMB in Cumbria, that the review was produced by disability campaigner Liz Sayce, who is also chief executive of Radar, a national network of disability organisations, which does not support employment services such as Remploy?

What this report says to me is that this is a lame-duck Government, with no overall majority, held up by the Liberal Democrats, riding rough shod over everything it touches: the NHS, Royal Mail and now Remploy, and in the process wrecking people’s lives and livelihoods.

This Government is getting way too big for its boots and it seems to forget it doesn’t have an overall majority of its own. Indeed I would be very interested in what the Liberal Democrat Party has to say on the closure of Remploy. It is an absolute disgrace. I don’t know how David Cameron can sleep at night.

Peter ROTHERY
Fleswick Avenue, Woodhouse, Whitehaven

FUEL PRICING

SIR – Oh how my heart bleeds for poor Mr Trembath of Longmile Filling Station (Hills), having to sell his BP petrol for “only” £1.39.9 per litre (£6.36 per gallon). He claims that they are only making 1.2p per litre (5.45p per gallon). If this really is the case, then how can the BP station on the M74 just north of Carlisle sell it for £1.36.9 per litre, or 3p less?

How can the Shell station opposite sell petrol for £1.34.9 per litre? How can Shell and Esso be sold at £1.35.9p per litre in Carlisle and Penrith?

How can Total petrol be sold at £1.37.9p per litre in Maryport? Are the above giving it away without profit?

Would petrol be cheaper in Whitehaven and Workington if Hills had some competition from Shell?

J WILSON
Victoria Road, Whitehaven

MAYOR OF COPELAND

SIR – I am writing on behalf of the ladies’ luncheon club in respect to the recent issues in the Whitehaven News quoting a figure of speech by the mayor, Mr John Jackson, which appears to have been misconstrued on that particular “gentlemen’s evening”.

The sum of £1,200 was raised for the mayors’ charities – Macmillan Cancer Relief and Cumbria Young Carers, also on the Wednesday at our luncheon he was donated a cheque from the ladies’ luncheon club for these charities.

I do feel that his hard work has been justified, may we wish the mayor and mayoress our best wishes.

Marie SIMPSON
Secretary/Treasurer, Copeland Conservative Ladies’ Luncheon Club

NUCLEAR WASTE

SIR – Under the 1972 Local Government Act, civic parish councils in England can vote to request their local district council to hold a referendum on any issue of concern to the local parish. Once the parish council has voted in favour, the district council has to carry out the referendum.

The issue and wording of the question can be set down by any resident (not dictated by their councillors) and, provided at least five additional supporters can be found, a request can be made for a parish council meeting. The meeting must be advertised and at least 10 people must be present at the meeting. A formal motion to support the referendum (including the precise wording of the referendum) must be voted upon.

The motion will be carried if a third of those present, or at least 10 (whichever is the least) vote in favour. Once the resolution and request for a referendum has been submitted to the district council they must respond within a week and the referendum has to be held within 14 to 25 days.

With respect to the current (so- called) consultation on our area hosting an underground nuclear dump, a series of local referendum may be a way for residents to have a voice that cannot be so easily ignored. The cost of any referendum would be insignificant within the overall consultation expenditure.

Anyone interested can find full details of the process online, e.g. www.planet-thanet.fsnet.co.uk/parish_referendums.htm.

B WESTON,
Gosforth

SIR – On the nuclear waste repository issue, now, at last, the truth is beginning to emerge. With the whizz kids from America having been awarded that very lucrative contract to take AGR apart, and with great public fanfare (Whitehaven News, June 30, 2011), having proclaimed their success, now admitting that they have not, and probably never did have, the slightest idea of what to do with all of the bits and pieces.

Which, presumably, are now lying in a heap somewhere on the Sellafield site, being scoured by the wind and rain until, if our lords and masters in Whitehall have their way, they can be discreetly dumped in the same hole as all of the other contaminated junk and left to be completely washed clean by the flow of ground water.

And if the roof caves in? Well, no matter, it will still all be safely out of harm’s way. But tough luck on any farmers, or other residents, who lose their ground from any such, officially, totally unpredictable, and hence uninsured “Act of God”.

A decision that had then, of course, to be given a veneer of respectability, in true civil service fashion, by setting up an array of carefully selected expert committees – ie the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CORWM), the Criteria Proposal Group (CPG), and the Criteria Review Panel (CRP); the members of which, other than the chairman, have never been named. And even for those chairmen, the learned institutions to which they are attached, or their fields of technical expertise, have similarly never been stated.

That accomplished, it then but remained to find a suitable scapegoat in the event of anything going wrong. In this case, the British Geological Survey (BGS), who to quote Craze’s (DECC) weasel words, were “required to look at existing information about geology of West Cumbria and to confirm that the whole of the geology in the area isn’t unsuitable”.

Required? To confirm? Isn’t unsuitable? In any language, that means just one thing, that BGS were being told, from the outset, under threat of official displeasure, what they were and were not to say. While also being absolutely forbidden to carry out any field work, to even mention the existence of a geological fault system, or to consider anything more than the known mineral resources that might, someday, be worth mining. It seems that while their brief, originally, included consideration of ground water flow that has since been amended, with the very obvious risk of that ground water entering, and flooding, the proper underground cavity just simply brushed aside. And whether the “existing information” included the NIREX assessment of the local geology is far from clear.

What is quite clear is that CORWM is fixated on underground storage, to the total exclusion of any alternative, such as simply converting both the high and intermediate level waste liquor to a rigorously dry and chemical inert powder, separate from the chemically active fraction that can be made into glass, and then putting both components back inside the redundant, clapped-out, nuclear reactor shells.

Which after all, were designed and built for just that purpose, to safely contain the radiation. Melt down? No problem, simply mix the powder equally, rigorously dried aluminium oxide.

That said, to may well be that, for good sound technical reasons, as opposed to any instantaneous knee jerk response from officialdom, that is not a practical proposition. But could we please at least be told what those reasons are?

As to the semi-official line, on the basis of a very limited historical record, that the likelihood of a serious earthquake in this area can be safely discounted, just because, metaphorically speaking, the motorway traffic is too far away to shake the ground, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to burrow under a pile of loose bricks ie: the faulted bed rock that would overlie any such repository.

And I seem to recall that, some 15 months ago, the roof tiles and chimney pots around here were thus given a good hefty rattle. Another inconvenient fact that has also been brushed aside.

Now we have Knowles (the ex-works secretary at Sellafield) and his cohort of self-appointed “stake-holders”, aided and abetted by Woodburn Moore and Co, arrogating. to themselves (letters, March 1, 2012) the authority to override public opinion, should that opinion conflict with what they have clearly already decided and trying to make political capital out of the fact that Core, Friends of The Earth and Greenpeace have, very sensibly refused to join their “Partnership”.

Very sensibly because, if they had walked into that trap, they would then have just been shouted down, with their credibility destroyed by being made to appear complicit in the “Partnership” decision. Not to mention, become a party to the relentless brain washing that we all have been subjected to, and which, incidentally, we are all paying for.

What Knowles et al will certainly never do is invite them to act as independent scrutineers of the final vote count. And I confidently expect that, when this consultation period ends, and the time comes for all of the responses, for and against, to be thus counted, we will simply be told, from behind closed doors, that, “The Ayes have it”.

J TAYLOR
Dyke Street, Frizington

SIR – Friday evening’s ITV1’s Lookaround carried a piece saying that Cumbria County Council was looking into taking over the Northern Rail franchise with ‘other partners’.

In your report of Dec 1, 2010, you announced the £5.7 million NDA and NMP funding “to create a new container-handling facility, including the installation of a new harbour crane to enable the port to handle large shipping containers from all over Europe”.

In a later piece, dated May 21, commenting on “Iggesund’s plans to spend £100 million on a new biomass power station”, you concluded with “Meanwhile, the Port of Workington project is being delivered on time and on budget. A new container crane has already been delivered and it is expected the container-handling facility will be fully operational by late summer this year. Total funding through Britain’s Energy Coast is £5.7 million.”

What has not been put in the public domain is that IF the Moorside Power Station is given the FINAL go ahead that each of the three Westinghouse AP1000 ‘modular’ reactors that are shipped in 50 (site total 150) ‘very large’ containers (that will HAVE to be landed directly via a beach ramp – just like Evaporator D – what a surprise!) and the other 250 (site total 750) ‘small’ 3.7m x 3.7m x 24.4m (12’x12’x80’) 80-ton containers (rail shippable in the USA on the same international rail gauge) will have to be shipped from where they are landed to Sellafield.

Prior to my submission on the siting of a power station in Cumbria in March 2009 I asked the rail company to see if the criteria (clearances on bends, ‘over rail’ structures etc) specified by Westinghouse for rail shipment could be met on the West Coast line. The answer was NO, due “to the gauge restrictions”.

Further, after the May article above, I asked the Workington Port Authority if the new container crane could handle these containers and it would seem that, although being at its upper 84-ton limit, it would be possible. Co-incidentally, I asked Direct Rail Services (an NDA subsidiary) about the possibility of shipping these containers on the West Coast line.

Again the answer was NO saying “Should we acquire a wagon with a max bogie centre of 19m at a length of 24.4m due to overthrow we would be restricted to a width of 2565mm”, indicating the limited clearances on the rail route that would need to be modified before NDA use.

It would seem that once again the taxpayer and local populace is being disingenuously misinformed as to the REAL REASONS for the county council to make this announcement.

This is their common method for neither explaining the full consequences of a new power station at Sellafield with its new National Grid and its ‘build supply’ requirements or the rather aptly named WC Repository.

Never mind the passengers, think of the nuclear freight!

Arthur MILLIE
Longcroft, Egremont

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