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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Five-year extension agreed to controversial wind turbine

A WIND turbine that has divided opinion will be in place for 25 years – five years longer than initially agreed.

Copeland Council’s planning panel met last week and agreed to a five-year extension for the 45.5m-high turbine at Drigg Moorside Farm.

Members were told that the extension will ensure planning permission concurs with legal time frames the applicant, Stephen Shepherd, has entered into with the wind turbine suppliers.

The council received eight letters of objection to the time extension.

Concerns were expressed that if permission was granted for the extension this time, the applicant may seek to extend the timescale again in the future.

While other objectors said that an additional five years would be of no benefit to the community and environment.

But councillors were told: “It is unlikely that an additional five-year period would result in any significant demonstrable harm and it should be noted it would also extend the benefits associated with the proposal, in terms of renewable energy generation and reduced carbon footprint, for a further five years.”

The row over the turbine has been ongoing for nearly two years, since Mr Shepherd first sought permission for a 80m-high structure on his land, amid strong local objections.

Copeland Council turned down the proposal in May 2012. Mr Shepherd appealed against the decision, but this appeal was rejected by the government’s Planning Inspectorate which backed Copeland’s original decision.

The second turbine is almost half the height and 40 metres away from the previous site.

On the advice of their officers, councillors voted six to five in favour of awarding planning permission in May 2013, ruling that the benefits of generating renewable energy outweigh any potential harm on the landscape. Crucially, no objection was lodged by the Lake District National Park Authority.

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