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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Turbine extension sought

A CONTROVERSIAL wind turbine could be in place for 25 years – five years longer than initially agreed.

Stephen Shepherd, of Drigg Moorside Farm, has applied for a five-year extension for the 45.5m-high turbine to be in place, after being granted planning permission in May.

The row over the turbine has been ongoing for over 18 months, since applicant Stephen Shepherd first sought permission for a 80m-high structure on his land, amid strong local objections.

Copeland Council turned down this proposal last May. 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 proposed 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, 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.

The time extension application was submitted to Copeland Council this week.

A decision on the controversial Weddicar Rigg windfarm is due within the next month.

Copeland Council confirmed this week that the result will be revealed by the government’s Planning Inspectorate on or before December 7.

It is understood that the secretary of state will also call the decision for assessment before it is made final.

The developer, Banks Renewables, took its plans to an inquiry after Copeland Council twice refused planning permission.

On the windfarm – complete with six 115m high (377ft) turbines – earmarked for an elevated area of land between Moresby Parks and Frizington, councillors ruled against their own officers’ recommendation.

Councillors felt the negative visual impact was more important than the government’s policy on renewable energy.

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