Newsletter No. 19
A year of Public Inquiries and Fund Raising
This has undoubtedly been our hardest year since FELLS was founded. We made written submissions to Public Inquiries at Newland Farm near Carlisle and Hellrigg near Silloth. The result of the former is still awaited but sadly, the latter development proposal was approved. We also gave evidence at the Berrier Hill PI which is currently adjourned until January 26th due to illness of one of the witnesses for the Council and took a full part in the Grise wind farm PI which finished this month. At Grise (at Skelton north of Penrith), FELLS took on the role of ‘lay advocate’ for the local people who did not have the resources to hire a professional. In addition we gave evidence and advice to those who wished to speak in their own right. A good case was put but it was always going to be a hard one to win. The result should come through in February or March . The greatest effort however, has been centred around the Armistead and Sillfield PIs, two sites in the Kendal Low Fells within 2 km of each other but from different developers. To contest these, an umbrella group was formed called the Countryside Protection Consortium of South Lakes (CPCSL). FELLS was the ’lead’ organisation in this consortium but other member- groups were ABlot and STOP (formed in Old Hutton and Gatebeck to spearhead the local fight). In addition LandscapeFirst (fighting the Hutton Roof proposal) as well as several Parish Councils and other organisations joined. CPCSL was chaired by Rob McQuarrie from Gatebeck. As you will realise, this was a real team effort in every sense of the word with upwards of 25 people heavily involved in one way or another. Everyone deserves the highest praise and everyone played their part in full. Our case for both Inquiries used Geoff Sinclair as our lay advocate and landscape specialist. Geoff did a great job, was always accessible, showed infinite patience even when under pressure, and was able to draw on his huge experience of windfarm PIs (over 70 to date). We also had the excellent services of Lee Hoare, a data analyst who specialises on wind farm noise. All of this cost a lot of money and during 2009 we raised over £36,000. There have been open gardens at Whelprigg, Whittington Hall, and Rigmaden Park (the latter with a delightful musical evening), Auctions of Promises, coffee mornings, and direct appeals for donations. Friends of the Lake District kindly donated £2,000 to our cause. Thank you all for your generosity. There was very little support for the wind farm locally except for the predictable tirade about climate change from ‘Green’ groups. As you can see from the rest of this newsletter the fight goes on.
A Very Happy Christmas & Successful 2010 to all our supporters
A year of Public
1 Inquiries and Fund Raising 1
Armistead Update The North West
Lancashire battleground by Joe Shennan 2
Wind farm status
from Caton to Carlisle
debate ‘hots up’ and book reviews
FOR MEMBERSHIP ENQUIRIES CONTACT General & Membership Secretary Ann Hinchliffe, Middleshaw Hall, Old Hutton, KENDAL, LA8 0LZ Tel: 01539 728055 firstname.lastname@example.org Patrons
The Duke of Westminster. OBE, TD, DL . The Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria Mr James Cropper
Update on Armistead
We were very disappointed with the Inspector’s decision to recommend approval for this scheme near Old Hutton after a 2-week public inquiry and two years of work. However, a colleague advised us that the decision appeared legally flawed and could be challenged. As a result a Statutory Appeal was launched, something you have to do within 6 weeks. The case was put together by Susan Ring, a solicitor with Richard Buxton Solicitors, who specialise in Environmental & Planning Law, in the name of the family closest to the turbines. Mrs Ring identified seven legal flaws with the Inspector’s decision and the case was ‘Sealed’ with the High Court on September 1st 2009. We expect a result in either February or March but a positive outcome could mean the quashing of the Inspector’s decision.
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The North West Lancashire battleground — an overview by Joe Shennan
The proposal by Community Windpower to erect 20 new turbines 126.5 metres high (415 feet) on Claughton Moor and Whit Moor (23 opposite) received its first formal scrutiny on 26 November at a public meeting of Hornby Parish Council. Around 80 people heard a representative of the developer argue that an extension of the Caton Moor windfarm would obviate the need for further sites to be developed in other parts of the region. This was precisely the argument used when the original Caton Moor site was enlarged in 2003. Members of FELLS will be well aware of the large number of proposals submitted after that date. The argument is rendered doubly spurious because Claughton Moor, like Caton Moor, is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Notably the developer’s presentation did not show a single photomontage and yet the impact on views from Hornby High Street, the Crook’O Lune, Clougha Pike and several other locations will be devastating. The developer has also added considerably to the list of sweeteners regularly deployed by aspiring windfarm operators: an educational ranger to work with local schools, a BeGreen energy advice service, funding for environmental and eco-friendly community projects, student bursaries, and so on. The financial reality behind this impressive list, as a member of the audience observed, was probably the expenditure of around a week’s profits from the development. It is regrettable that the Parish Council did not feel it necessary to extend the meeting to include a counter view from an organisation such as FELLS. Had it done so the balance would have been restored. Nevertheless, the almost universal criticism which followed Community Windpower’s presentation was informed, wide ranging and passionate. People raised issues of water and peat displacement, questioned the veracity of parts of the submission, and challenged the national value for money aspect of the whole project. Supporters of the proposal were in very short supply. One of the few who was, argued that this public meeting was undemocratic because it had attracted only those who felt strongly about this proposal, and was not representative of the younger generation whose future energy needs were in some way being thwarted by a roomful of greybeards! It was an argument in favour of political apathy: you, the Parish Council, should vote in favour of those who have not bothered to come, yet whose views you claim to second guess. On the level of Parish politics this absurd approach might appear to be of no account. But it does reflect what is happening at a national level. However persuasive and coherent the local democratic opposition may be, government is increasingly inclined to claim that it is right to overrule such voices and implement its preferred policies by diktat since it knows best what the whole electorate needs. On this occasion the Parish Council rejected the developer’s proposal, though only by 6 votes to 4. It was a small victory for local democracy and a reminder of the fact that if beautiful landscapes are not to be permanently despoiled local communities and their representatives must be willing to take on both the developers and Big Brother. However, it was reassuring to observe the solidarity and strength of feeling displayed last Thursday in Hornby Primary School. Clearly Community Windpower Ltd has a fight on its hands! A little further up the valley just north of Whittington a second wind farm is in the offing at High Biggins. It has now been officially named by the developer (E-ON) as Longfield Tarn after a small water body on the site (21 opposite). The 9 turbines would be up to 110 metres tall (360 feet). They will dominate the Hutton Roof village and crags much frequented by walkers and ramblers, be highly visible from Inglborough and be within 2 km of the centre of Kirkby Lonsdale. To make matters worse, Kirkby Lonsdale itself will be on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park if the consultation proposals from Natural England are enacted. All nine turbines are just inside Lancashire but will clearly have a major impact on Cumbria as well. So far the developer has published a ‘Scoping Study’ setting out the issues it will need to address. Notably Longfield Tarn and a small pool on the site both have populations of Great Crested Newts and a special licence will be needed to develop the site. Between Claughton and Longfield Tarn there remains yet a third threat of a 5-turbine wind farm at Cragg Lot, Arkholme (22 opposite). This proposal has, so far, not materialised but scoping studies have been carried out and we cannot assume the proposal has gone away. If all three schemes went ahead, the industrialisation of the lower Lune Valley would be almost complete, something we simply cannot allow to happen.
The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC)
The IPC was set up under the recent Planning Act and is expected to make its first decisions in March or April next year. It is only supposed to apply to wind farms greater than 50 megawatts onshore and 100 megawatts offshore but there are already signs that the Government is seeking to bend the rules to include smaller wind farms. This might happen by ‘bundling’ two or three smaller wind farms together to exceed the 50MW, or by downright cheating. The Department of Communities & Local Government has already written to Chief Planning Officers and the Planning Inspectorate suggesting that National Policy Statements (NPSs) are ‘significant material considerations’ even for smaller schemes. This is not only a deception but is illegal as the NPSs have to be approved by parliament before they can figure in the decision-making process. A Government such as this does not deserve to survive.
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WIND FARM STATUS FROM CATON TO CARLISLE DECEMBER 2009 This map shows the intensity of development pressure now being applied to North Lancashire and the Lune and Eden Valleys in Cumbria.
Numbers 1 to 5 (CHECKBOARD) = Public Inquiry Number 6 (SQUARES) = Consented Number 7 to 11 (DOTTED) = Status uncertain Numbers 12 to 13 (HEAVY CIRCLE) = Operating Numbers 14 to 23 (HORIZONTAL LINES) = Scoping Study or Planning Numbers 24 to 25 (BLACK) = Refused after Public Inquiry
Names of the wind farms are given below [Brackets show number of turbines where known]
= Newland Farm, Cumwhinton (3) = Grise, near Skelton (9) 3 = Berrier Hill, near Greystoke (9) 4 = Armistead, Old Hutton (6) 5 = Sillfield, Gatebeck (3) 6 = Pirelli, Carlisle (1) 7 = Lamonby, (5) 8 = Whinfell 9 = Greyrigg 10 = Killington (?) 11 = Dalton Crag, Burton- in-Kendal (6) 12 = Lambrigg (5) 13 = Caton Moor (8) 14 = Lazonby Fell, north of Penrith (5) 15 = Sleagill/Reagill, NE of Shap (11) 16 = Shap REP (10) 17 = Kelleth Rigg, near Tebay (?) 18 = Firbank Fell, opposite Lambrigg (?) 19 = Killington Lake (2) 20 = Scout Hill (3) 21 = Longfield Tarn, near Hutton Roof (9) 22 = Cragg Lot, near Arkholme (5) 23 = Claughton Moor adjacent to Caton (20) 24 = Whinash (27) 25 = Hoff Moor near Orton (3) 2 1
Stribers (Cartmel) — The anemometer is in place but so far there has been no sign of the application that was originally stated to be due in Spring 2009. The local committee are very well organised. For upto-date information visit their excellent web site at www.cartmelvalleyturbines.com. Berrier Hill — The Public Inquiry was adjourned until Tuesday January 26th due to the illness of the Council’s landscape witness. Try to give your support again on that day by turning up at Mungrisedale Village Hall at 10am. This is close to the LDNP boundary and in front of Blencathra. Bewcastle area — Banks Developments have launched consultations for three wind farms NE of Carlisle. One is for 20 turbines and the others for 10 each. Moudy Mea — near Brough in the Pennines AONB. Same company that is trying to develop Claughton Moor inside the Forest of Bowland AONB. If they succeed with either then the floodgates will open even wider as designated areas will suddenly become fair game. No recent developments. Threapland — BT intend to apply for 4 turbines close to Bothel where there are already the 8 turbines of Wharrels Hill w/f. Ron Williams, who already has major problems with noise and flicker from Wharrels Hill, will be surrounded. These will also have a serious impact on the Skiddaw/Blencathra range. Roosecote Wind cluster — application for 3 turbines SE of Barrow-in-Furness has been submitted.
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COMMITTEE MEMBERS President Sir Timothy Kimber Bt, Newton Hall, Whittington, Lancs, LA6 2NZ Tel: 015242 71232 Chairman Dr Mike Hall, The Old Byre, Rigmaden Court, Mansergh, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria LA6 2ET Tel: 015242 76460 Vice Chairman Mr Shaun Laidler, Grayrigg, Cumbria Tel: 01539 824366 Secretary/Treasurer Ann Hinchliffe—see page 1 Minutes Secretary Mrs Beryl Henderson, Nr Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria Tel: 015242 76271 Mr Kyle Blue Town Head House, Orton, Cumbria Tel: 015396-24422 Prof. John Davis Craiglands, Sedbergh, Cumbria Tel: 015396 22136 Mr Stephen Hinchliffe, Middleshaw Hall, Old Hutton, Kendal, LA8 0LZ Tel: 01539 728055 Belinda Lancing,, Firbank House, Sedbergh, Cumbria Tel: 015396-20465 Mr Malcolm Leadbetter, Speel Bank Bungalow, Beckside, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7SP Tel: 015395 36404 Ms Georgina Perkins, Shap, Cumbria Tel: 01931-716638 Mr William Wilson, Mansergh Nr Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria Tel: 015242 76406 Dr Jenny Woodhouse Weasdale, Cumbria Tel: 015396 23464 Richard Challenor (Co-opted), The Old Vicarage, Hutton Roof Carnforth, LA6 2PG
Climate Change Debate ‘Hots Up’
What is happening in the world of climate change? You may well ask. In the frenzied run up to ‘Copenhagen’ scare stories abound and every politician and his dog are clamouring for press space and brownie points. But the world stubbornly refuses to get any warmer. In the last 15 years there has been no statistically significant warming trend whilst since 1998 it seems to have cooled despite a rise in CO2 level of 5% in that time. To add to the frenzy we have had the revelations that the Hadley Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia appears to have been less than honest with the truth and may even have manipulated data to ‘prove’ that humans are responsible for climate change. And that from one of the four top climate monitoring organisations in the world on whose results trillions of dollars are being spent. While Channel 4 and newspapers gave this story full coverage and the US media are hot on the trail the BBC gave only limited coverage. The BBC has forfeited any basis it ever had for respect. We have also had three books published recently which add fuel to the flames and cast serious doubts about past and future strategy. The first, Sustainable Energy— without the hot air by Professor David MacKay (free as a download from the Internet or £17.99 from Amazon). As a Professor in the Department of Physics (Cambridge), he has analysed the contribution renewables could make to our energy needs but without taking sides in the climate change debate. Soon after the book appeared he was made Chief Energy Advisor to Ed Miliband. His conclusions pose serious questions for the Government’s push for renewables, notably wind power. The second is The Wind Farm Scam by John Etherington, a well known ecologist. It is a small book, well written and should be essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of the UK countryside covered in wind turbines (£6.48 from Amazon). It asks and answers all those questions about the utility of wind turbines, how they work and whether they can deliver. The title of the book says it all. Essential reading. Finally Christopher Booker’s The Real Global Warming Disaster traces the convoluted and hardly believable way in which this story has been ramped up for political and financial gain (£9.86 from Amazon). It poses the question; Is the obsession with climate change the most costly scientific blunder in history? The most likely answer seems to be ‘Yes’. A gripping read. In recent polls 92% of people said they believe global warming data is being manipulated for political ends and over 60% don’t believe the global warming hype put out by Government. If you remain doubtful read the 16-page Skeptics Handbook on line (just put this into the Google search engine). Simple but focussed on the key issues.
Changes on the FELLS committee
The AGM on August 19th saw three of our committee retire—not surprising considering FELLS has been established almost 10 years. Prof Joe Shennan has served as our President for the whole of that time. He attended almost every committee meeting and chaired numerous meetings in public halls up and down the Lune corridor. His insight, wisdom and charm will be much missed by us all. Simon Elliott, another ‘lifer’ has been willing to undertake almost any task needed from leaflet delivery, to arranging exhibitions, taking minutes, and catalysing support. Frank Melford joined later but his career in both coal and nuclear power stations, and his willingness to speak in Public Inquiries has been invaluable as a resource to all of us. Our thanks go to all of them and we are delighted all are remaining in touch. To compensate for these changes, Sir Tim Kimber has assumed the role of President, Mike Hall has become Chairman, Shaun Laidler has become Vice-Chairman whilst Ann Hinchliffe has assumed a wider role as both Secretary and Treasurer. We also welcome three new members, Stephen Hinchliffe who played a big part in the Armistead campaign, Malcolm Leadbetter who is at the forefront of the Stribers (Cartmel) campaign and Richard Challenor, a former member, who has been co-opted to assist his group (LandscapeFirst) and us in the Hutton Roof battle which is about to commence.
We always welcome feedback/enquiries from members by post or E-mail. Email: Georgina Perkins at email@example.com
FELLS is pro-renewables but believes that every application has to be assessed on its financial, landscape and amenity costs. FELLS is a voluntary organisation funded entirely by subscription. While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this text, FELLS cannot be held responsible for any errors that may occur.