Friends of the Lake District welcome the decision by South Lakeland District Council Planning Committee to refuse the application by Zephyr Investments to retain the turbines on Kirby Moor, on the Furness peninsula, Cumbria, until 31st March 2027.
While recognising the importance of renewable energy development in providing clean energy sources, membership charity Friends of the Lake District believes that these turbines have served their purpose and are now at the end of their working life. Throughout their 25 years operation, the turbines have a significant detrimental impact on the landscape and, in particular on the setting of the Lake District National Park which is now a World Heritage Site.
Laura Fiske, Planning Officer at Friends of the Lake District, said: “This decision is a victory for the local communities who live in the shadow of this development imposed on them by the Government in the early 1990s. This decision reflects the tireless effort they have put in to make their voices heard.
“In terms of both landscape and wildlife, the site at Kirkby Moor which is also a SSSI (a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a protected area for conservation) has never been acceptable for this type of development, and the removal of these turbines will have a net benefit to the local landscape and beyond.’
“Our objections to this application were on the basis of continuing harmful impacts on the landscape and on views into and out of the Lake District; the fact that the applicant has previously stated that the turbines were at the end of their working lives, and that granting permission for a time extension would set a precedent allowing other windfarms to extend beyond their 25 year lifespans.”
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society said: “We objected because the turbines are a severe intrusion in a wild landscape, highly visible from many directions and in particular from the Lake District National Park.
“Furthermore, the turbines occupy a significant area of registered common land, where the public has the right to walk and commoners have the right to graze stock. The moor is also criss-crossed with public rights of way.
“It is wonderful news that the council has rejected the plans. Now we need to make sure that every trace of the turbines is removed when the current consent expires next year, so that this magnificent common is restored to its former glory.”
Friends of the Lake District spoke at the Planning Committee alongside local residents, Parish Councillors and County Councillors, who also opposed an extension to planning permission.