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articles > 2017

In August 2017, the Society received notification from South Lakeland District Council about a proposed time extension to the existing site at Kirby Moor Wind Farm. The wind farm is due for closure on 26th August 2018 after 25 years. In 2015 there was a proposal to remove the 12 turbines and replace them with 6 taller turbines nearly three times the height (377’). This proposal was rejected and this is a new application to extend the life of the existing turbines until 31st March 2027 with one year to dismantle and return the site to its former condition.

The Society is objecting to the proposed time extension and has submitted the following statement to South Lakeland District Council.

SL/2017/0687 Variation of Condition no 6 attached to planning permission 5/90/2312 (Erection of 15 wind turbines and construction of access ways) to vary the temporary time condition to allow retention of turbines until 31 March 2027, followed by one year to carry out decommissioning works.

Response by the Wainwright Society

When Alfred Wainwright was exploring the Coniston fells and, later, the southern Outlying Fells of Lakeland he extolled the virtues of the views from the summits of the greater and lesser heights and, in particular, he noted the exquisite beauty of the seascapes and estuaries that could be enjoyed from these tops. In his chapter on Coniston Old Man he wrote: ‘A vast seascape makes a glorious sweep across the southern horizon, ranging from the Pennines to Black Combe, and further west, to the Isle of Man. A rare beauty is added to the scene by the silver waters of the Kent, Leven and Duddon estuaries.’ Of lowly Burney, he wrote: ‘Considering the modest altitude and ease of access, a most rewarding panorama is revealed from Burney. The Duddon estuary is a special feature.’

Two years ago, the Society objected to the proposal to erect six new wind turbines on this site, arguing that these structures would have a damaging visual impact both of views from the high Coniston fells but also of views from outside the National Park into Lakeland where the turbines would be an unwelcome man-made intrusion into the landscape set against the backdrop of the magnificent vista of fells lying to the north.

This new proposal seeks to extend the life of the present turbines, which, in themselves, are a serious visual intrusion into the landscape and, in the Society’s opinion should be dismantled, a condition imposed by the Secretary of State when permission was first granted:

vi. The turbines hereby approved shall be removed from the site on the expiration of 25 years from the date of the turbines being brought into use or within 1 year of the turbines being decommissioned or becoming disused for any reason, which ever is the sooner.

With the recent award of World Heritage Site status, it becomes even more important that inappropriate industrial development around the fringes of the Lake District should be curtailed wherever possible. It is the Society’s view that when the current permission for the present wind farm expires in 2018 the land should revert to its former state, not only having positive environmental benefits, but also going a long way to restoring the views of the Duddon estuary so loved by Wainwright from the southern fells of Lakeland.

The Wainwright Society strongly objects to this proposal and urges South Lakeland District Council to reject the application.

Derek Cockell
The Wainwright Society