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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Defence ministry withdraws objections to windfarm plans

Two major windfarms look likely to go ahead after the Ministry of Defence withdrew its objections.

EDF Renewables wants to erect nine 413ft-high turbines – three times the height of Carlisle Civic Centre – at Beck Burn Peat Works between Longtown and Gretna.

And Carlisle city councillors have already approved in principle proposals from REG Windpower for six 415ft turbines at Hallburn Farm, east of Longtown.

Planning consent for these will be confirmed unless Communities Secretary Eric Pickles calls a public inquiry.

Both proposals were initially refused planning permission because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) objected.

It argued that vibrations or ‘seismic noise’ from the turbines would interfere with equipment at Eskdalemuir, in Dumfries and Galloway, which it uses to monitor nuclear tests across the globe.

It objected to any turbine in an 8,000sq kilometre area, within 50 kilometres of Eskdalemuir.

Now, following fresh research, the MoD has reduced the exclusion zone to a 15-kilometre radius.

Not only does this open the way for commercial windfarms, such as Beck Burn and Hallburn, but for many smaller single-turbine schemes.

Victoria Lancaster, renewables adviser at H&H Land and Property, said: “The MoD hasn’t confirmed its scheme for dealing with new applications in the old buffer zone. It’s not a case of open-season for turbines, but landowners would do well to get their applications ready.”

The Beck Burn application is due to go before councillors on August 29.

The prospect of tidal lagoons in the Solway Firth has been raised again by a new study.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research says that constructing six lagoons around the UK to harness power from the tides would contribute £27bn to the economy over 12 years.

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