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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Farmer claims turbine could boost north Cumbrian village

A farmer behind a plan for a huge wind turbine claimed it could be used to power village street lights as a campaign against it gathered pace.

Russell Bowman photo
Russell Bowman

Russell Bowman said he would like to work with people in Ainstable to “deliver benefits to the community”, such as potentially providing electricity or funding for lighting.

He was speaking after a leading campaigner against the application for a 250ft turbine south east of the Eden Valley village labelled the plan “a monstrous assault on the peace, tranquility and landscape” of the area.

Mr Bowman, who farms at Armathwaite, said he was a local man who cared about the area, adding he had always expected some people to object.

The planned turbine would be nearly the height of the landmark Dixon’s Chimney in Carlisle and objectors say it would be visible for miles, including from tourist attractions such as the North Pennines.

They have fears that the visual impact would affect the area’s economy which, they say, relies on visitors and hospitality, including wedding venues.

The Ainstable Turbine Action Campaign (ATAC) says it would be a third of a mile away from the village and would be closer than that to some properties.

Ted Cole, ATAC chairman, said: “This is a monstrous assault on the peace, tranquillity and landscape surrounding our village.

“There is a wave of anger running through our community. The plan has to be stopped.”

Mr Cole was worried about the consequences if one person could “get away” with a turbine of this size.

“In a few years Eden could be carpeted with these huge monsters,” he added.

Mr Bowman told The Cumberland News: “I fully support people’s right to comment on the proposal or object.

“They have to realise that wind turbines are something of our time. I’m from the Ainstable area. I do have a feeling for the local area, I do care about it. It’s not a case of somebody from out of town coming in to make a buck.”

He said he did have some support for the plan, adding: “Not everybody is against it.”

ATAC has set up a fighting fund and is urging people, including non-residents of the parish, to write letters objecting to the planning application, with Eden Council naming May 15 as a deadline for letters.

The group said two public meetings in Ainstable had each attracted about 100 people.

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