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Seismic Noise Kills Cumbrian Wind Farm Project

Opponents of a proposed windfarm at Hallburn, east of Longtown, have welcomed the news that Carlisle city councillors are poised to throw out the scheme.

Planning officers say vibrations or seismic noise from the turbines might hinder scientists at Eskdalemuir, 25 miles away, from monitoring nuclear tests around the world. That would prevent the UK from meeting its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

They are recommending that councillors refuse planning consent next Friday.

Eileen Naudé of the anti-windfarm group Block Longtown Windfarms (Blow), said: “ I’m not going to build my hopes up yet. It hasn’t been refused yet and there could be an appeal.”

Cornwall Light and Power, trading as REG Windpower, wants to build six 415ft turbines. The council received 266 letters and e-mails, and a petition, against the scheme and 89 expressions of support.

Planning officers believe that the only way to reduce vibrations to an level acceptable would be to fit dampeners not only to the six turbines but to other turbines in north Cumbria and southern Scotland.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says its equipment at Eskdalemuir can tolerate a degree of seismic noise but existing windfarms mean it is at the limit.

REG Windpower development manager Matt Olley said: “The officers’ recommendation is of course disappointing.

“However, we remain firmly convinced that this site has excellent potential for generating significant quantities of much-needed safe, clean, renewable electricity.”

He said the windfarm would power more than 6,000 homes while a community fund would benefit good causes to the tune of £600,000 over its lifetime.

Councillors are also expected to refuse permission for a wind-monitoring mast at Roadhead, planned as the forerunner of 30 turbines at nearby Stone Chest and at Black Knors, north of Blackpool Gate.

Again the MoD has objected. It argues that the mast would interfere with low-flying at RAF Spadeadam.

Banks Renewables, the company behind the mast, already has planning consent for a similar mast at Roweltown where it hopes to build 10 turbines.

News & Star, 13 August 2011