Please Write Objection To Raisgill Turbine Appeal, Reference APP/H0928/A/14/2223447 ASAP

Landscape conservation is important. Raisgill Hall have appealed EDC’s decision to reject their wind turbine planning proposal, if you love fine landscape, can you please write to the Planning Inspectorate and ask them to reject the appeal? An email to  pcs@pins.gsi.gov.uk may be the quickest and easiest method. See below for details of the situation.

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Please Support The Orton Fells Landscape Designation With The Amendment Proposed By Friends Of The Lake District

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Here’s your chance to help positively influence British landscape conservation! Some readers will have visited the British Lake District National Park and the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park. The chances are good that you will have passed through some beautiful countryside in between that wasn’t designated as Park the first time around in the late 1940′s,  Westmorland’s The Orton Fells.

The Orton Fells Landscape is being considered for inclusion in the Dales National ParkThe Orton Fells Landscape is now being considered for inclusion in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

It’s a wild and beautiful landscape of karstic limestone pavements, upland meadows and heather-clad moorland (home to Black Cock, a form of rare Grouse), hardy sheep and fell ponies, with the rich fertile Orton valley running to The Lunesdale gorge. It’s Eden District’s Wild West.

Fell Ponies at Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, Westmorland, CumbriaFell Ponies at Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, Westmorland, Cumbria

The time has come for all those of us who support our Orton Fells’ inclusion in The Dales National Park to write in to the Secretary of State for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman to voice our support and suggest amendments where they seem desirable.

Aerial view of distinctive limestone pavement overlooking The Orton valleyAerial view of distinctive limestone pavement overlooking The Orton valley

Limestone pavement above Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton FellsLimestone pavement above Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, rare sub-arctic flora micro-habitat of internationally recognised importance.

Why would this be a good thing?
It is likely that our Orton Fells’ inclusion in the National Park would help conserve the natural beauty of this lovely area of Westmorland for our own and future generations and would facilitate considerable economic uplift for local businesses while being an asset to the Nation and for visitors from other regions. The inclusion of our area is long overdue, everybody so far consulted agrees that the natural beauty warrants conservation. Some of the most beautiful Dales in the National Park are Cumbrian (Mallerstang with its historic Pendragon Castle for instance) and in no sense would our section of the Park be a “poor cousin”, we would preserve our identity under a wider banner that truly deserves special status for landscape quality and that is closely connected geologically and topographically with The Dales.
Naming 
We have had the spoken assurance of The Dales National Park’s Chief Executive (at the January 19th Fells To Dales Business Forum meeting in Kirkby Stephen) that the naming of our area of the Park will be arranged to best suit local wishes, for example The Westmorland Fells or Westmorland Dales. This may well be resolved at a Public inquiry, should we have one, later in the year.
Economic Benefit
At the same meeting we heard estimates of anticipated economic benefit for local businesses involved in tourism to be somewhere between 10 and 20% increase in annual turn-over, with the duration in occupancy expected to be extended to about 34 weeks in the year.
Amendments
At this stage we can still ask for amendments to the planning, if we wish. One important amendment to request would be the adoption of the northern boundary proposed by The Friends of The Lake District that would include land with superb views around Reagill and Sleagill. A good deal of thought has gone into this boundary suggestion and it enjoys popular support among many of the residents of those Parishes.
Making Your Voices Heard – Key Points

  • You don’t have to be a resident to voice your opinion on this matter. Past and prospective visitors to the area are welcome to voice their support, please state your interest and it will count.
  • In your communication please include your name, address and signature and include your message.  Please refer to the benefits mentioned above as justification if you wish.
  • Each member of your household may write in separately with equal validity.
  • Numbers count.
  • This is a once in a life-time opportunity that will have far-reaching and long lasting benefits for us and the Nation.

The address to write to, please, is:
Department for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
Protected Landscapes Team,
Zone 1/09 Temple Quay House,
2 The Square, Temple Quay,
Bristol
BS1 6EB
Or by email to nwvariationorders@defra.gsi.gov.uk

The deadline for getting your message to DEFRA is March 16th.
For more information on the planning, please see the Lakes To Dales Section of Natural England’s Website

Visual appeal of Stainmore AONB under threat: Your Response URGENTLY Required

We’ve had an email from Stainmore asking us to consider urgently responding (Deadline next Tuesday 13 September) to an application for 3 , 18m high turbines to be sited just 360 m away from the nearest home ( they seem to be of the two-prop type by the look of the photomontage  – like the one by the A6 north of Penrith). I think it would mar an area that affords some of the finest scenery from the A66 if my memory serves correctly. I saw a similar turbine off the A6 recently. It sticks out like a sore thumb. I think these would too.

Here is the gist of the email:

I write to inform you that an application has been made to Eden District Council for 3 x 18 metre tubines at Bleathgill on Stainmore. Planning application 11/0622.

Details can be found on this pdf
http://eforms.eden.gov.uk/fastweb_upload/2011%20Planning%20Applications/11-0622/0622-DandA-Statement.pdf

I do not believe that it is appropriate for SOS to object to this as an organisation as we were set up to fight the large-scale windfactory at Moudy Mea envisaged by Community Windpower. However I am writing to bring this application to your attention so that you have an opportunity to study it for yourselves and to object if you feel you wish to do so. Whether to object is obviously a matter of personal choice for all SOS members but as you care for the beautiful, wild, unspoilt countryside on Stainmore you certainly have a right to know that an application has been made.

I have objected personally (no mention of or link to SOS). My reasons are mainly that

1) The development is inappropriate within the AONB and against planning guidelines
2) This is not a domestic development but a small scale wind farm and the turbines are situated a long way from the farmstead involved
3) A precedent will be set if this is allowed which will allow further development within AONBs 3 tubines will quickly become 30 and Community Windpower may well return to Stainmore if this application is granted.
4) Visual impact
5) Noise – disturbing the area’s valuable tranquility
6) Recent precedent – one turbine proposed to serve a property was recently rejected by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal due mainly to the fact that it would cause “material harm to the landcape of the North Pennines AONB”.

Please read the application for yourself and see what you think. If you decide to comment you may email the planners on planning.services@eden.gov.uk. Give your name and address and quote application number 11/0622 Bleathgill Barras Stainmore

The original authors retain copyright for the documents, so don’t lift pictures out or infringe their  copyright in other fashion. Responding online is very quick and easy. http://eforms.eden.gov.uk/fastweb/detail.asp?AltRef=11/0622

Thank you for caring about our environment.

Cumwhinton community threatened again by windfarm developers

The people in Cumwhinton have already spent a fortune and considerable effort successfully defending their part of the Cumbrian skyline against one windfarm development that was quite rightly rejected by the Planning authority, but now there are two new separate planning applications for wind turbines under consideration by planners in Carlisle. The community needs your help. If you wish to assist the local residents in the defence of the landscape and their amenity value, then please object to proposals 11/0596 and 11/0597 as soon as you can.

Everybody in your household can object if they wish. Each letter, email or online submission counts individually. So everyone in the family can do their bit to protect Cumbrian countryside. A child’s objection carries as much clout as an adult’s providing that the objections are based on valid planning grounds. The objections can be very short. Valid grounds for objecting  include :

impact on the landscape will be bad (massive unsightly structures will mar the views – there is no means of screening giant wind turbines)

impact on resident and migratory wildife is expected to be harmful (particularly for  birds, including geese and raptors, and bats)

impact on local residents’ amenity is expected to be  bad (their loss of enjoyment of their surroundings, the inconvenience caused by disruption during construction)

impact on tourism is expected to be bad, many people enjoy sweeping unspoilt views near Hadrian’s wall.

Please click here for instructions on how to object to the two new proposals.

Your objections could make all the difference to protecting the Cumwhinton environment. Please send them in before August 19th.

Help Save Solway Moss

By Charles Paxton

People who visit Cumbria tend to do so for our landscape. With some of the most beautiful countryside in the British Isles on our doorsteps, landscape conservation is an important topic for many Cumbrians. Uunderstandably, we get quite riled when we hear of developments that threaten our landscape heritage.

On Saturday, June 4th I went along with some like-minded friends to a place near Longtown to participate in a demonstration and panel discussion against a wind farm proposal on Solway Moss. The threat in this instance is a proposal to build a wind farm of giant (125m tall) turbines on rare peat moss habitat favoured by curlews and migrant geese.

In addition to learning more about the Solway Moss itself, community conservation volunteers who’d won their own battles against maldevelopment shared strategic tips on how to prevail against the further proliferation of wind farms elsewhere in Cumbria. This is so important because each small community so beset faces very similar challenges. Anyone who watched BBC2’s Windfarm Wars documentary series will have a good idea of the attrition involved, but should not give way to despond. Thankfully the winds of change are turning against the inappropriate siting of wind-farms now.

Rory Stewart MP for Penrith and the Border speaking out against inappropriate developments such as Solway Moss

Here’s my account of the day:

I’m very glad that I attended the June 4th demonstration against industrial scale wind turbines on Solway Moss and the public meeting and panel discussion that followed in Longtown’s Memorial Hall. I learned a lot. Our MP for Penrith and the Border, Rory Stewart responded to appeals from his constituents to protect our landscape with the passion and efficacy that is so characteristic of him.

It was the first time in Cumbria that such a wide range of anti-windfarm groups had assembled to voice their collective concern. It was especially heartening to see so many ladies and gentlemen, from the very young to the mature, gathered in defense of this rare raised peat bog habitat, haunt of wildlife and historic battlefield. Clearly undaunted by the concluding episode of BBC’s Windfarm Wars, it was good to hear representatives of various local landscape defense groups speaking out about the threats that overhang their lives. The message on one placard was particularly memorable, “No turbines near Nan”. I heartily agree with such a prohibition and when the time comes to write a letter of objection to this project – which I certainly will do, that will be one of my reasons for objection.

As Rory poignantly observed, the fight for landscape integrity is likely to continue beyond the span of our lives. Why should Nan’s head be overhung by this sword of Damocles?

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After the demo we circumnavigated the north side of the Moss and admired the sizable remaining forest cover from a distance. It’s quite hard to imagine a worse place to put a giant wind farm than on a natural carbon sink in a flat-as-a-pancake flood plain where the 125m tall turbines will pose a potentially lethal obstacle to the night-flying migratory birds of the Solway wetlands. There’s no way the landscape will gel with these enormous machines or “flow” around them.

The plan to erect nine of these bobdignagian behemoths on the site is opposed by people on both sides of the border, Scots and English. Scottish landscapes have been savaged by a recent proliferation of these machines, Ayrshire particularly. An area of the Cambrian mountains in Mid Wales that rejected the offer of National Park protection in the mid-70s is now being vandalised beyond reasonable measure. The lessons are there to be learned.

Enthusiastic applause at Rory's concluding speech

Enthusiastic applause at Rory's concluding speech - Longtown Memorial Hall

At the panel discussion in Longtown’s memorial hall, Dr. Mike Hall of the FELLS group gave a short but powerful presentation on the issue.

The 1000’s of tons of reinforced concrete that would serve as the turbines’ foundations, plus tracks, ditches and cable trenches are likely to have a deleterious effect on the surrounding peat, drying it out, shrinking it and returning  millennia’s worth of stored atmospheric carbon to the air, offsetting any savings achieved by the turbines which, in any case will become less and less as cleaner power stations are expected to replace the older dirtier ones.

Using the Government’s own data, Dr. Mike Hall showed that the  expected emission savings of turbines like these (if allowed) will have fallen from 860kg for each megawatt hour generated  in 2000 to 430kg today with a projection of just 70 kg for each megawatt hour by 2030. This clearly demonstrates that, in terms of climate change, wind turbines are not fit for purpose.

Rory Stewart informed us that the threat to Cumbria’s £2 billion annual revenue from tourism that giant wind turbines represent flies in the face of sensible economic planning and quite apart from that opportunity cost, the intense human suffering and social division that wind farms cause nearby residents is unacceptable.

He added that a switch from older Coal to new advanced Gas-fired power stations could reduce our CO2 emissions by a hefty 50% and would represent a far more effective strategy to meet Government climate change obligations.

It seems to me that in the light of the three new nuclear power stations planned for Cumbria’s energy coast and the switch from Coal to Gas-fired power stations it is becoming nigh-on impossible to justify the erection of wind farms in environmentally sensitive locations and places where such projects do not enjoy majority support from the local population.

Your Chance to Protect More Lovely Landscape: Expansion of Our National Park Boundaries

Sunbiggin Tarn in Cumbria's Orton Fells

Sunbiggin Tarn in Cumbria's Orton Fells

As lovers of the Cumbrian countryside, would you like to respond to Natural England’s proposals for extensions of the National Park boundaries? For example, Borrowdale and the Orton Fells would go into the LDNP and the rest of the Howgills would go into the YDNP. A consultation period is being conducted – which ends quite soon on March 17th- and your views would help enormously. Further details and maps can be found on the website http://www.lakestodaleslandscapes.org.uk or a detailed information pack can be sent to you by phoning 0300 0602178. You could also contact FLD’s policy officer Jack Ellerby jack-ellerby@fld.org.uk.

Tanya Hoare (on behalf of SOB)”

07909-623350

Cumbria's Limestone Pavement

The Orton Fells Contain Cumbria's Distinctive Limestone Pavement

So that they can continue their valuable work in promoting many aspects of the Lake District, would you consider joining Friends of The Lake District? In these difficult times, membership subscriptions, and donations, are an important source of income. Find out more on-line at Friends of The Lake District or phone 01539 720788.