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Heysham Wind Turbine Plans Revealed

Author: 
John Freeman
Lancaster City Council has received a planning application to erect two wind turbines and ancillary equipment on land to the north of the existing BT Radio Station mast at Fanny House Farm, Heysham. It is now seeking comment on the plans from the public.

While the project is now facing a rethink (see below), BT first announced its plans to erect the turbines back in January and is an integral part of BT’s wider ‘Wind for Change Project’, part of the company’s national renewable energy delivery programme for wind turbine development at this and other locations across the UK. Further applications are expected during the first half of 2009 for up to nine wind turbines at Red Gap near Hartlepool and for two wind turbines on BT’s site at Goonhilly, Cornwall.

BT's renewable electricity programme aims to develop wind farms with a 250 MW total capacity, to offset around 25% of its existing UK electricity requirements by 2016.

The proposed turbines at Heysham will have the capacity to generate up to 5MW of electricity, saving over 4,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Wireframe image of how the proposed turbines might look from Walker Grove, Heysham, taken from the submitted plansWireframe image of how the proposed turbines might look from Walker Grove, Heysham, taken from the submitted plans

Wireframe image of how the proposed turbines might look from the A683 westbound, taken from the submitted plansWireframe image of how the proposed turbines might look from the A683 westbound, taken from the submitted plans

The deadline for consultation responses is 23rd March 2009 but the Council has already received early comments on the scheme, arguing the plans which could threaten local wildlife and prove an unsightly "blot on the landcscape."

"The position of these turbines are detrimental to the wild life of an area of natural beauty and adjacent to a protected area," feels Heysham resident Max Pemberton. "The woods nearby have a bat colony and these are known to suffer from the noise of the turbines. Ducks and geese are frequently seen to overfly the area."

For human residents in Heysham there are technical issues, too. "The current BT Tower is already noted for disturbing the local Sky TV signals and the Turbines will do likewise," Mr Pemberton feels. "We can a see one other Wind Turbine Farm from our bedroom and we certainly do not need another."

Whatever the result of the planning process, it appears the entire 'Wind for Change' project may well not proceed. Earlier this month, it was revealed BT was rethinking plans for its own £250m wind farm due to concerns that the government's labyrinthine subsidy scheme would prevent the resulting power counting towards BT's reduction in carbon emissions.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, the company's chief sustainability officer Dr Chris Tuppen confirmed reports that the board was looking again at the viability of the scheme, which is capable of providing a quarter of the company's power.

The company says the rules governing the imminent Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) cap-and-trade scheme means it won't be able use the renewable energy from the project to reduce its reported carbon emissions.

• Plans, supporting statements and application documents are available to view online on the PublicAccess system by following this link to search results in the Planning Applications section of www.lancaster.gov.uk. If that link doesn't work, the application number is 09/00155/FUL.

A public computer is available in Palatine Hall, Dalton Square, Lancaster for those without access to the internet and hard copies of documents are available for viewing in the Customer Service Centre at Morecambe Town Hall.

• Comments can be made either via the Submit Comments button on PublicAccess, via email to dcconsultation@lancaster.gov.uk or in writing to Development Control Team, PO Box 4, Town Hall, Lancaster, LA1 1QR.
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