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Lancaster University gets go ahead for Wind Turbine

John Freeman
(Updated 6/4/11): Lancaster University's planning application to build a wind turbine was yesterday granted approval by the City Council's planning committee, following impassioned arguments both for and against from members of the public.

After a three-hour discussion, the committee voted 12-7 in favour of the project, with Green and Labour councillors voting in favour of the project.

The 2MW turbine will generate 17 per cent of the University's power and is one of a number of projects the institution is undertaking to meet the tough 43 per cent efficiency savings that the UK Higher Education sector is trying meet by 2020.

Last May the University submitted a planning application to build two wind turbines, but this was rejected by planning officers and the committee. Yesterday's revised plan was recommended for approval by council officers and saw 12 councillors voting in favour with seven voting against.

Lancaster's Green Party Councillors and Labour members of the committee all voted in favour of the plan. Coun Chris Coates who proposed that approval be granted said "This was a very carefully balanced decision weighing very differing concerns. I think that we got the balance right this time."

Commenting on this decision, Labour's candidates for University Ward at the upcoming local elections, both first-year students at Lancaster University, said they were thrilled that the turbine would now be built.

"I am happy that there was such a wide degree of support from councillors and the public to allow the application for the wind turbine to go ahead," said Paul Aitchison. "Hopefully construction can begin soon."

"Thanks should be given to Lancaster University for making such an effort to make itself more environmentally and economically sustainable," added Labour's Jonathan Dixon.

"I'm glad to see this application pass," added Green Councillor for University ward, Ian McCulloch. "New developments are increasingly required to generate some of their own electricity needs onsite, existing organisations should be encouraged when they want to follow suit."

"Lancaster University should be praised for coming up with a range of policies to tackle its energy usage," argues Rick Seymour, Green candidate for University Ward election. "As one of the region's biggest employers we should follow its lead on environmental and economic sustainability."

"I spoke strongly in favour of the turbine," Coun John Whitelegg told virtual-lancaster, "and linked it to the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and deal with peak oil and climate change by installing as much renewable energy as possible (wind, wave, sea-floor tidal
and solar)."