Farmer's comments prompt angry response at Cumbrian windfarm inquiry
Last updated at 12:02, Thursday, 04 October 2012
A farmer's comments at a windfarm inquiry have sparked an angry reaction.
Graham Denby, of Riddings Hill, near Longtown, accused opponents of a development at Hallbank Farm of being a “small minority” who “oppose everything”.
He made the comments at the second day of a public inquiry held at Carlisle’s Civic Centre.
Mr Denby said: “From speaking to local people it is clear that a good number are in favour of the project and also that those who are against the project are not basing their arguments in reality.”
He then went on to say many of Longtown’s farmers supported the proposal.
Mr Denby highlighted a commitment by the energy company to use local firms and invest £500,000 in the local community over the 25-year lifespan of the project, saying it was difficult for farmers to raise money in the current economic climate.
He also described wind power as “the future”.
“I sincerely hope that the voices of the local people who support this windfarm will be heard and given their proper weight over a small minority of people who oppose everything and anything, albeit loudly,” he added.
This provoked an angry reaction from opponents to the development.
One member of the audience John Armstrong, of Broomhills Farm, pointed out that Mr Denby is engaged to the daughter of the site owner.
Julie Walsh, proprietor of Virginia Lodge care home in Longtown, who has spoken at the inquiry about the effects of the proposals on her business, described Mr Denby’s comments as “too personal”.
The proposal, by energy firm REG, was rejected by city council members in August last year. But the firm has appealed against this decision, resulting in the inquiry.
The council blocked the development on the grounds that ‘seismic noise’ from the turbines could interfere with nuclear test monitoring equipment at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) site at Eskdalemuir, near Langholm.
REG argues that the turbines would not stop the equipment at Langholm from operating.
Two other people spoke at the hearing, both against the turbines. Will Tillotson, of Drybeck, Longtown, said the local economy was dependent on tourism and this development could affect that.
“No one goes on holiday to stand in the shadow of a turbine,” he commented.
Maynard Hall, of Curthwaite, Wigton, said the development should not be allowed to compromise national defence, and questioned how effective wind turbines were at generating electricity.
The inquiry has now been adjourned until December 11. When it meets again another proposed wind farm, at Beck Burn, will also be discussed.
David Rose, who is chairing the inquiry, will have visited both sites by this time.
First published at 11:26, Thursday, 04 October 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk