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Wednesday, 08 July 2015

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Plans revealed for a new Solway wind farm

Plans for a new offshore wind farm in the Solway have been revealed.

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation as it aims for the country to receive all its electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

It wants to use the Solway for renewable energy and has identified two wind options for the area.

It is not yet known if the plan is to extend the 60-turbine Robin Rigg wind farm, which can be seen from Salterbeck in Workington to Silloth, or to find a new location.

Marine Scotland held a consultation in Maryport this week.

Phil Gilmour, of Marine Scotland, said the schemes were in the early stages of planning.

He said: “We have identified wind, wave and tidal projects around the Scottish coast.

“Technology is progressing all the time and we will not know the size of any offshore wind farm on the Solway until we see what turbines are available.”

He said Marine Scotland was consulting with everyone who would be affected by the decision.

But fishermen said another offshore wind farm could destroy their industry.

John McAvoy, chairman of Maryport Fishing Co-operative, said: “If there has to be another wind farm it must just be an extension of Robin Rigg.

“If it goes anywhere else on our fishing grounds it will destroy us. We can’t afford another large exclusion zone.”

Maryport fisherman George Southwell said the industry had been told when Robin Rigg was completed that they would be able to fish around and between the turbines, but they can’t.

He said: “It is just too dangerous to fish with mobile gear between the turbines. That ground is totally excluded to anyone. We can’t fish there because we can’t do it safely.”

The £330 million Robin Rigg wind farm was officially opened by operators E.on in 2010.

Each turbine stands 410ft above the water, seven miles off the coast of Maryport.

When the plans were first mooted, they caused outrage.

Cumbria County Council and Allerdale council refused to give the plans their backing, but because the area falls under the Scottish Government’s jurisdiction, they could not officially object.

A second wind farm would also be in Scottish waters, despite the possibility of it being close to the West Cumbrian shore.

John Mitchell, a fishermen and former member of Friends of the Earth, asked Mr Gilmour if there would be local jobs.

Mr Gilmour said: “Obviously our first commitment is to the people of Scotland but if there was some way we could involve West Cumbria we would certainly look at it.”

Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham said: “We will need to look very carefully at the plans and weigh up the benefits to West Cumbria.

“Robin Rigg caused a wave of protest when it was first talked about, but it created 43 jobs and is serviced from the Port of Workington.

“I will be asking the questions of how we can make the most of a new wind farm and how our community can benefit from it.”

A spokesman for the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty said the organisation had not seen any proposals and declined to comment until it had.

Marine Scotland's consultation ends on November 13 and it a draft plan could be presented to Scottish ministers next year.

For more information, visit www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/marineenergy/Planning

Have your say

Why is it that we have to have more of this visual pollution when we are sitting on millions of tons of coal?
All the money that has been thrown at this folly could have been invested in developing clean coal technology.

Posted by Allen Graham on 18 September 2013 at 12:42

Another expensive development with negligible CO2 reduction and unknown impact on a marine environment already under threat from climate change and man's activities. All dictated by EU climate policy ,recognised as having failed spectacularly to bring down CO2 emmissions in a meaningful fashion.Have we not learned anything !

Posted by James on 15 September 2013 at 16:57

View all 12 comments on this article

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