The wind of change in Lancashire

This is a map of the Lancashire landscape - complete with wind turbine locations.

Friday, 9th May 2014, 8:54 am
Map of wind turbines in Lancashire

There are currently 12 operational wind farms in the county, with 10 more awaiting construction, one under construction and five planning applications recently submitted.

And that means Lancashire has the sixth largest wind farm capacity in England, according to data compiled by the Renewable Energy Foundation, a UK charity publishing data on the energy sector.

The group says that Lancashire and the wider North of England is bearing a “disproportionate share” of onshore wind farms, while supporters claim they create green energy.

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Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “The northern counties of England, such as Lancashire, are bearing a disproportionate share of the national onshore wind burden.

“Not all of this focus can be explained by better wind conditions.

“A large part of the explanation is that developers have picked on the rural north because it lacks the resources to defend itself in the planning system.

“Extremely high subsidies have overheated the wind industry, and in the gold rush site choice has been poor, with little respect shown to the opinions of local populations, whose environments have often been significantly damaged.”

The Renewable Energy Foundation found Northumberland has the largest wind farm capacity of any county, followed by East Yorkshire.

The second biggest wind farm in the country is in Lancashire, at the Scout Moor Wind farm between Rochdale and Rossendale.

Earlier this year proposals to double the size of the wind farm, which already includes 26 turbines.

Elsewhere in the county wind turbines are used by farms and businesses, including Dewlay cheesemakers of Garstang.

The family-run business was one the of the first in the area to put in for planning permission for a turbine back in 2008.

Managing director Nick Kenyon said: “It has worked very well for us. We use a high amount of energy to produce cheese, it is very energy intensive.

“Being able to generate our own electric on site is a good thing. It gives us energy security and sustainability in our energy prices.”

Phil McVan, managing director at UrbanWind based on the Redscar Industrial Estate in Preston, said the company had seen a surge of interest in its small and medium-sized turbines.

Mr McVan said although turbines divide opinion he thinks “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and likened the split opinion to views of pylons and mobile phone masts in the past.

He added: “We need electric, we would be stuck without it. We will get used to them. In five year or 10 years time we will wonder what the full was about.”