Over the Easter weekend, we spent a few days bimbling round the fells and dales of this beautiful corner of the world. We had to drive home on the Monday, but before doing so we did a little circuit from Sedbergh, and I came across a leaflet about the proposed new wind farm at Killington Lakes.
Now there is a lot to this, and I don’t propose to go into the nitty gritty here in full. But links are provided for anyone that wants to find out more about the contractors:
and about the “against” campaign:
Local villagers have voted in support of the proposal (I’ll come back to that in a minute). Never mind the fact that it will be sited between two other wind farms – Armistead (3-5km away) and Lambrigg (1-2km away) in an area not long ago mooted for inclusion into a connecting corridor between the LDNP and the YDNP (and the subsequent “protection” that would imbue). And never mind that the “artists impression” in the advertising made these look smaller and further apart with the clever use of perspective, or that the turbines mooted for Killington will actually be 32m (100ft) higher than neighbouring Armistead, making them 132m high. There might only be three turbines proposed, but for those not familiar with metric measurements, and I daresay that will be quite a few (another ploy by the planners to play down the impact) that means in old money they will be 433ft high – the tallest, I am led to understand, ever built on land in the UK.
Never mind, either, that they can be seen from Sedbergh, Kendal, and all the surrounding fells including, but not limited to, the Howgills, Middleton Fell, Barbon & Casterton Fells, Scout Scar, Grayrigg, and Whinfell Beacon.
Never mind the limited contribution these three turbines can make, or that the net CO2 reduction will be almost infinitesimal.
Also, never mind opposition to the scheme from the RSPB, Natural England, YDNP, the Yorkshire Dales Society, Friends of the Lake District, Cameron McNeish, all local parishes except one, two local MPs (Tim Farron and Rory Stewart) and even Cumbria County Council! Or that Killington parish, where the turbines will NOT be visible from, have opposed all other (visible) wind farm applications in the past! Or that the support from residents ran out at 55% - a majority, but hardly a convincing one.
No, ignore all that for a moment and I’ll tell you what REALLY stuck in my craw.
What with all the opposition (both currently and historically) to the scheme from the local community, the wider lack of support from surrounding parishes and towns, objections from local politicians and argument against from a variety of interested bodies directly linked with tourism, wildlife and protection of the area/National parks, you may be wondering why the local parishioners voted in favour of the scheme?
Well, I’ll tell you – it’s because they've had a FUCKING GREAT BRIBE!
OK, so this bribe has been camouflaged in such a way as to salve the conscience of both briber and bribee, but bribe it is, nevertheless. Here is a quote directly from Banks Renewables website about the scheme:
“Banks has also developed new initiatives around tackling fuel poverty and improving local broadband access as part of the wind farm project, in response to comments from local people about how the community benefits fund that would be associated with the wind farm might best be used.
The final decision on how to allocate the fund, which will amount to around £675,000 over the 25-year lifespan of the scheme, will be agreed with local people, and the broadband and fuel efficiency schemes have been put forward by Banks as examples of how the money might be used to secure a positive, long-term local legacy for the wind farm”.
For balance, and in the spirit of even-handedness, here is a link to the full press release:
So that’s how it happened! Nothing, in the end, to do with needs of the people, the greater good of the nation, or benefits to the wider community, etc, etc, etc. No: just a whopping hand out to the voters to the tune of £27k a year. Community Benefits fund = bung!
Not only that, Ladies and Gentlemen, but you and me are footing the bill for it. Whether the money comes from “profits” (overcharging us in energy prices) or subsidies (our taxes), each and every one of us is being forced to tacitly support such schemes and such behaviour.
It is rotten to the core!
If you feel as strongly as I do, either about the scheme or the blatant cynicism surrounding it, please follow the link below and click on the “Count Me In” tab on the left hand side to register your objection.