Friends of the Lake District welcomes the decision by South Lakeland District Council Planning Committee to refuse the application by Zephyr Investments to retain the turbines on Kirby Moor, on the Furness peninsula, Cumbria, until 31st March 2027.

While recognising the importance of renewable energy development in providing clean energy sources, membership charity Friends of the Lake District believes that these turbines have served their purpose and are now at the end of their working life. Throughout their 25 years operation, the turbines have a significant detrimental impact on the landscape and, in particular on the setting of the Lake District National Park which is now a World Heritage Site.

Laura Fiske, Planning Officer at Friends of the Lake District, said: ‘This decision is a victory for the local communities who live in the shadow of this development imposed on them by the Government in the early 1990s. This decision reflects the tireless effort they have put in to make their voices heard.

‘In terms of both landscape and wildlife, the site at Kirkby Moor which is also a SSSI (a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a protected area for conservation) has never been acceptable for this type of development, and the removal of these turbines will have a net benefit to the local landscape and beyond.’

‘Our objections to this application were on the basis of continuing harmful impacts on the landscape and on views into and out of the Lake District; the fact that the applicant has previously stated that the turbines were at the end of their working lives, and that granting permission for a time extension would set a precedent allowing other windfarms to extend beyond their 25 year lifespans.’

Friends of the Lake District spoke at the Planning Committee alongside local residents, Parish Councillors and County Councillors, who also opposed an extension to planning permission.

The Kirby Moor windfarm was extremely contentious when it was first granted planning permission in 1992. It was one of the first wind farms given planning permission in the UK, and lies close to the boundary of the Lake District National Park, clearly visible from within the park, and was originally turned down by the planning authority. A public inquiry, in which Friends of the Lake District was a significant campaigner, saw a planning inspector refuse the application, which was then overturned by central government, who gave planning permission for a 25 year period as an experimental development. The current permission requires the removal of the turbines by 26th August 2018.