'Hypocritical' ministers reject wind power plan

A A A

The role of wind power in the battle against climate change is in doubt after plans for England's biggest turbine development on the eastern fringe of the Lake District National Park were rejected by ministers.

To the dismay of some environmentalists, who believe the decision shifts Britain closer to a new generation of nuclear power stations, the Energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, and the Rural Affairs minister, Jim Knight, ruled that a four-mile development of 27 turbines on an exposed ridge between the Borrowdale and Bretherdale valleys should not be built.

The ministers said they accepted the outcome of a six-week planning inquiry that the effects on the landscape and its value for recreation would be so serious that they would outweigh the benefits of securing a renewable energy source and the need to address climate change.

"Tackling global warming is critical but we must also nurture the immediate environment and wildlife," said Mr Wicks. "This is at the crux of the debate over wind energy."

The division over plans for the Whinash turbines which, at 115 metres (377ft) would have stood taller than St Paul's Cathedral, reflect Britain's ambivalence about on-shore wind power's role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In the green corner are environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, both supporters of the plans for Whinash put forward by Chalmerston Wind Power. In the other green corner are countryside groups including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Council for National Parks and the Wildlife Trust, whose president, David Bellamy, threatened to chain himself to one of the giant windmills in protest, if they were built.

Friends of the Earth said it was "appalled" by the ministers' decision. "On the one hand, ministers say they support renewable energy," said Tony Juniper, its director. "On the other they turn down carefully worked-out proposals that would have minimal environmental impacts while helping to fight climate change - the greatest threat of all. "

Stephen Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace, suggested the nuclear industry had been complicit in the decision. "Any government that wants to expand airports and turn down wind farms is simply not fit to govern," he said.

"I find it hard to believe that the nuclear industry has not played some role in this. Climate change will ravage beautiful areas like the Lake District."

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said Whinash had been "a step too far" in the drive for renewable energy. The Countryside Agency and the Open Spaces Society agreed, as did Friends of the Lake District. Andrew Forsyth, FLD executive director, said the plans would have inflicted "visual cultural and economic harm" on an "icon of upland beauty and tranquillity".

If wind power is to prevail over nuclear in the Government's energy review, it must demonstrate its ability to deliver a secure, competitive energy source - which means winning over the conservation lobby. Yesterday's decision could undermine the entire wind energy industry, said Simon Currie, head of energy and infrastructure at international law firm Norton Rose.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London