make the constituency a wind turbine free zone…

Over two hundred people from all over Cumbria and south-west Scotland came together on Saturday 4th June at the Solway Moss near Longtown in a demonstration against inappropriate wind farms organised and led by Rory. The rally, which brought together campaigners from Longtown, Bewcastle, Sleagill and Reagill, Berrier Hill, Cumwhinton, Rosley, Great Broughton and Girvan, highlighted the depth of opposition to “inappropriate wind turbine developments” in the area, which has a history of hard-fought campaigns against wind energy developers.

Rory said: “The largest element of our economy is tourism. It is this constituency’s life-blood. The landscape of the northern Lake District is dear not only to those who live here but to all Britons and to millions around the world. Wreck that landscape and you wreck our economy. Cumbria has already agreed to play a large role in reducing the nation’s carbon emissions by building three new nuclear power stations which will generate more than a thousand times the energy of an average wind-turbine. Why should we also wreck our landscape and through it our economy with inappropriate wind-turbines?”

Rory has also supported a website, which will bring groups together to share information and campaign. He argued that the issues facing opposition groups in Longtown and Bewcastle were exactly the same as those in Rosley, Sleagill and Reagill, or Berrier Hill, and advocated solidarity in the fight against proposed developments. In his speech on Saturday he said: “People say glibly that you can’t pay the bills with the landscape: here, that is exactly what we do. People don’t come to Cumbria for its food, architecture or weather alone: people come to Cumbria because it represents a rural ideal of England. There is emotion, passion and history in our relationship with our landscape, and it is our landscape that we want to protect. Allegations that we are NIMBYs are so untrue; none of us are that. Here today are some of the most committed and engaged members of our local communities, and we are engaged because we love our landscape so deeply.”

The area of Beck Burn – on which nine 425ft-high turbines are proposed to be built – is a site of great ecological and historical importance. The proposed application has brought together a group of local residents opposed to the development, and is led by mother and daughter team Dorothy Siddle and Annette Trotter. Speaking at the Moss, Mrs Siddle said: “How will this historic peat bog ever be restored to its former state if we build nine – or possibly fifteen – turbines here? Each one involves thousands of tonnes of cement in the ground. It will ruin the natural habitat, which is a natural carbon sink. Rare night-flying migratory birds will suffer. These developments damage our land, and are completely contrary to all arguments of preservation and environmental protection.”

The outdoor demonstration was followed by a panel discussion and presentations in Longtown community centre by leading regional activists such as Dr Mike Hall of FELLS (Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale Scenery) and Duncan Griggs of NOWT NE Cumbria.

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