Lower Alt Wind Farm – Where are we up to with it?

This has been doing the rounds for a very long time as West Lancashire Borough Council grapples with such a hugely controversial planning issue. The site sits between Lydiate and Ince Blundell – both these communities are in Sefton Borough but the land between them is in West Lancashire Borough.

I am told that letters have started to appear on the West Lancs Council web site supporting the wind farm and that some of them are from people or organisations who are outside of the affected area.

Clearly the developers are drumming up support letters in order to counter the huge local community opposition to the project.

HALT poster

HALT, the community based opposition to the wind farm wants anyone who knows someone who does object, but who mistakenly believes that they have missed the opportunity for their objection to count, to be encouraged to write in to the Council or to go on line at the West Lancs Planning Portal to register their views.

Whilst being strongly in favour of wind energy I oppose this site being developed for this purpose because areas of high grade agricultural land will be taken out of use for the bases of the turbines and the access roads required to service them. Lydiate Parish Council, which I am a member of, has opposed the plans.

Sefton Focus hopes for 2016 and beyond

Here are a few of my local hopes for 2016 and beyond. They are in no particular order:-

Here I am at Lambshear Lane Lydiate checking out farm land that is coming under threat from house building.

Here I am at Lambshear Lane Lydiate checking out farm land that is coming under threat from house building.

That Sefton Council’s Local Plan is rejected on the basis that high grade agricultural land on which we grow our food should not be used to build houses on.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

That Merseytravel actually take some notice of what folks are saying about the planned Maghull North Station. Also, that they stop blocking the idea of the present Maghull Station being renamed Maghull Hornby.

That HMRC’s ‘exit Bootle’ plan is revisited and jobs are kept where they are needed in a community that requires investment rather than being moved to where they are not needed.

That the Environment Agency’s plan to create a flood plain north east of Lunt Village actually works when they turn off the River Alt pumps.

HALT poster

That the Lower Alt wind turbine proposal, to be built on high grade agricultural land would you believe, is rejected by West Lancs Borough Council. I am certainly not against turbines and renewable energy as it is the future for green energy, but not on high grade agricultural land that grows our food.

That Costa in Maghull stop running auditions for screeching child of the year. We only want a bit of peace and quiet while having a cuppa.

Uncut hedge at Maghull's KGV Park

Uncut hedge at Maghull’s KGV Park

That Maghull Town Council cuts its hedges more than twice a year.

That the electrification of the Liverpool – Ormskirk railway line gets the green light to be extended through to Burscough.

That before any more houses are built in Sefton Borough a thorough independent assessment is made of the consequences of building in terms of flooding events.

A Red Squirrel at Formby Point in 2015

A Red Squirrel at Formby Point in 2015

That our precious Red Squirrel population in Formby continues to thrive.

Southport FC

That the remarkable turn around in the fortunes of Southport Football Club in late 2015 continues and it leads to them getting back into the Football League one day.

That youth facilities in Maghull gain some investment instead of them being closed by Maghull Town Council.

Fighting for Southport's Libraries

Fighting for Southport’s Libraries

That volunteers are encouraged and welcomed by Sefton Council instead of them being treated so badly when they try to take over and run community facilities such as closing community libraries.

Leeds Liverpool Canal in Bootle

Leeds Liverpool Canal in Bootle

That the 2016 By-Centenary celebrations of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal are a success in Sefton.

That those of us who live in communities outside of Liverpool do not allow ourselves to be dominated from Liverpool Town Hall now the imposed/unwanted Merseyside Mayor concept has been foisted on us.

That gun crime in Sefton Borough and beyond is brought under control.

nhs-logo

That the concept of NHS drop-in centres is revisited and promoted so that more NHS services are delivered in communities rather than in over worked hospitals. Remember Maghull’s long-promised rebuild of its Health Centre to include a drop-in facility that was dropped by the NHS?

I am sure you will have other/additional wishes for 2016 and beyond and if I spent long enough thinking about it I could add to this list myself. However, I think you get my drift of what Sefton Borough could look like.

A very happy New Year to all.

Lower Alt wind turbines meeting

A Public meeting will be held at Ince Blundell Village Hall on Monday 4th January 2016 at 20.00hrs in relation to the recent planning application for wind turbines in the Lower Alt area by Coriolis.

Lower Alt Wind Turbines – What’s the latest?

I have not touched on this controversial subject for a while now as little has been happening. However, wheels are in motion and my understanding is that a planning application is now before West Lancashire Borough Council, although not all the required paperwork had been filed as typed this posting by Coriolis Energy (the applicants).

The land in question whilst being in West Lancs is actually sandwiched between Ince Blundell and Lydiate both of which are in Sefton Borough.

The environmental pressure group HALT continues to lead the opposition to the proposed wind farm of 12 taller than Blackpool Tower turbines. It was originally for 24 turbines in the previous proposals which were withdrawn.

My view on this proposal has always been that the land is high grade agricultural land so to compromise any of it for other uses is simply not acceptable. I am not opposed to wind turbines and certainly do not subscribe to what seems to be the Daily Mail view that they are all evil or some such nonsense. Indeed, I often go walking in the hills of Lancashire and I find the turbines on the moors to be quite majestic; but not on high grade agricultural land!

Here’s a link to HALT:-

www.h-alt.info

And a reminder of the position that Lydiate Parish Council has adopted under both Lib Dem and Labour administrations:-

lydiateparishcouncil.gov.uk/objections-to-wind-farm/

Lydiate/Ince Blundell/ Great Altcar – Lower Alt Wind Farm

I attended the public exhibition put on by Coriolis Energy at Lydiate Village Centre today.

Coriolis Consultation at LVC 05 08 15

Dealing with this matter is tough as surely we all want to support renewable energy such as solar or wind power, unless that is you happen to be a climate change denier.

For me the big issue is the fact that the developer wants to build the turbines on high grade agricultural land. I oppose this scarce resource being compromised because only around 2% of England’s land mass is of such high quality.

The stars on this map show where the turbines will be placed if the plans get the go ahead from West Lancs Council.

The stars on this map show where the turbines will be placed if the plans get the go ahead from West Lancs Council.

The now 12 massive turbines (down from 24 in the original proposals) will each have a footprint of their own, a permanent crane stand at the side and an access road. Added together this will undoubtedly compromise the agricultural land.

As I said I support renewable energy, we have solar panels on our house and I helped the Lib Dems push for both Maghull Town Hall and Lydiate Village Centre to be ‘green’ by solar panels being installed on those buildings too. So I don’t need to be convinced about renewable sources of energy.

Land opposite Lydiate Village Centre that is under threat of development which is presently growing food.

Land opposite Lydiate Village Centre that is under threat of development which is presently growing food.

However, compromising high grade agricultural land in any way is counter productive as it leads to us being able to grow less food thereby needing to import more food. This makes no sense to me at all and it is why I have been fighting Labour-run Sefton Council’s plans to allow house building on other areas of high grade agricultural land locally.

Sorry Coriolis I remain opposed to your development because of the high quality of agricultural land you want to construct these turbines on.

I appreciate that there are a whole host of other concerns about these proposed turbines but in this posting I have tried to focus on the major issue from my perspective as a environmental campaigner.

Lower Alt Wind Farm – A Lydiate resident challenges Coriolis Energy

I am publishing here the response of a Lydiate resident to the Coriolis Energy newsletter that has recently been posted to many properties in the Lydiate, Ince Blundell West Lancashire area

IMG

Dear Sirs,

I refer to your notification of the public exhibitions, received yesterday by post, and advise the following.

Given the notice period of your exhibitions is less than 10 days, and that the notice and exhibition dates are within the normal UK school summer holidays, you have purposefully excluded a large percentage of the local community. The attendance at the exhibitions will be smaller than would be if proper notice and appropriate exhibition dates were adopted.

Your notice of the exhibition, and the dates of the exhibition, ought to be changed to more reasonable periods and times respectively, to allow appropriate access by the local community to the same.

Furthermore the questions noted in the feedback return that you have posed are inappropriate and ought to be amended. It is of no relevance to whether local residences are in favour of renewable energy, and in particular wind energy, as it does not give any reference to why your proposals are not suitable to the Lower Alt site. The questions are, at best, misleading but also creative of a divisive response. This is not appropriate in obtaining genuine and unbiased comments, and any conclusions will therefore be debatable and not supportive of any future proposals.

Your proposals can only be properly commented on once reasonable opportunities have been made to review your proposals and, being denied reasonable access to your exhibitions, it is unlikely that this will happen. This might well be your agenda, given the current political position on wind farms, and this will be taken into account in future debate.

Can you, as agents acting on behalf of all parties to your proposals noted in your notification, please advise if the tenants of Leverhulme Estates, that have lease arrangements to farming land that is within the demise area of your proposals, will be completely free to put forward their own objections to your proposals, and will not suffer punishment from Leverhulme Estates if they do. It is of great concern that the tenants might be in fear of voicing their opinions and we would like to reassure them, as I am sure you will also, that they will not suffer any detrimental backlash from their landlord should they also put forward objections to your proposals in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Name and address supplied