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Kirkstone windfarm a special exception

Posted 2 April 2012
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Kirkstone windfarm a special exception
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Normally any suggestion that a windfarm be built in a national park is one to raise a myriad of objections. Even the thought of turbines just outside a boundary - like the disputed plans in the Monadhliath Mountains near the Cairngorms National Park - is enough to promote fierce opposition.

But not so a small windfarm in the Lake District. It is not on a hilltop so its visibility is limited, but the real reason the new installation that was switched on last Friday (March 30th) may be rather less likely to entice moans is that, far from destroying a cherished piece of Lakeland, it is preserving it.

The Westmorland Gazette reported on the formal switch on of the Kirkstone Pass Inn's new turbines by no less than Richard Leafe, the Lake District National Park Authority's chief executive.

He said: "This application does not mean that we are going to cover the national park with wind turbines but there are certain examples where we need renewable energy and we want to create a low-carbon Lake District."

The reason for this is that the inn has hitherto been reliant on expensive generators which, apart from producing plenty of carbon emissions, were uneconomic and threatened the future of an institution that has been open since the 1490s.

Landlord John Jennings told the paper: "Because of the work here we can keep this historic pub going for many years to come."

Thousands of people heading to the Lake District will visit the pub every year and while many will be motorists stopping for a drink and perhaps a meal while en route over the pass, others will come in their walking boots.

After all, the pub is ideally situated for climbs of Red Screes (2,546 ft) and Stony Cove Pike (2,503 ft), with one option being to climb the two in a day with a nice pub stop in between.

Walkers can also use the elevation (nearly 1,500 ft up) of the inn to their advantage by staying overnight in one of its rooms or the attached bunkhouse before making an early morning start on a big day's walking, such as on the High Street range, where Wainwright baggers can have a fine day ticking off the summits.

All of which makes the preservation of the inn good news for all.