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23 December 2007
Bronze Age blow to windfarms in Cumbria

Controversial windfarm plans could be blown away after Bronze Age remains were found at a Cumbrian site (England). West Coast Energy has applied to build nine 335ft-high wind turbines at Berrier Hill near Greystoke, Penrith.
     The proposals have attracted strong opposition, with local people joining together to fight the windfarm plans. This week they claimed an early victory after their concerns about the historical value of the site were upheld. It follows news that the Office of the County Archaeologist has now written to Eden Council planners to underline its significance. It is known that the Berrier Hill site contains ancient earthworks and the remains of Bronze Age cremation burials. However, the full scale and importance of these artefacts have yet to be fully defined.
     In a letter to planning officer Malcolm Johnson, assistant archaeologist Jeremy Parsons calls for the energy company to fund a detailed study. He recommends that a full archaeological survey is carried out before any application can even be considered. The results would give the County Archaeologist and English Heritage a clear indication of what lies below the land – and whether they should protect the site using Scheduled Monument Status.
     The Berrier Hill Wind Opposition Group are now hoping that the plans will be thrown out without the need for a lengthy planning battle. They believe that as well as Bronze Age remains, there may be other important discoveries at the site, which has views across to the Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick.
     In a statement released this week the group said: "Clearly one consequence of any survey is that the remains and artefacts would have to be preserved in situ, and this would have a knock-on effect on the viability and appropriate nature of the site for an industrial development.  This is excellent news and underlies our concern that from the beginning this has been the wrong site for a wind farm.    
     Samantha Crosby, West Coast Energy’s project manager, confirmed that they were aware of the latest request and were more than happy to comply. She explained that a standard survey has already been competed and a more detailed evaluation of the site would get under way in the new year.

Source: The Cumberland News (21 December 2007)

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