Plans are afoot to extend the boundary of the Lake District National Park to include the site of a proposed wind farm, which is currently subject to a bitterly contested public inquiry. Chalmerston Wind Power, a partnership between Renewable Development Company (RDC) and Falck Renewables-subsidiary of the Italian Gruppo Falck-hopes to install 27 turbines at Whinash in Cumbria, on a stretch of land between two national parks and close to the M6 motorway. Weeks into the inquiry, the Countryside Agency, which has objected to the wind farm, is now proposing to increase national park land in the north-west. Whinash will be one of the areas affected. The project has divided environmentalists. Landscape groups, such as Lake District National Park Authority and Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale Scenery are opposed. Groups who are more concerned about the effects of climate change, such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, are in support. From RDC, Steven Molloy insists its case remains robust, despite the Countryside Agency's plans. Whinash was excluded from the National Park in 1947 on the basis that it was not of a sufficiently high landscape quality, he says. Since then a pylon and the M6 were routed through the area, he adds. He draws comparison with the New Forest national park in southern England where a power station was allowed to be built on the basis that it would not be a permanent structure, but would be dismantled at the end of its useful life. "The same is true for the wind farm at Whinash," he says. Molloy expects the public inquiry to last for eight weeks, making it the longest ever in the UK into a wind farm application.
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