WALNEY’s off-shore wind farm operators wants to increase its flights from its Barrow helipad – despite residents’ objections that they are scaring the horses.

Renewable energy company Orsted has applied for permission to increase the return flights from its Sandscale Park helipad from six to up to 10 during May and September.

Residents, two of which farm close by, have raised three objections.

One said: “The helicopter regularly flies extremely low over my property which causes distress to my horses and livestock. I was recently knocked by my horse in the stable as it was panicked by the helicopter flying very low directly over the stables creating a dangerous situation.”

Residents claim the helicopter repeatedly deviates ‘from the agreed flight path’ and that the change could result in 28 additional flights a week.

They also said noise can be heard inside homes even with the windows shut, according to documents lodged with the council.

However, the applicants have pointed out that the flight path was agreed with Natural England, the Government’s adviser for the natural environment.

It has been set to avoid flying over the specially-protected Morecambe Bay and Duddon Estuary, so as not to disturb rare and migratory birds.

The applicants added: “Why are they flying over your farm? The simple answer is the wind. The helicopter takes off and lands in a different way each time, depending on the wind direction and speed.

“No aircraft can take off or land with a tailwind. This is because with such a wind, they have no control over their speed. With a headwind, they can use it to slow the aircraft down or use the engines to increase the speed. A tailwind prevents this and is dangerous.

“This is not only associated with the heliport. In fact, every airport in the world has different runways facing different directions.”

The applicants have told the council that of 170 flights analysed, the helicopter ‘unfortunately’ flew over the affected property ‘once on May 16’.

Eight other flights had been in ‘close proximity,’ said the applicants, while all other flights had been ‘further than 250-metres away’.

Barrow council planning officers have recommended the application be allowed. The decision rests with its planning committee, chaired by Cllr Colin Thomson, which meets on September 10.