A LENGTHY debate has seen a proposal to keep the Kirkby Moor Wind Farm in operation for another 10 years rejected by members of the South Lakeland District Council planning committee.

For more than two hours statements were made by local residents, parish councillors and county councillors on why they felt the extension plan should be refused. Energy company Innogy had applied to keep the site in operation until March 2027.

James Airey, Cumbria County Councillor for Ulverston West, said: "We've heard many good planning reasons to refuse this planning application. I would say this is an application to immorally gain a subsidy from the public purse. This has been a blight on the countryside in Furness for 25 years."

Cllr Airey made reference to a subsidy paid to wind farm operators in return for their investment in renewable energy. Many of those opposed to the site's renewal highlighted the applicant's desire to run the site until the day subsidies would no longer be paid out.

In a statement Innogy said it was "disappointed" with the council's decision to refuse their application. It said: "We're disappointed by today's decision from South Lakeland District Council's planning committee to reject the planning application to extend the operational life of the Kirkby Moor Wind Farm.

"This decision is contrary to the recommendation of the planning officer, the views of important statutory consultees, such as Natural England and the Lake District National Park Authority, and is especially disappointing given we have worked tirelessly to ensure our proposal would have a positive impact on the local environment and community."