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Children's helicopter charity objects to wind turbine being built in their flight path

Merlyn's Life Flight for Children are against the plans for a 102m turbine in Simonswood

Merlyn Lewis, founder of the charity with a model of an intensive care air ambulance helicopter back in 2007.

A charity that helps transport critically ill children between hospitals for life-saving treatment has objected to plans to build a wind turbine in their flight path.

Merlyn’s Life Flight for Children is based at Simonswood in West Lancashire, next to the proposed site of a 102m wind turbine.

The wind turbine proposal is set to go before West Lancashire Borough Council planning committee tonight, but the charity is arguing that it will pose a threat to aircraft safety.

In their statement to councillors they said: “Life-Flight Helicopters have operated from this site without incident since 1990. We are extremely concerned by the attitude of both the applicant and West Lancashire council in their relation to the future safety of aircraft.

“Tall structures and low flying helicopters are to be avoided where possible at all times.

“We often have helicopters landing here with seven souls on board. The charity is endeavouring to assist in saving the lives of sick and injured children and an aircraft impact with this proposed turbine does not bear to think about.

“We do not want a helicopter crash like in Glasgow or London.”

The council have argued however the civil aviation authority said they can see no reason why the helicopter base would not still be useable.

Simonswood Parish Council have also registered an objection to the plans, mainly on the grounds that the wind turbine is uneccesarily high – at the equivalent of six double decker buses – and that an alternative site should be suggested.

Five other neighbours to the site have also registered their objections, arguing the turbine would cause noise pollution, be unsightly and have an adverse impact on the wildlife.

Councillors are due to pass the turbine plans however. In his report to councillors the Assistant Director of Planning, John Harrison, said: “I consider the location of the proposed turbine to be acceptable and its visual impact to be not so detrimental to warrant refusal of this application.

“The long term environmental benefits of the renewable energy created by the turbine outweighs the harm to the landscape and visual amenity to the area.

“The proposed wind turbine would have no significant adverse effects on the conservation objectives of the Ribble and Alt Estuary pink footed geese population.

“I am satisfied that all the site planning details, including the design and external appearance of the turbine, residential emenity and biodiversity have been adequately addressed.”

 

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