“Prisoners Have As Much Right To Sleep As Anyone Else”

Credit:  Riot fear at Cumbrian prison as wind turbines tipped for approval | By Jenny Barwise | News & Star | 08 September 2014 | www.newsandstar.co.uk ~~

A riot could soon be breaking out at Haverigg prison, it has been claimed, as five wind turbines are set to be built near to the site.

A second, and final decision, is to be made next Wednesday over the highly controversial plans for the development.

At a Copeland planning panel held in July, it was claimed by councillors and members of the public that prisoners could be driven crazy by the noise of the proposed turbines, resulting in a riot.

Members of the panel voted to refuse the application, by Partnership For Renewables (PFR) but a final decision was deferred to a later date to ensure there was clarity in the information provided by the applicant.

Copeland planners are now urging members to approve the application next week.

At the last committee, councillor John Jackson said he could not believe it when it was revealed that inmates were not taken into account.

“They are still human beings for goodness sake,” he said. “The prisoners have as much right to sleep as anyone else. I have to agree that it could cause a lot of trouble if they are not going to get a good night’s sleep.”

And resident Peter Unsworth, of North Lane in Haverigg, said the noise would drive the prisoners crazy and result in a riot.

Mr Unsworth said: “The prisoners themselves were not asked and they are residents too. They won’t be able to sleep because of the noise. It would drive anyone crazy and it could end up in a riot.”

John Mills, of PFR, said: “At the end of the day they’re not residents, they’re prisoners. They don’t get a vote either, so they don’t get to be consulted on matters like this. They’re in prison. They’ve lost their rights.”

PFR has now given an example of other prisons which have turbines on site, but has not resulted in any problems.

Copeland’s planning officer, John Groves, says in a report to councillors, that turbines on site of HMP Standford Hill in Kent, are closer to the nearest accommodation blocks than they would be at Haverigg.

“After 17 months of operation there has not been a single complaint from inmates or staff with regards to shadow flicker or noise,” he added.

The 25-year operation at Haverigg would be constructed on land belonging to the prison and on a former airfield adjacent to an existing windfarm.

During its consultation it received 93 letters of objection from Haverigg residents, as well as objections from Millom town council and Friends of the Lake District. Reasons for opposing the application included the visual impact of the additional turbines as well as the height which is almost double of those already installed in the area.

Source:  Riot fear at Cumbrian prison as wind turbines tipped for approval | By Jenny Barwise | News & Star | 08 September 2014 | www.newsandstar.co.uk