For generations they've been countryside's beating heart - now they fear they're about to be torn out'

Resident and business owner Jason Beig
Resident and business owner Jason Beig -Credit:Manchester Evening News

They say it will be wider than the M55 motorway.

For the most part, the Fylde Cost is sparsely-populated open farmland, with villages and the odd industrial site spotted across its picturesque landscape.

Soon, many who call the area home fear it will be dug up to make way for what has been dubbed a 'cable corridor'. Among them are farmers and equestrian businesses which say they depend on the land.

Although the disruption has been described as temporary. many fear it will destroy their businesses forever. Some of them have been there for generations.


Two wind farms are set to be established in the Irish Sea, with a 'cable corridor' connecting the structures to an existing electricity substation in Penwortham. A form of providing green energy for the future, residents of the Fylde Coast aren't opposed to this in theory.

Instead, they told LancsLive they are opposed to the nature of the plans by Morgan and Morecambe, two companies in collaboration with BP.

The cable corridor is set to 'rip through' greenbelt and countryside land in the Fylde, leaving the businesses and livelihoods of those that live in the area - they fear - in its wake. Two substations in Kirkham and Newton are also set to be built - one of which is set to be the size of 13 football pitches and over 23 metres in height.

Resident and business owner Jason Beig
Resident and business owner Jason Beig -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Jason Beig lives near Lower Lane in Freckleton, in a home amidst the more rural part of the area. Although they don't live on an active farm, Jason runs his business Great Oaks Tree Services from the land. He fears the plans will impact the company "massively".

Talking from the property he shares with his wife and young children, Jason said: "I've got four young children and they're not going to be able to play out now, in what was once a nice quiet area.

"It's going to affect us massively, house prices massively." The road leading to Jason's property is a narrow and winding country lane, used by his staff to get to and from work every day.

He fears the plans, with BP's vehicles coming in on a daily basis will affect Great Oaks - but he feels helpless in stopping the plans from going ahead. Jason added: "We've got ten staff and if we can't get in and out daily, getting out to site on time and doing what we have to do, then it'll have a knock-on effect with clients and stuff."

Not only that, but Jason has already experienced some disruption from the plans. He said: "We've had surveyors come almost daily.

"They're coming in, knocking on the door and coming on the fields without permission and then they'll get permission, come back. Everyday there's all different types and it's been going on for months.

"They're actually starting test runs soon, I don't know how because they haven't got approval to do anything. If we block them coming in, the diggers and lorries and test drillers, it's another fine. It's just strong arm tactics and they'll do what they want."

On the land directly behind his home, Jason is facing having two substations and a temporary compound built within metres. "The substation is going to be so loud it's like driving down the motorway at 70 mph, the buzz," Jason explained.

Local farmer Michelle Fair
Local farmer Michelle Fair -Credit:Manchester Evening News

"That's what they've reported it as. The channel of wires coming in and cables are going to be wider than the M55 - 122 metres wide. It's going to affect everything."

Opposite Jason is a working farm run by Derek and his daughter, Michelle Fair. Visiting her, Michelle was well into the throng of a working day on the farm, something which could drastically change soon.

Having moved to the farm in 1992, Michelle grew up there and now runs it with her dad. Uncertain of the future, she said: "As much as anything, it's the hassle and the aggro of people coming through the yard.

"They've said they want access through the yard to do more surveys down there. Vehicles, diggers all down there, but again you don't get told anything properly."

If the plans go ahead, Michelle and her dad could face losing 18-20 acres of their 100-acre land, meaning 20% of their business and farm could be gone. "It's temporary, or so they say," Michelle said.

"So they're having a temporary compound on that land for all their work that's going on in the field next to it, which belongs to somebody else. They said all that land will be reinstated, but how you can dig it all up and stone it and reinstate it back to how it was, I don't know."

Michelle says she has to plan her business and livelihood two years in advance, with animals and a number of logistics involved. She explained: "The animals we've got now are two years old before they go back to the farm that we rear them for.

"It's like a two-year plan. It's our livelihood and also, it's our home as well and that's the frustrating thing. If we get a lot of vehicles going up and through the yard, I have a daughter and next door have four children, so if they're playing in the yard."

Michelle could lose around 20% of her farming business
The land next door to the riding school where the work will be undertaken

Ten minutes up the road, on the outskirts of Blackpool is Midgeland Riding School, a well-known equestrian centre that's been in operation on Midgeland Road for over 50 years. In its third generation of the Ellis family, Wendy runs the school along with her husband, daughter and son, Richard Ellis.

Behind Division Lane, the Ellis family own land which is used for the grazing, livery yard and forage which feeds the horses during the winter when they stay in the stables. Wind farm plans propose to take this away from the family for part of the cable corridor, which will stretch to Penwortham and will completely destroy the land it sits upon.

Richard said: "That is the heart. This is the body, the every day, you get on a horse and you ride the horse. Without the feed, the horse isn't alive and without the grazing, the horses can't just stand in the stable.

The onshore wind farm plans
Michelle could lose around 20% of her farming business -Credit:Manchester Evening News

"We would not be able to survive buying all the feed in, we make it ourselves. We can control the quantity and quality, so we know what we're feeding our horses. If any have specialist diets, we can make it in the summer and tailor it to what they need."

Wendy explains that although there may be stables in the Fylde Coast area, there are only Midgeland Riding School and Wrea Green Equestrian Centre which offer a high-standard educational experience for the riders, with the latter centre at risk from the plans too. If they go ahead, the area could face losing both.

Opened in 2014, the riding school offers a riding simulator for disabled and able-bodied riders to progress their training. Richard said: "People will say, you're going to lose a few businesses but the greater ripple through the community isn't going to be felt.

"A few people may lose their jobs, but they'll find employment else. The reality is though, the disabled work we do and how we work with children's lives, it won't be about the riding school and how another business will close because of it, as sacrifices have to be made for green energy.

Wendy Ellis from Midgeland Riding School
The onshore wind farm plans -Credit:Morgan and Morecambe

"The actual impact will be had on the wider community. We're based in Blackpool on this side of the road, and the land is on Fylde and they say it won't affect them but it clearly will.

"A number of children come to do these schemes and do the riding, from all over the place. The ripple is massive through the community."

The plans for the wind farms are two-fold, the Morgan side of the project is to be developed under a joint venture between BP and EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg AG. The Morecambe side is under a joint venture between Cobra and Flotation Energy.

LancsLive contacted Fylde Council, who stated their position on the plans haven't changed since November 2023, when objections were raised with the proposals and presented at that time. The council have not yet been made aware of any changes or further consultation on the scheme.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: "A consultation relating to a forthcoming application by a private company to develop a new offshore windfarm across the Fylde Coast was carried out towards the end of 2023.

"During the consultation, we raised concerns about the impacts on ecology, particularly near the internationally protected areas of the Ribble estuary and the impact on the local highway network and other concerns.

"Our planning and transport officers highlighted that the proposal has the potential to cause significant disruption to residents during construction and any roadworks are likely to have significant knock-on effects to the wider network resulting in congestion. They also advised that information in the Lancashire Environmental Records Network should be taken into account, such as irreplaceable habitats, habitats of principal importance and protected and priority species that may be affected.

"As the proposal is classed as a 'nationally significant infrastructure project,' the application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, who will review the application and make recommendations to the Secretary of State, who has the powers to grant or refuse development consent.

"However, the Planning Inspectorate's review process does include a process of public examination."

A spokesperson for Morgan and Morecambe said: "The Morgan Offshore Wind Project and the Morecambe Offshore Windfarm are two proposed offshore wind farms being developed in the Irish Sea. The two offshore wind farms intend to make an important contribution to the UK's target of generating 50GW of power from offshore wind by 2030.

"Combined they have the potential to generate almost 2GW of electricity - enough to power the equivalent of around two million homes. Since 2022, our project teams have held three rounds of consultation (both non-statutory and statutory) and we recognise that public consultation is a vital process, which gives the local community an opportunity to review our proposals, ask us questions and provide their feedback.

"All feedback we have received has been considered to date and helped inform our design process. We understand there are local concerns, and these will be addressed in due course. We intend to provide a further update on our plans over the coming months, before we submit our application, later in the year."