By Dave Black, The Journal
Villagers facing the prospect of 16 massive wind turbines going up near their Northumberland homes have been on a fact-finding mission to a wind farm in Scotland.
ScottishPower took more than 20 people from Lynemouth, Ellington and other local communities to see its £130m wind farm at Black Law in South Lanarkshire.
It was to show them the visual and environmental impact of turbines in advance of the company’s new bid to secure planning permission for 16 turbines near the Alcan aluminium plant.
One community leader said yesterday that, following the visit, local people still remained highly sceptical about the benefits of the 120m turbines being put up.
Public exhibitions of the plans sparked opposition from a number of local people earlier this year and ScottishPower withdrew its planning application for the 36-megawatt installation to allow more time for consultations.
The company expects to re-submit its application within the next few weeks in a bid to win approval for the wind farm, which would produce electricity for the national grid.
Members of Castle Morpeth Council’s planning committee will visit the Black Law wind farm next month at the invitation of ScottishPower, before they assess the company’s renewed bid.
Many local people are opposed to the idea of erecting the 16 turbines in a landscape which has long been dominated by industrial structures such as Blyth Power Station, Ellington Colliery and the Alcan aluminium plant.
Cath Davidson of Lynemouth, who chairs the Cell regeneration group, covering the villages of Cresswell, Ellington, Lynemouth and Linton, said yesterday the visit to Black Law had failed to convince her and others that the project should go ahead.
“Having seen it, I must admit I was even less likely to say yes to the turbines at Alcan,” she said. “Unlike Black Law, these turbines would be almost in people’s back gardens and that is horrifying.
“Most people on that visit were not keen on a wind farm here anyway and they were not swayed by what we saw.
“Some of us will not be here long enough to have to put up with these turbines, but we could be condemning future generations to problems and we have to be very careful. There are all sorts of concerns such as proximity to houses, noise, the effect on birds and the impact on Newcastle Airport.”
A ScottishPower spokesman said yesterday it was expected that its application would be re-submitted to Castle Morpeth and Wansbeck Councils next month.
“The opportunity is being taken to allow local residents and parish and district councillors to visit our wind farm at Black Law, Consultations are ongoing.”
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