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Wind turbine decision delayed further  

Innovative proposals to install wind turbines in Cramlington face growing opposition from Newcastle Airport.

Blyth Valley Council is considering a second planning application from Aesica Pharmaceuticals to put up the two turbines at its plant in Shotton Lane.

Although councillors are keen to bring renewable energy sources into the borough and uphold its recognition as a Centre of Excellence, they are concerned about the airport’s objections that the turbines could jeopardise safety by effecting radar systems.

The council refused a similar application for planning permission in August.

The new application, which seeks permission for reduced size turbines at 110 metres high, was deferred in hope of a meeting with airport bosses.

Coun Alisdair Gibbs-Barton said: “I think this whole application is innovative, money saving and will save jobs at the site.

“The applicants have already reduced the size of the units.”

He raised examples of turbines being approved elsewhere close to airports and approach paths.

He added: “Blyth Valley is a Centre of Excellence promoting the use of wind power, but we do not have one windmill in Blyth Valley.

“They say they are in Wansbeck so this is a chance for a major development on an industrial site to generate energy on the site.

“We have had no comments from the Civil Aviation Authority on this so I don’t really understand the airport’s objections.”

Newcastle Airport says as the proposal is in an area of airspace controlled by the airport, the three-bladed turbines will create a line of sight to the radar, impacting on the safe operations of the airport.

A council report said: “The issue is that the turbines will show on the radar as an object.”

Planning officers had recommended refusal of the plans.

Head of planning, Steve Robson, said: “There is nothing I would like more than to recommend we approve permission for the wind turbines in this area.

“We are a Centre of Excellence, but Newcastle Airport is responsible for the safety of their airspace and they object on safety grounds.

“We are in areas beyond our expertise.”

Coun Michael Dungworth said: “A delayed decision is better than a bad decision.”

Coun Ian Ayres said: “Wind energy is an excellent resource, hopefully we will go on to create more turbines.

“I am aware of the health and safety risks which is a worrying feature, but this is going to effect every wind turbine to go in Blyth Valley in the future.”


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