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Turbine objectors plan court battle  

Protesters say they will launch the North’s first legal challenge to a wind farm, if it is approved by planners tomorrow night.

Hundreds of opponents of the proposed Moorsyde development, near Berwick, are expected to turn out for what is likely to be a stormy meeting at Ancroft Village Hall.

Berwick Borough Council planners will be recommending approval for the 10-turbine scheme, despite a 760-name petition and more than 200 letters of objection. Moorsyde Action Group has now instructed North-East law firm Dickinson Dees to act on its behalf. A MAG spokesman said: “They have a specialist planning team with a wealth of experience in this field.

“After discussions with their team, we agreed to their undertaking a number of steps, beginning on Monday, which include formally notifying the council of our intention to mount a legal challenge in the event of an approval decision at the meeting on Tuesday.”

MAG says the recommendation undermines an as yet uncompleted wind capacity study commissioned from OveArup by the authority, Northumberland County Council and the North-East Assembly. And it accuses the borough council of ignoring a “highly critical” previous report it commissioned from independent consultant Ironside Farrar.

That study concluded: “The Moorsyde wind farm will have significant adverse impacts on the site and surroundings that will be difficult to mitigate.”

The Mag spokesman said: “Everybody in the area is astonished that this planning meeting is taking place at this time and in these circumstances. The recommendation by the planning officer to approve flies in the face of clear evidence from the Ironside Farrar audit of the application that identified 28 areas where further information or clarification was required.

“The applicants have cut four turbines, moved another and resubmitted their application in response to criticism from the county archaeologist about its impacts on the Duddo Stone Circle.

“They have done nothing else to address the key findings of this report, especially with regard to the visual impact it would have on views to the Cheviots.”

Richard Mardon, managing director of applicant Your Energy, said: “This is a great opportunity for Berwick to become self-sufficient in renewable energy and make a statement that it is taking sustainable development and climate change very seriously.”

By Robert Brooks, The Journal


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