Windfarm objectors are hoping a peaceful protest against a sea of turbines above rural Northumberland will make its point with councillors next week.
A symbolic balloon is being floated more than 400ft above South Charlton, six miles north of Alnwick, where plans are being made for 18 powerful wind turbines from energy giants npower in a £50m-plus development.
Launched yesterday in glorious sunshine above the peaceful countryside, the giant balloon will stay in place until Tuesday when Alnwick District councillors make a site visit ahead of planning meetings.
Rob Thorp, who is helping to lead the objections against Middlemoor Wind Farm, said: “This kind of thing would be disastrous for the area which overlooks the Heritage Coastline.
“It will have a massive effect on industry here and because it will be visible for many, many miles, it will scar an area which is promoted as undiscovered and unspoiled.”
He added: “Giving figures of 400ft or 125m are one thing but we want to show people how high these turbines will be, which is the purpose of the balloon. When the councillors come here on Tuesday, it is important we show them the affect they will have rather than leave it to their imaginations.”
Mr Thorp, 55, a farmer and holiday cottage owner from South Charlton, is hoping he and his fellow protesters will be able to force a public inquiry from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to which a number of objections have already been made.
But energy supplier npower, which says the development is vital in an age of global warming and would provide electricity to 27,000 homes, is standing by its proposals.
It also said the protesters do not have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly the balloon – an accusation firmly denied by those involved.
Regional development manager Clare Wilson said: “Wind turbines are large structures, there’s no getting away from the fact, but they are generating large quantities of electricity. Indeed a wind farm at Middlemoor could generate enough electricity to meet the annual average needs of every home in Alnwick and Berwick districts without emitting any carbon dioxide.
“Changing the way we generate and consume our electricity is vital in slowing the effects of climate change.”
By Murray Kelso, The Journal
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