The power of wind farms to provide the supplies of energy expected of them may remain the subject of heated debate in some quarters.
But there can be no disputing that they possess more than enough strength to divide communities, and none more so than those of rural Northumberland.
Further evidence of that came yesterday when the county council decided to back an application from npower renewables for an 18-turbine wind farm at Middlemoor.
In a matter of days, judgment on the same proposal will be passed by Alnwick District Council. Some believe it may take a completely opposite view to the county.
The verdict of the people on whom the erection of turbines would most have an impact is mixed, it seems.
However, the final decision does not rest with them. Instead, it lies with the Department of Trade and Industry which, by all accounts, is determined to push through as many wind farm applications as possible.
So far, so straightforward, you might think. But consider this before you do.
Northumberland County Council’s support for one wind farm application did not persuade it to back another, from the same company, elsewhere in the county. Deny that it judges each proposal on its merits, if you dare.
Blind obedience to the expressed preferences of central Government isn’t to be found to the south, in County Durham, either. There too an application to erect a wind turbine was knocked down yesterday.
And that will be the cue for more mixed emotions, of happiness and worry this time. The first from a parachute club that can stay in business and the second from the factory whose bosses put the application forward.
Hopes that the turbine would cut the factory’s energy bills lie in shreds and an appeal may follow, but the company’s employees will doubtless be concerned for their future.
But then, so we all are, which is why wind farms are being built in the first place.
By The Journal
Feb 7 2007
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