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Blow to wind farms  

A number of wind farms planned for the region have been held up by red tape . . . putting the Government’s energy plans in doubt.

The Sunday Sun has found 18 projects bogged down in bureaucracy . . . and there are fears that fed-up investors may take their money abroad.

The British Wind Energy Association, BWEA, is calling for the Government to tell councils they must conclude wind farm planning applications within three months.

Some have been languishing in planning limbo for years because of objections. One, in Redcar, Teesside, has been held up since March 2004. The Government is planning for 10 per cent of energy to be from renewable sources by 2010.

A BWEA spokeswoman said: “Many of the objections to these farms are quite spurious and have been dealt with in other planning applications in other areas of the country.

“This is reducing our chances of becoming the world leader in this field, yet wind energy is due to become a major industry of the future and . . . by 2020, more than 30,000 people will be employed in renewables.”

Last week, Alnwick district councillors voted against npower’s plan to place 18 wind turbines at Middlemoor, Northumberland, despite officers recommending its approval.

The scheme, submitted in December 2005 and backed by Northumberland County Council, would have supplied electricity to at least 27,000 homes.

To complicate matters, a study by the North East Assembly has concluded that the site could take another 10 turbines from RidgeWind Limited. They were originally earmarked for nearby Wandylaw.

Northumberland County Councillors are expected this week to vote for the scheme to go ahead. But it could again face fierce district opposition.

Dan Grierson, of TNEI – a company that helps the wind energy industry with planning applications – said: “Every survey on wind farms comes back with around 80pc of those polled being supportive of renewable wind energy. A lot of these objections are sheer nimbyism.”

Northumberland farmer Robert Thorp said: “To have 18, 125m (410ft)high turbines in Middlemoor is bad enough, but to bolt on another 10 would make this by far the biggest installation in England and Wales.

“It beggars belief and is quite ridiculous in an area where we are trying to promote the beauty of the landscape.”

Turbines tangles up by Red Tape

Wind farms by county . . . up and running, approved, rejected or submitted and presently going through the planning process.

Tyne and Wear
Operational…………………………..2
Submitted…………………………….1

County Durham
Operational……………………………5
Submitted……………………………..1
Approved……………………………….6
Refused………………………………..2
Under Construction………………….3

North Yorkshire and Teesside
Operational……………………………1
Submitted……………………………..2
Approved………………………………4
Refused………………………………..1

Cumbria
Operational…………………………14
Submitted…………………………….6
Approved………………………………1
Refused……………………………….5
Under construction………………….3

Northumberland
Operational…………………………..3
Submitted…………………………….8
Refused……………………………….6

By Phil Doherty
The Sunday Sun

icnewcastle

4 March 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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