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Protest at gale force  

Anti wind farm protesters reacted with anger last night as plans for another 35 turbines were unveiled for the Northumberland horizon.

Seventeen turbines are being proposed for the north of the county while, in the Tyne Valley, energy suppliers want to erect 18.

The latest bids for north Northumberland, by Renewable Energy Systems (RES), are for two sites near Berwick. They would bring the total number of turbines planned in a 30-mile stretch north of Alnwick to 71.

The first RES scheme would comprise seven 120m-high turbines at West Edge Farm, near Halidon Hill, a listed battlefield site on a prominent moor overlooking the historic market town.

The second would be for 10 more on land near Murton, to the south of Berwick.

Berwick Borough Council is already due to decide on a pair of controversial applications next month, for 10 turbines at Moorsyde, near Allerdean, and nine at Barmoor, near Lowick.

Last night local campaigners said the sheer weight of applications threatened to overwhelm both planners and the landscape.

A spokesman for Moorsyde Action Group said: “Developers are desperate to get aboard this gravy train before a new subsidy regime is introduced in two years’ time. Our major concern remains the borough council’s handling of wind farm applications. We have already experienced attempts by the council to decide the Moorsyde application without adequate information on critical issues in the application.

“The council tells us that they are trying to rush these decisions through together because the planning department is failing to meet Government targets for the determination of planning applications.

“Local people tell us that the failure of the planning department to meet its performance targets is of far lesser importance than the proper consideration of schemes for 360ft turbines that will have major impacts on the borough’s landscape and on local communities and tourist businesses.”

Others currently in the planning system include seven turbines at Toft Hill, near Grindon, and another 10 at Wandylaw.

Meanwhile, just over the boundary in Alnwick District, a plan for 18 more at Middlemoor is now lodged with the Department of Trade and Industry and will be the subject of a public inquiry.

And another speculative site, on Bewick Moor, near Chillingham, is currently being investigated by the Spanish company, EHN.

South Charlton farmer Robert Thorp, whose land is adjacent to Middlemoor and Wandylaw, says the combined effect of 70-plus turbines would be “ruinous” to the area. “The rush to cover this beautiful part of the region with wind farms is getting ridiculously out-of-hand,” said Mr Thorp, whose daughter Nina also manages holiday cottages in the area.

No-one at Berwick Borough Council or Renewable Energy Systems Ltd was available for comment.

By Robert Brooks, The Journal

icnewcastle

17 April 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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