A bid to create a major wind farm near a 670-job Northumberland aluminium smelter would dominate the landscape and should be rejected, according to council planners.
ScottishPower wants to erect 13 giant turbines, each 121 metres tall from base to rotor blade tip, on land surrounding the Alcan complex at Lynemouth.
They would tower 40m higher than the eight chimneys on the Alcan smelter and next week planning officers at Castle Morpeth Borough Council will recommend rejection of the scheme – claiming it is `excessive’ in an area long dominated by huge industrial features.
However, only seven of the proposed 13 turbines would be in Castle Morpeth, leaving neighbouring Wansbeck District Council to determine a separate application from ScottishPower for the other six. That could mean one local authority refusing permission for half of the scheme and another granting approval for the remainder – leaving the overall project in limbo.
Last year ScottishPower withdrew a previous bid for 16 turbines in the area, following protests from residents, and later submitted revised plans, deleting three near the village of Linton.
The amended proposal has sparked protests from Lynemouth and Cresswell parish councils and a number of locals, who claim the wind farm will be too close to people’s homes and do nothing to support local regeneration efforts or create jobs.
A report by officers to next week’s Castle Morpeth Council development services committee says the 13 turbines would cover an area 2km by 1.7km, stretching inland from the Alcan smelter and would be over-dominant to the point of changing the landscape character. At the same meeting, councillors will be recommended to approve plans by Harworth Power – an offshoot of UK Coal – for three 110m-high wind turbines at Lynemouth’s former coal stocking area.
Yesterday villager Cath Davidson, who chairs the CELL group representing the villages of Cresswell, Ellington, Linton and Lynemouth, said she could not understand why both applications were not being recommended for refusal.
“Nobody can tell me that these turbines will help regeneration, which is what we are fighting for here in Lynemouth. In fact, they will nullify regeneration efforts and won’t bring any jobs to the village. We don’t differentiate between the two applications and feel both should be refused because the same objections apply.”
Cresswell Parish Council chairman Jean Scott said: “We have the situation here where Castle Morpeth could refuse permission for these turbines and Wansbeck could approve the other six, but people in Wansbeck won’t be affected nearly as much as people in Lynemouth.”
By Dave Black
18 April 2007
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