People in a former mining village are celebrating after two bids to create wind farms near their coastal community were rejected by council planners.
Lynemouth in Northumberland has been dominated by the impacts of mining for decades but was prepared to put up with them in return for the local jobs.
But villagers say plans to erect giant wind turbines nearby will bring no jobs and stifle regeneration following the closure of Ellington Colliery.
Castle Morpeth councillors refused ScottishPower permission for a 13-turbine wind farm near the Alcan aluminium smelter.
They also rejected their officers’ advice and threw out a bid by Harworth Power – an offshoot of UK Coal – to put up three turbines at the village’s former coal stocking area.
The ScottishPower turbines would each be 121 metres tall and the Harworth Power ones 110, prompting fears that they will completely dominate the flat landscape with a major eyesore.
ScottishPower’s application involves seven turbines in Castle Morpeth and six in neighbouring Wansbeck, where the district council has yet to rule.
Cath Davidson, who chairs Lynemouth Parish Council and local regeneration group CELL, said yesterday people were delighted: “We have shouldered the burden of energy production through coal mining here for many years, but that produced jobs and we were prepared to do it. These schemes will bring no employment whatsoever.
“The only people gaining from wind farms are the developers and the landowners. We will be putting up the same kind of opposition if the companies appeal.”
ScottishPower will now await the Wansbeck Council decision on its 13-turbine scheme before deciding its next move.
A report is to go to councillors in June but the company has indicated it will consider appealing against a refusal.
A spokesman for Harworth Power said: “We are disappointed that the councillors rejected the advice of their own officers to approve our scheme. We will be reviewing the reasons for refusal and then considering the options open to us, which include an appeal or a revised scheme.”
By Robert Brooks, The Journal
27 April 2007
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