A couple who turned down a potential £6m to have a wind farm built on their land because of the effect it would have on the community and the landscape could still end up surrounded by turbines built on neighbouring farms.
Frank and Clare Dakin say they moved to Northumberland for the “unspoilt and special” landscape, and have refused a number of lucrative offers from energy companies looking to erect turbines on their farm in Duddo, Northumberland.
They say they also want to protect the integrity of two sites of extreme historic importance on their land – the ancient Duddo Five Stones and the Duddo Tower.
But the couple look set to lose their battle to save the views as a number of neighbouring land owners have agreed to host turbines on their land.
And despite turning down the cash Mr and Mrs Dakin could end up hemmed in, with 26 turbines within a few square miles of their farm.
Mr Dakin, 46, said agreeing to the turbines would be “selling the soul” of the farm.
He said: “We don’t blame those people who have gone for the wind farms – we were sorely tempted ourselves. But it is an issue of how it effects the wider com
munity and the whole landscape. It is the effect that the turbines would have on people living here that concerns us.
“The visual effect would be to spoil what is a special and splendid piece of land.”
The couple, who were aware that the area had been identified as one that was suitable to erect wind turbines when they bought the farm in 2004, estimate that saying yes to the developers would earn them more than £200,000 a year for the next 20 to 25 years – as much as £6m.
Among the reasons for them rejecting the offers were the presence of two ancient sites – the Duddo Five Stones and the Duddo Tower – on their land.
They say the turbines would have a detrimental effect on the tourism attracted by these monuments.
Mrs Dakin, 45, said: “The financial incentives are clearly way out of proportion with any other use of the land.
“But we feel that we are so privileged to have custody of such special things. For us it was a fairly easy decision not to get involved.
“Almost everybody is against the turbines – people just can’t believe that they are going to do it.”
Various applications have been submitted to Berwick Borough Council to erect wind turbines across the district.
The authority is due to decide on those submitted at Moorsyde and at Barmoor, near the Dakin’s farms, later this month.
A third application, at Toft Hill, is also to go before the authority later this year. Cameron Martin owns Felkington Farm and has agreed to let developers build a number of turbines on his land.
He said: “The couple did buy the farm knowing that the wind farms were a possibility, so I am quite surprised by some of their comments.
“One of the main reasons that I agreed to the turbines was that I am a supporter of wind farms and that type of energy they provide.
“I have just come back from Australia where there are some very large wind farms and they don’t seem obtrusive to me.
“I am quite happy for the planning authority to decide on the wind farms through their planning process.”
No-one at Your Energy, which is behind the Moorsyde plan, or Catamount, responsible for Barmoor, was available for comment.
By Ben Guy, The Journal
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