Three wind farm proposals which were due to be determined at the same meeting later this month have been deferred by planners.
Berwick Borough Council has confirmed that it will not discuss the Moorsyde, Barmoor and Wandylaw applications at its planning meeting on May 29. Letters have been sent to the applicants deferring the decision in order to allow time for two specialist studies to be completed.
The first of these is a study by consultants Scott Wilson, commissioned by the council, into the cumulative impact of the current planning applications for wind farms in the identified area of least constraint to the south west of Berwick. The second is a study by consultants Arup who have been commissioned by the North East Assembly. This study looks at the capacity of the landscape in the area south west of Berwick to absorb wind farm development.
Shona Alexander, the council’s director of regeneration and development, said: “The council has previously indicated that it would not wait specifically for the results of the Arup study in order to determine the applications if all other information was available. However, the imminence of the Arup study makes it possible for us to take the findings into account without undue further delay to the planning process. Furthermore, the work which the council has commissioned on cumulative landscape impact is still awaited and we want the benefit of both of these studies in making our recommendation to the planning committee.”
The council will advise interested parties of the likely date for the applications to go to planning committee once the results of the landscape impact assessments have been received and considered. Wind farm protesters, who had been angry at the council’s intention to decide all three wind farm applications at the same meeting, hope the delay will lead to some reconsideration.
A spokesman for Moorsyde Action Group (MAG) said: “We will be seeking further clarification from the borough, the Darlington consultant who is acting as detached case officer on the Barmoor, Moorsyde, Toft Hill and Wandylaw proposals and from the new leader of the council on what process is now to be followed in determining Moorsyde and other local applications.
“MAG hopes that the council will take this opportunity to reconsider the way that these applications have been handled and will now concentrate on the actual proposals and their environmental impacts rather than on departmental performance targets or the possible budgetary consequences of decisions.”
However, the delay does alleviate another of MAG’s concerns that the May 29 meeting falls so soon after a new council has been elected that it would have been ill-prepared to make such a major decision.
It is the fourth time in the past six months that Your Energy’s proposal for ten 360 feet high turbines at Moorsyde, between Shoresdean and Felkington, has been deferred.
Your Energy’s managing director, Richard Mardon, said: “We are disappointed with the latest delay – we have been in the planning system for 2.5 years now, way longer than is normal and during which time we could have generated safe, clean renewable energy for thousands of homes and displaced significant quantities of CO2.
“More consultants have reviewed our project than ever before and we are confident that they will continue to confirm that this is the right project in the right place. We cannot wait much longer in our collective battle against climate change – we hope a decision will be made soon!”
Ridgewind’s proposals for a ten-turbine wind farm at Wandylaw is due to be determined by the council despite the fact a public inquiry is being held into an 18-turbine development by npower renewables, just two miles away at Middlemoor in Alnwick district. That application will eventually be determined by the Department of Trade and Industry.Protesters believe the sensible decision would be for both applications to be reviewed at the same public inquiry.
Nine turbines are proposed by Catamount and Force 9 Energy at Barmoor South Moor, near Lowick.A blimp at the height of the proposed turbines will still be flying over the next few days, protest group SOUL having received permission from the Civil Aviation Authority prior to the deferral decision.
A fourth application by npower renewables for seven turbines at Toft Hill, near Grindon, is also expected to go before Berw [article ends]
By Ian Smith
16 May 2007
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