A development company has dismissed allegations that it is playing a game of cat and mouse in its bid to put up wind turbines at a Northumberland beauty spot.
Wind Prospect recently wrote to Tynedale Council to ask whether the council would require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a potential development of two turbines near Thockrington, which is north of Hexham.
The firm already has a larger development in the area that is due to go to public inquiry later this year, and yesterday MON The Journal reported how opponents to the development felt the firm was “playing games” with its applications.
They said that the firm’s most recent letter to the council only came because the other application had gone to an inquiry.
But Tim Matthews of Wind Prospect said the letter had been sent as part of a structured and carefully thought out approach to possible developments in the area.
He said: “All we are trying to do is respond to previous criticism of a potential development at Thockrington.
“What we have done, rather than just forge ahead, is feed back to see what we can do to overcome that criticism. This isn’t imminent or even a foregone conclusion.
“We just wanted to gage Tynedale Council’s view if we were to put in a planning application on whether we would need to carry out an environmental risk assessment.
“They have been very clear in saying that we would.
“It is effectively a fact finding exercise. Our approach is structured and considered.”
The firm wrote to the council to ask whether the EIA was necessary as wind turbine developments below a certain wattage do not require the assessment.
Tynedale Council last week wrote to the firm saying that a planning application for the development, which would have a total of three mega watts, would require the assessment.
Mr Matthews said that a larger application at nearby Green Rigg had been the company’s main focus but that Thockrington had always remained one of a number of sites identified for potential development.
He said: “Green Rigg is our main application. We submitted an application there in 2005 and had been working on it since early 2003 and we consider it to be a wholly suitable 18 turbine development.
“We have to prioritise – we only have so many people.
“All along we have had agreements with other land owners for other developments.”
By Ben Guy
19 June 2007
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