A study on wind farm development in north Northumberland, commissioned by the North-East Assembly, has found the area can accommodate up to 15 turbines – fewer than half the number currently being proposed.
The Arup report into development to the south and west of Berwick has concluded the area can handle 30 to 40 megawatts of energy output and no more.
Applications to build 36 turbines have been submitted to Berwick Borough Council but have yet to be determined.
Council director of regeneration and development Shona Alexander says: “We welcome this study, which gives us an objective view of the impact which wind farm developments could have here in Berwick borough, where we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. We will now include the study in our assessments of all four wind farm planning applications currently being considered.”
Don Brownlow, a spokesman for Moorsyde Action Group (MAG), says: “It does seem to confirm our long-held view that this area cannot support the scale and location of development that Your Energy Ltd, the Moorsyde developers and others are attempting to force on it. We particularly welcome its recognition that poorly designed turbine arrays that are not properly scaled and located will have major adverse impacts not only on the landscape, but also on the living conditions of local people.
“It is, inevitably, a political compromise. Government Office North-East and the North-East Assembly are working to implement Government targets. This study is built on the premiss … that this area is suitable for wind development. As we know, this area has particularly low wind speeds and is … much more densely settled than other so-called ‘wind resource areas’.”
North-East Assembly deputy chief executive Malcolm Bowes says: “This cutting-edge study provides an objective assessment of the impact that wind farm development would have on the south and west of Berwick’s landscape and has concluded that high levels of development would not be appropriate.”
by Jane Hall
11 July 2007
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