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Riders from all over

Visitors spend horseback holidays roaming the high moor around Ford Moss Nature Reserve and neighbouring grassland then take beach rides on Holy Island Sands. Many return on a regular basis, like the group of ladies from Cambridgeshire who made a pact several years ago to book the same few days every year.

It is part of Ford and Etal Estates and is a good example of a rural diversification enterprise.

Dickie Jeffreys, who runs the riding centre with his wife Jane, says: “This is beautiful countryside, totally unspoilt – and it’s what our business relies on. The wildlife here is so vivid and real. Can you imagine 360-foot high turbines here? It’s an absolute scandal.”

Ford Moss is a nature reserve where, quite apart from the wildlife, the trees sink into the bog the bigger they get. It’s millions of years old – some of the moss found there is unique to the area. Nearby is Routin Lynn, an ancient British settlement with a waterfall said to have magical powers. It is in the care of English Heritage.

Mr Jeffreys adds: “It’s a very, very special place and it’ll be surrounded by inefficient turbines. And, the horses will be terrified – a wind turbine is not a noise they understand, they hate hissing sounds.”

For and against

Save Our Unspoilt Landscape (SOUL) was formed at a public meeting in November 2005 attended by more than 180 residents of Lowick, Bowsden, Ford and Etal in Northumberland. More information at www.soul-online.co.uk Other links: www.moorsydeactiongroup.org.uk www.stopturbines.com www.ref.org.uk

Wind farm developers include: Force 9 Energy which was formed in 2002 in response to Government policy that wished to see a larger proportion of the country’s energy needs met from renewable sources. Its development partner is Catamount Energy Ltd, a UK-based company owned by Statkraft, the major producer of electricity in Norway, and Catamount Energy Corporation of the US.

Your Energy Ltd is an independent, UK-based renewable energy company. It was established in 2001 and is owned by Mistral Invest Limited, the wind sector investment vehicle of international shipping company CNC Investment Corporation (CIC). Its management office is in Toronto, Canada.

Wind farms by numbers

15 – The percentage of power from renewables that electricity suppliers are required to source by 2015.

£7 – The amount that every UK householder contributes to supporting renewable energy through their normal electricity bills.

36 – The percentage of Northumberland’s income that comes from tourism.

£1,100,000 – The amount that One NorthEast is investing in developing the market for biomass, a form of green energy.

by Peter Leathley

The Journal

13 July 2007