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Concerns over giant wind turbine

A row is blowing in the wind after plans were revealed for a huge riverside structure as tall as six Angels of the North.

Bosses at A&P Tyne in Hebburn say the green scheme will protect the environment and safeguard hundreds of jobs at the yard.

But Hebburn Village residents and ward councillors fear the massive riverside feature could be a blot on the landscape.

The turbine would provide power for the yard’s controversial ship scrapping scheme.

The company argues the cost-saving scheme will reduce its carbon footprint, and help safeguard the future of hundreds of jobs at the

But despite meeting the international green guidelines established by the Kyoto Protocol, plans for the huge turbine have sparked dismay among residents in nearby Hebburn Village and ward councillors, who argue the structure will be a blot on the landscape.

Coun Joe Abbott, for Hebburn North, said: “I have spoken to some residents and they are up in arms about the massive scale of this wind turbine.

“In terms of size, you are talking about six Angels of the North on top of each other, or two Concordes placed nose to tail.

“After the opposition to the ship recycling scheme down at Hebburn Village, local people are wondering what else is to come.

“While I realise there is a move towards renewable energy, residents feel this turbine is just too big and will dominate the landscape.”

The Angel of the North sculpture is 66ft tall, while the planned Hebburn wind turbine would reach a maximum height to its blade tip of 416ft.

Resident Ray Stickley, of Agincourt, Hebburn Village, who tried blocking the yard’s earlier ship recycling plans, said: “People won’t like this one bit, and may object, but I still think the plans will go through, because they fit in with the move towards green energy.

“It shouldn’t be as big, and they should have two or three smaller wind turbines instead.”

A 76-page document in support of the application, compiled by Wind Direct, the Lancaster firm planning to install the turbine, says: “A&P Tyne is the largest facility owned by the A&P Group, which specialises in ship repair, conversion and marine services.

“The A&P Tyne facility has the largest dock on the east coast of England, with two deep water berths.

“The high energy demands of the A&P Tyne operations, coupled with high energy costs, require innovation in power management to ensure competitiveness of the facility and efficiency of operation.

“In this regard, Wind Direct is developing an industrial wind energy solution for A&P Tyne.”

David Skentelbery, managing director for north-east business at A&P, said: “We are examining a number of potential options for the long-term development and sustainability of our site on Waggonway Road in Hebburn.

“As part of this process, we have submitted an application to South Tyneside Council for the erection of a two megawatt wind turbine on a vacant section of the site.

“This proposal is fully in line with best practice guidelines on sustainable development and energy conservation.

“If erected, the mast would be 80m high, with blades measuring 46.25m to their tips and located at least 300m from the nearest residential units.

“Extensive research has been undertaken by our lead contractor, Wind Direct, to ensure the development would have no negative impact on our neighbours.

“This is just one route we are considering at this time, as our priority is to find an environmentally friendly use for the site that will safeguard jobs in the long term.

By Terry Kelly

The Shields Gazette

7 September 2007