Wind energy developers have angered a Northumberland community by continuing to submit planning applications for new turbines – before a scheduled public inquiry into the area’s capacity to house them.
Plans for two 60 metre wind monitoring masts, which are used by energy companies to assess the suitability of a site for putting up wind turbines, have been submitted to Tynedale Council.
The two anemometer masts, which would be put up by npower renewables, would be sited at Northside Farm, Kirkharle, and Bavington Hill Head, Capheaton, both in Northumberland.
The plans come as a joint public inquiry is due to begin in January into three separate wind farm applications from different developers in the north Tynedale area.
The three sites are at Green Rigg Fell at Birtley, Steadings at Kirkwhelpington, and Ray Fell, near Kirkwhelpington.
John Wylam, vicar at Thockrington Church, close to the Northside Farm site, wrote to the council to object to the anemometers. He said: “This will presumably be a precursor to more wind turbine applications, and there is already much perturbation regarding the impact of proposed turbines.
“There is to be a public inquiry in the New Year in which applications for three developments will be considered.
“We believe that permission to site more anemometers in the area should not be granted until the outcome of the inquiry has been determined.”
Clare Wilson, development manager at npower renewables, defended the applications for the masts, which she said were the early stages of a feasibility study. She added: “At this stage, we are merely assessing the feasibility of a wind farm in that area. As a company, npower renewables measures wind speeds at many areas across the UK. Very often, nothing more comes of it.
“If we do progress a wind farm application, we will consult fully with local people to ensure they are kept informed.”
But Carol Brodie, who lives in Great Bavington, less than one kilometre from the proposed mast, said: “Enough is enough. Why is a developer making applications when the area is already swamped?”
By Ben Guy
16 October 2007
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