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Protesters are braced for windfarm battles  

The spectre of still more windfarms in the Wanney area is facing Tynedale Council.

At the October meeting of the council’s planning committee, the go-ahead was given for two more wind monitoring masts in an area where four windfarms are already planned.

Despite strong protests from local residents, and misgivings from some councillors, permissions was granted for 60m tall measuring masts at Bavington Hill Head Farm at Capheaton, and Northside Farm, Kirkharle.

Both applications were submitted by Npower Renewables, and both were granted for two year periods.

The committee did however confirm its objections to Banks Developments’ amended application for a 63 megawatt windfarm at the Steadings, Plashetts.

The application will be decided at a public inquiry which starts in January, but Tynedale took the opportunity to reinforce its objections.

The amendments reduced the number of turbines from 22 to 21, and the number of borrow pits – from where building material is excavated – from four to just one.

Addressing the meeting, Great Bavington resident Martin Archibald said: “These latest proposals do nothing to address the concerns previously expressed by local people and in fact, make things worse by now bringing a quarry closer to our homes.

“This quarry will only about 750 metres from the village, and it will be the size of two football pitches side by side.

“Along with that will come excavation, blasting, stone processing and machinery to move the stone.”

Mr Archibald pointed out that Banks has applied to use a redundant borrow pit at its operation in Ebchester for landfill for the next 16 years.

He also told councillors that because access to the site would be from the single track village road, locals will have to compete with an estimated 89 construction traffic movements per day to gain access to the village and their homes.

Mr Archibald said: “Developers will tell you that their wind farms will produce enough electricity for thousands of homes.

“What they don’t say is that when the wind doesn’t blow, or blows too strongly it is conventional power stations that will have to provide them with electricity.

“The DTI’s own figures tell us that for every 100 days a wind turbine stands there, it is only producing electricity for 21 of them.

“The only people to gain from this scheme will be the developers and the landowners.

“We will be left picking up the pieces of our lives and all for the sake of an egg cup full of so called green electricity.”

Opponents are stacking up against the windfarm operators, the most significant being the Ministry of Defence, which has lodged an objection to all the applications in the Knowesgate area on the grounds that low-flying exercises at RAF Spadeadam could be affected.

Similar objections have been lodged by Newcastle Airport, and the national association of air traffic controllers.

They feel the safety of aircraft flying in and out of Newcastle could be compromised.

A total of 50 letters of objection have been lodged, but these are balanced by 55 letters of support.

The formal grounds for Tynedale’s objections were harm to the landscape, and the effect on the setting of historic St Aidan’s Church at Thockrington.

By Brian Tilley

The Hexham Courant

26 October 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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