A council has clashed with a landscape expert over the suitability of an area of Northumberland countryside for a wind farm.
The inquiry being held into a proposed 18-turbine development at South Charlton, near Alnwick, had previously heard how the farm would give the area a “sculptural quality”.
But yesterday that view was challenged by Alnwick District Council, which opposes the Middlemoor development.
Paul Tucker, acting on behalf of the council, clashed with nPower witness, landscape consultant Jeffrey Stevenson, over both the size and location of the development.
He said: “In terms of what is proposed, there is no doubt that they are at the top end of the scale.
“The type of wind turbine being investigated falls into the large category, do you agree?”
Mr Stevenson responded: “They are half-way between the medium figure and the large figure. If you wish to call them large, you may as well say medium to large.”
The dispute arose as the two sides discussed how the 125-metre turbines had been categorised and whether a large-scale development would be appropriate for the area.
The definition of a small wind turbine is one up to 80 metres in height, a medium turbine is between 80 and 110 metres and a large turbine between 110 metres and 140 metres.
The pair also crossed swords over the visual impact of the site, with Mr Tucker challenging the witness on why no graphical evidence had been produced showing what the turbines would look like from two kilometres from the site when images from further away had been provided.
Mr Stevenson had previously said that the site would have no visual impact from landmarks such as Bamburgh Castle and the Cheviots.
Mr Tucker said: “Is there a reason why you don’t present a montage from a view of less than two kilometres? Please don’t feel that you need to be defensive.”
Mr Stevenson replied that he had not been defensive and had simply attempted to be clear.
He added that the montages had not been provided because he didn’t consider it necessary.
Earlier in the day Mr Stevenson told the inquiry that the visual impact of the wind farm had been “overestimated”.
By Ben Guy
16 November 2007
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