November 22, 2007

Wind Farm Inquiry Day 6 — Afternoon

The more turbines that are built, the more people will get used to them in the landscape, a wind farm supporter had told the Middlemoor inquiry.

Green campaigner John Urquhart, a former scientific officer and public inquiry veteran, made the comments during his cross-examination of Alnwick District Council witness Krystyna Campbell on Wednesday afternoon.

Appearing at the inquiry on behalf of Nortopia – an organisation dedicated to creating a carbon-neutral society – Mr Urquhart says he considers objections to the proposed wind farm to be based on “exaggerated and subjective fears”.

Questioning Miss Campbell’s conclusions, that the development would have a major impact on the area, he asked: “Is it not often the case that people living close to wind farms might not object, but those living further away may object?”

Miss Campbell answered: “Yes, there is a broad spectrum of response to wind farms.

“I live 14km from a wind farm and I can see it from the bottom of my garden. In assessing any wind farm you can’t get away from actual experience.

“The best thing you can do in making judgements is to gain experience out in the field.”

Mr Urquhart then asked Miss Campbell what she meant when she referred to the ‘conspicuous’ presence the proposed turbines would have.

She replied: “Because they are there, you will see them, and they are also moving. That makes them conspicuous, particularly against the skyline.

“They will stand out in a landscape which is largely linear, with very few vertical features.”

Mr Urquhart said: “Wouldn’t you also be able to see traffic on the nearby A1? Cars are also a dominant feature on the landscape in many places, including here.

“Mentally, we manage to filter out traffic because it is so commonly seen. People who come to Alnwick, for example, wouldn’t say there were cars there, just like in Newcastle.

“They would say it was a beautiful, historic town.”

Miss Campbell responded: “I agree, there is an element of acceptance which can develop. The same could be said about electricity pylons.”

Mr Urquhart said: “If we can say that about pylons, then surely we can say that about turbines?

“The more wind farms there are in the UK, the less unusual the turbines will seem to people driving along the A1.”

Miss Campbell said she didn’t fully agree, to which he added: “You can see cars from Ros Castle, and there are other examples of man made activity seen from there.

“One particular feature visible in that landscape is RAF Brizlee Wood, which you can also see from many other parts of the landscape.

“In your conclusions you say that the changes stemming from a wind farm at Middlemoor would be unacceptable.

“Change happens all the time, does it not?”

Northumberland Gazette

21 November 2007

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