Two more public inquiries are set to be held early in the New Year as decision-making gathers pace on the plethora of wind farm developments proposed across Northumberland.
A Government planning inspector will conduct a two-day hearing in January into a bid by PB Power to erect three 110m-high turbines next to the seaside village of Lynemouth.
At the same time a separate public inquiry is being arranged to deal with an application by Scottish Power subsidiary CRE Energy for a £35m, 13-turbine wind farm nearby, on land surrounding the Alcan aluminium smelter.
Both schemes were rejected by Castle Morpeth councillors earlier this year following strong opposition from local residents, and the applicants have appealed.
A public inquiry is currently taking place into plans to erect 18 giant turbines at Middlemoor north of Alnwick, and another is due to start in January into three separate schemes in the Tynedale area, near Kirkwhelpington and Birtley.
In addition, a further hearing will be required into an expected appeal against Berwick Council’s decision to refuse permission for 10 turbines at Wandylaw near Chatton. In all five cases, the final decision will be taken by the Government after recommendations are made by the planning inspectors conducting the hearings.
The two Lynemouth bids were rejected by Castle Morpeth planners in April, after local residents said they would bring no employment and stifle regeneration efforts following the closure of Ellington Colliery.
Yesterday Cath Davidson, who chairs Lynemouth Parish Council, said it would be opposing both bids when the public inquiries were held. She said: “The three turbines at the old Lynemouth Colliery would be cheek by jowl with people’s houses and the ones at Alcan would also be too close to where people live. People in Ellington have paid a lot of money for their houses and didn’t expect something like this to land on top of them.
“Turbines don’t bring jobs or apprenticeships, like the pits did, and will sterilise any regeneration in this area. It will all come down to the Government in the end and that looks pretty ominous, given what they did with the Cramlington opencast decision.
“To be honest, it is becoming clearer and clearer that wind energy is just about telling the world how green we are. The power involved is negligible.”
Scottish Power’s scheme straddles the boundary of Castle Morpeth and Wansbeck. Wansbeck Council approved the bid, but Castle Morpeth Council refused permission.
By Dave Black
3 December 2007
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