Angry villagers have vowed to fight plans to build nearly a dozen 100 metre-high wind turbines next to their homes.
North-East energy firm Pure Renewable Energy has drawn up plans to build the structures outside a village near Darlington.
A study to assess the suitability of the site has been completed by consultants, but people living in nearby Sadberge are determined to stop the project before any official planning applications are submitted.
“We are not happy at all,” said Lorraine Tostevin, who lives next to the site, at West Newbiggin.
“They are far too close to our houses – it’s really going to affect our quality of life.
“A lot of research says these turbines should be sited out at sea and not next to people’s houses.
Nobody wants a huge wind turbine right outside their door.
“None of the residents around here will be happy about this. It’s going to have a huge impact on people living here – and who knows what affect it will have on property values.
“People don’t want them next to their homes because they are noisy, and they are an eyesore.
“There is no planning application yet, but we are going to get a campaign going to stop this.”
Pure Renewable Energy (PRE), which is based in Billingham, has commissioned Newcastle company PB Power to carry out an environmental impact assessment, which shows plans for two wind turbine farms – one at East Newbiggin and one at West Newbiggin.
The report states: “The purpose of this document is to inform Darlington Borough Council of the proposal to construct two wind farms at East Newbiggin and West Newbiggin.
“PRE intends to apply for planning permission to construct and operate two wind farms to the north of Sadberge, Darlington.”
It says construction work could take up to six months.
Elizabeth Mann, the chairwoman of the Durham branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, said: “Turbines are being located too near to houses now – they are much bigger and are not doing what they were expected to do in terms of generating electricity and saving CO2 emissions.”
Alan Irvine, managing director of PRE, said: “At this early stage, it is only a feasibility study and there are no firm plans to build the wind farm.
“We are looking at the feasibility of siting turbines in the Tees Valley. The exact number is to be determined and it will be a couple of months before we know if it is feasible. Should the site prove to be commercially viable, there would be a full process of stakeholder engagement and community consultation.”
By Neil Macfarlane
18 January 2008
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