Three more wind farm proposals are waiting in the wings in the same part of Northumberland as a trio currently being determined at public inquiry, it has emerged.
The news, which has prompted fears the area could become one big wind farm, come as an inquiry is determining bids for a total of 59 turbines at three different sites near Kirkwhelpington and Birtley.
Evidence has been put forward of three further proposals in the same vicinity for a further 28 turbines. All are said to be at either planning application or scoping stage and their emergence has prompted fears that a second public inquiry will have to be held in future, at the expense of the taxpayer.
Carol Brodie, chairman of the Campaign for Responsible Energy Development in Tynedale (Credit), which is opposing the three current bids, said: “While Credit fully acknowledges the need to consider all three wind farm proposals together, undertaking an inquiry on this scale comes at enormous expense to the public purse.
“Regrettably, however, this may not draw the matter to a conclusion as information released to the public inquiry shows that there are a further three proposed developments coming forward in the immediate vicinity of the three schemes currently under consideration. It may therefore be necessary to hold a similar public inquiry at some time in the future.”
The applications currently being considered are from Wind Prospect Developments Ltd for 18 60m turbines at Green Rigg Fell in Birtley, Amec Project Investments Ltd for 20 125m structures at the Ray Estate and Steadings Wind Farm Ltd, for 21 at Kirkwhelpington.
The emerging schemes are from Wind Prospect for 14 at Throckrington, Npower renewables for eight at Kirkharle and Nuon Renewables for six at Tone Hall.
A statement on Wind Prospect’s website says it is “not currently further progressing” the Throckrington project although this will be reviewed once the outcome of its Green Rigg scheme is known.
Senior development manager Tim Matthews insisted that the number of 14 had been shelved following local objection.
A wind monitoring mast nevertheless continues to collect data at the site but were a new scheme to come forward, it would likely only be for two to three turbines.
The Journal reported last June that an application for a monitoring mast was submitted ahead of the Tone Hall scheme.
And we also reported how the Npower scheme was being considered in October 2005 and that an application for a wind monitoring mast was entered last October.
Npower is now in the process of completing its environmental impact assessment and is on the verge of submitting a planning application and embarking on public consultation.
Regional development manager Clare Wilson admitted it is “quite possible” a second inquiry will have to be held.
But she said it was unlikely that all six wind farms will be approved as decision makers have to consider cumulative impact.
She said: “I understand if you were one of the houses in that area you would have a wind farm in every window.
“That will never happen. It would not be acceptable.”
The current inquiry resumes this afternoon.
By Brian Daniel
22 January 2008
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