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MoD backs villagers' wind farm protest  

Airport bosses and defence chiefs have joined residents in objecting to proposals for a wind farm outside one of the region’s villages.

Early site tests are being carried out on a scheme to build the 100-metre high turbines on farmland outside West Newbiggin, near Darlington.

No official planning applications have been submitted yet, but people living in the nearby villages have vowed to stop the scheme before it goes any further.

Durham Tees Valley Airport and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have also raised concerns about the potential impact the masts could have on radar systems in the area.

The wind farm is being designed by Newcastle company PB Power, on behalf of Billingham-based energy firm Pure Renewable Energies (PRE).

A letter from the airport’s senior air traffic engineer to PB Power states: “Due to the closeness of the development to the airport, Durham Tees Valley will have no option other than object to the proposals.”

The MoD has also written to Darlington Borough Council to express concerns about the scheme.

The letter, obtained by The Northern Echo, states: “The principal safeguarding concern of the MoD with respect to the development of wind turbines relates to potential obstruction to air traffic movements and interference to air traffic control and air defence radar installations.

“It is possible that wind turbines of the dimensions identified may be in direct line of sight to MoD radar facilities at RAF Leeming.”

Brian Jones, the chairman of East and West Newbiggin Parish Council, said villagers hope the stance of the airport and the MoD will mean the end for the development

“I would expect an objection from Durham Tees Valley Airport will stop this proposal in its tracks,” said Councillor Jones.

“If you add to that objection the possibility of the turbines interfering with MoD radar at RAF Leeming, then the wind farm simply cannot and must not go ahead.”

Early blueprints for the scheme show two wind farms – one with nine turbines and a second with two turbines.

PRE managing director Alan Irvine said: “Pure Renewable Energies are assessing sites in the Tees Valley area for technical and commercial viability, and wish to take all stakeholders’ views into consideration before deciding whether or not to submit a planning application.

“As such, and as stated on previous occasions, it is premature to enter into discussions on specific sites.

“Should we decide to go ahead with a planning application, then we will, of course, engage in full public consultation as part of the planning process.”

By Neil Macfarlane

The Northern Echo

11 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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