Green campaigners have entered the debate about proposals for a new windfarm outside a North-East village.
Villagers and officials from the Ministry of Defence and Durham Tees Valley Airport have raised concerns about site tests on farmland outside Darlington which could lead to the development of 11 turbines measuring 100m high.
Energy company Pure Renewable Energy is carrying out the work to establish if the site next to West Newbiggin village is suitable for a windfarm.
Now environmental campaigners from East Anglia have called for the MoD to withdraw their opposition.
Andrew Boswell, a Green Party councillor at Norfolk County Council, said a windfarm in his area could be built after the MoD agreed to withdraw their initial concerns about the project.
After seeing a story about the plan for West Newbiggin on The Northern Echos website, he said it was “vital” that wind farms are allowed to be built.
“Because of climate change and the rising cost of fuel, we need to move away from coal fired power stations – that is incredibly urgent,” he said.
“The EU are setting targets of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. The government is already way behind on that.
“Every time plans for wind farms are held up by objections, it slows us down from meeting this target and from helping to address climate change.
“I wouldn’t say that all wind farms should be approved, and not being a local I wouldnt comment on the West Newbiggin plan directly, but it is vital that we do something about climate change quickly.”
No planning applications have been submitted yet, but the MoD has written to Darlington Borough Council to raise concerns about the potential impact the masts could have on navigation equipment at RAF Leeming.
A spokesman for the MoD said: “All wind farm applications are assessed on a site-by-site basis.
“The MoD is committed to Government targets for renewable energy and whenever possible we seek to work with wind farm developers to find a mutually acceptable solution.”
Elizabeth Mann, of the Durham branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, said: “The windfarm will be built if people don’t fight it because this has been on the cards for a long time.
“What the Green Party in Norfolk are doing getting involved in this I don’t know.”
By Neil Macfarlane
15 March 2008
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