Long awaited decisions on three wind farm proposals just a few miles apart are due to be made by planners at Berwick Borough Council today (Thursday).
A seven turbine scheme at Moorsyde, near Ancroft and a six turbine scheme at Barmoor, near Lowick are being recommended for approval while planning officers are advising refusal of a seven turbine proposal at Toft Hill, near Duddo.
Protesters and supporters are expected to arrive in large numbers for the all-day meeting of the planning committee which starts at 10am in The Maltings.
Your Energy is hoping it will be second time lucky for its Moorsyde proposal which first went before planners 15 months ago only to be deferred following a last-minute legal objection from protesters.
Richard Mardon, Your Energy managing director, said: “We are of course pleased that planning officers have once again recommended the wind farm for approval.
“We strongly believe we have made a comprehensive case for the wind farm at Moorsyde and look forward to answering questions members of the committee may have on Thursday.
“This is the climax to more than four years of hard work and this is the right proposal in the right place. If the council gives the go-ahead this week we are committed and ready to work constructively with the local community for years to come.
“The proposed wind farm would power the equivalent of more than 7000 homes every year and would be a valuable asset to the area in generating a clean and renewable source of electricity.”
However, Moorsyde Action Group (MAG) have responded to the planning officer’s recommendation by issuing a rallying call to local people and councillors.
A MAG spokesman said: “Although the Moorsyde application is accompanied by a massive amount of information, of highly variable accuracy and quality, the issues are relatively simple.
“They boil down to a cost/benefit calculation: the impacts of the scheme on the landscape, local communities, the local economy and on historical monuments and sites have to be weighed against the claimed benefits of a small amount of intermittent and erratic power generation and an even smaller amount of CO2 saved.
“We have done all we can to provide officers of the council and councillors with clear and substantiated evidence of the overwhelming costs of this scheme to our landscape, tourist economy and communities.
“All we can do now is hope is that our elected representatives will make a decision that is in the best interests of the borough and local people.
“Their decision will affect the futures of us all. They can throw open the gates and watch speculative developers turn the ‘Secret Kingdom’ into ‘a wind farm landscape’ or they can stand fast in the defence of the borough’s glorious landscape and its fiercely loyal people. We trust that they have the vision to match our ‘far horizons’.”
Catamount Energy managing director Bill Peacock says he is hoping for a ‘positive decision’ from the council on its proposals for Barmoor South Moor.
He said: “Our development partner has worked closely within guidelines set by the North East Regional Government in choosing the location of the project.
“It is within an area identified by local government as a preferred location for wind farm development and its design has been amended to meet the recommendations of planning officers.
“The project has none of the aviation or radar problems affecting a number of wind farm developments in the region and has been identified by the planning authority as one that can make a substantial contribution to meeting the renewable energy targets that the region has set for 2010.”
By Ian Smith
26 March 2008
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