A former television presenter has joined forces with villagers to fight a proposed windfarm near their homes.
At a meeting in Bishopton Village Hall, near Darlington, residents, including former Tyne Tees newsreader Paul Frost, pledged to fight plans in order to protect the countryside and wildlife.
Early site tests are being carried out on a scheme that could result in 11 turbines, 100m high, being built on farmland at West Newbiggin.
Although no planning application has been submitted to Darlington Borough Council, villagers vowed to do everything in their power to stop the scheme before it started.
Durham Tees Valley Airport and the Ministry of Defence have already raised concerns about the potential impact of the turbines on radar systems.
Mr Frost said the Bishopton group was not opposed to windfarms in principle, but felt the scheme, by Pure Renewable Energy, based in Billingham, near Stockton, could ruin some of the area’s most panoramic views.
He said: “One of the reasons I bought my house was for the view – it really is spectacular.
“The last thing I want is a huge windfarm out there. These things are five times the height of the Angel of the North.
“One of them is within spitting distance of an ancient monument, the motte-and-bailey castle at the end of the village.
“It is an important historical site which could be overshadowed by a 100m-high turbine.”
Bishopton Parish Council chairman Peter Wood said: “I hope the potential developers realise they have a fight on their hands.
“We are prepared to hire our own consultants and, if necessary, take this all the way to a public inquiry.
“This is definitely not a case of not in my back yard’.
“The proposed location of the turbines is completely inappropriate.
We should be protecting our countryside, not destroying it.”
Earlier this month, Green Party campaigners from East Anglia backed the plans and called for more to be done to promote renewable energy schemes.
Alan Irvine, the managing director of Pure Renewable Energy, said last month that it was premature to discuss the scheme because no plans had been submitted.
He said full public consultation would take place when the plans were submitted.
By Neil Macfarlane
28 March 2008
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