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Wind farm protests are backed by MP

An MP is standing shoulder to shoulder with villagers objecting to a planned eight-turbine wind farm.

Stockton South MP Dari Taylor says the installation of 120-metre high turbines between the villages of Hilton and Seamer, close to Yarm, near Stockton, will be an eyesore.

She said: “I think the Government should acknowledge we already have enough to impede the lives we lead. The rural idyll is something we should go to any lengths to protect. Quite frankly, there has been a paucity of thought on this policy. It is just plain wrong.

“I am all for renewable energy, but not at any cost. I don’t want them to scar the countryside.”

Broadview Energy, the company behind the proposal, says the development will provide electricity for 8,000 homes.

But residents, who include engineers and industrial scientists, argue the turbines are only 23 per cent efficient.

There is also concern that research in Portugal links the continual low whirring sound of the turbine blades to vibro-acoustic disease, responsible for migraines and triggering depression.

The MP said: “Wind farms have their place out in the North Sea or on redundant parts of Ministry of Defence land, but not stringing out in beautiful countryside.”

Mrs Taylor said the countryside around Stockton was already “hideously disfigured” by pylons and overhead lines.

Dr Leo Hicks and retired industrial chemist Dr Doug Wallace are leading a protest, supported by the two villages’ 400 residents.

Dr Hicks said: “Its not Nimbyism – it’s not in anyone’s backyard.

“Wind farms are not farms, they are an industrial development. We are opposed to this proposal because of the visual impact it will have on the area, the noise and the health hazard – vibro-acoustic disease.”

Dr Wallace said: “It is a piece of heavy industrial plant and it is going to be a total blight on the area.”

A spokeswoman for Broadview said the turbines would generate energy for between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of the time they were working and were crucial to hit the UK and EU’s renewable energy targets.

She said: “This site was identified as being suitable for a small wind farm following an extensive search of the North Yorkshire and Teesside area.

“It has one of the better wind resources in the North-East. There is a major national electricity transmission line and associated large pylons running through the middle of the site, and an electricity distribution infrastructure nearby.”

She said the company would submit a comprehensive environmental impact assessment looking at noise, ecology, shadow flicker.

By Chris Brayshay

The Northern Echo

11 April 2008