People in a cluster of the North’s former mining villages are preparing to speak out against plans to build a 13-turbine wind farm.
Scottish Power subsidiary CRE Energy wants to erect the 121m-high turbines on farmland west of the Alcan aluminium complex at Lynemouth, which would be 40 metres taller than the smelter’s landmark chimneys.
The project has been caught up in a disagreement between two neighbouring councils – with Castle Morpeth refusing permission for seven turbines in the part of the site within its council boundaries and Wansbeck granting approval for the others.
Next week a Government planning inspector will conduct a public inquiry into an appeal by CRE Energy against Castle Morpeth’s refusal of its portion of the development.
Strongly opposing the plans will be representatives from the villages of Lynemouth, Ellington, Linton and Cresswell, who say a wind farm will do nothing to help the area regenerate itself following the cessation of coal mining with the closure of Ellington Colliery.
Castle Morpeth councillors rejected the CRE Energy application a year ago, claiming the turbines will be excessive and over-dominant in the flat, coastal landscape. But the company has said it is confident of succeeding with its appeal. Its original bid for 16 turbines was scaled down because of local opposition.
Yesterday Cath Davidson, who chairs Lynemouth Parish Council and the local CELL regeneration partnership, said villagers would oppose the scheme at next week’s public inquiry but were not confident of ultimate success.
She said: “A wind farm will not encourage regeneration in any way and the turbines will be a nuisance to the villages. We feel wind turbines are just a cash cow for the developers and landowners and don’t help global warming or regeneration.
“We have had coal mining here for generations but at least that created real jobs and training.”
No-one from CRE Energy could be contacted for comment.
Alcan, which strongly supports the proposed wind farm, says the development will produce renewable energy, have minimal impact on the Alcan farmland and produce revenue that will be invested in the farm business.
By Dave Black
14 April 2008
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