Villagers fighting plans for a wind farm on the outskirts of Teesside have called on the area’s civil and military airports to back their campaign.
They are urging Durham Tees Valley Airport and RAF Leeming to object to the proposed 11 turbines in Bishopton near Stockton and Darlington on the grounds of air traffic safety.
“If the turbines mean there is radar or air traffic interference, then surely lives are being put at risk,” said action group spokesman Peter Wood.
“We already know that Durham Tees Valley has objected privately on safety grounds because of the effect to their primary radar returns.
“After all, each turbine is the height of five Angels of the North and one will be only 4km from the main runway.”
The developer, Pure Renewable Energies is carrying out early site tests for the scheme on farm land outside Bishopton, West Newbiggin, Gilly Flatts and Little Stainton.
Alan Irvine, managing director of the Billingham-based company said: “Pure Renewable Energies are assessing a number of sites in the Tees Valley area for technical and commercial viability, and wish to take all stakeholders views into consideration before deciding whether or not to submit a planning application.
“As such it is premature to enter into discussions on specific sites.”
Durham Tees Valley and Ministry of Defence said each application will be judged on an individual basis.
Regarding the Bishopton wind farm proposals, a spokesman for Durham Tees Valley airport confirmed that wind turbines can have an impact on air traffic control equipment depending upon their size and proximity to an airport.
He said: “If appropriate, the airport may object to a scheme unless it is satisfied that mitigation measures are in place. Durham Tees Valley Airport currently reserves comment on this particular proposal until it reviews the individual details of the development.”
An MoD spokesman said: “All applications are assessed on a site by site basis.”
Similar air traffic safety concerns have been raised regarding potential plans for a wind farm of five turbines between the villages of Hilton and Seamer.
Jeff Corrigan from Broadview Energy, the company proposing the Hilton scheme, pointed out that many wind turbines have been operating close to airports for some time, without any accidents.
“However, it is known that wind turbines can have an impact on an airport’s radar, which is why airports and the MoD are statutory consultees on all wind farm planning applications,” he said.
The Bishopton Action Group is inviting villagers to a meeting in Bishopton Village Hall or Wednesday, June 4, at 7pm. Former Gazette reporter and Tyne Tees TV presenter Paul Frost is among those campaigning against the proposals.
Come and see for yourself
PLANS for five wind turbines near Yarm are going on displayjune.
Broadview Energy proposes to install the 125metre high turbines between the villages of Seamer and Hilton. If accepted, the structures would be located on either side of the electricity pylons that currently straddle the site near the A19.
The company is staging four public exhibitions at: Whinstone Primary School, Ingleby Barwick, on Monday, June 2, from 4.30-8pm; Stokesley Town Hall, Tuesday, June 3, 4.30- 8pm; Seamer Memorial Hall and Hilton Village Hall, Wednesday, June 4, 4.30-8pm.
Managing director Jeff Corrigan said: “The public exhibition allows us to go back to the community to update them as we finalise our designs for the wind farm following various studies we have commissioned.
“Consultants will be there so people can ask detailed questions.
“We hope to submit a planning application sometime thereafter.”
Mr Corrigan added: “We spend a fair amount of time trying to lay the turbines out so they have the minimal visual impact and there is some synchrony in the way they line up. We tried to keep them close to the pylons as there are the industrial structures there already.
“At the end of the day they are 125m high and there is no denying that fact. I would say to the people that are concerned, come out to the exhibition, see the diagrams and make their decisions on that basis.”
by Naomi Corrigan, Evening Gazette
22 May 2008
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