Wind farm developers will today have before them a planning document which effectively paves the way for a huge increase in the number of onshore turbines in Durham and Northumberland.
The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) has, as expected, committed the North East to meeting a target of 20% of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.
But while acknowledging the role played by offshore wind farms and solar energy, the document puts its weight behind onshore turbines – and lots of them.
The Government has made it clear that to deliver the regional targets, it will rely on a substantial contribution from wind energy generation, particularly from onshore wind energy developments.
And although an RSS planning map has highlighted the best places for the larger wind farms, the document makes it clear that almost any other part of the region could be used.
The prospect of wind farms covering vast swathes of Kielder Forest is a step closer after RSS authors said development there would be essential to meeting the 2020 target.
But despite the push for onshore turbines, the RSS still manages to praise the very quality of life the wind farms threaten to destroy.
Dominic Coupe, of the Northumberland branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “I’m delighted they have finally recognised the value of our countryside, but feel they should not have overlooked the value of local opinions.”
by Peter Leathley
16 July 2008
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