A village under siege from wind farm applications now has another project to contend with.
People at Wingates, near Rothbury, have already seen interest in setting up wind farms close to their homes from four different companies which have proposed five different schemes.
And now developer Energy4All has also come forward with a scheme near the secluded location. The company has announced proposals for two turbines which would be 120 metres high at View Law Farm, between Wingates and Longhorsley. Turbines would be run on a co-operative basis with local people invited to buy shares in the project.
But members of the Wingates not Wind Farms action group have now voiced their concerns over the proposed plans as they already oppose the five other projects.
They claim the community ownership of the wind farm is preferable to private developments which only make money for shareholders, but are concerned at the impact on the landscape, people’s health, animal habitats, property prices and tourism businesses.
And faced with the prospect of another two giant turbines, the 35 to 40 permanent residents at 22 home Wingates have once again raised fears over the cumulative impact of potentially having several wind farms on the landscape.
Group member Tom Pape, 36, said: “The village could be enveloped by BT, Novera, RES, Energy4All and anyone else who wants to put a wind farm around our village.
“If they all went ahead the village would be absolutely enveloped by them, east, south and west.
“We would be completely cupped in. People are very passionate about keeping Northumberland like Northumberland in its natural habitat, and not sticking great industrial structures in the landscape.”
Group chairman John Thompson added: “I know it is only a couple of turbines but it adds to the cumulative impact. It is not going to replace anything, it is just going to add to it.”
Last night, Energy4All’s development manager Paul Phare agreed that cumulative impact is an issue. He claimed it is unfortunate that projects are considered on a first come first serve basis, which he said does not take account of their quality.
“With our model given it’s community owned, we would hope the community would support our site perhaps over some of the others.”
Last week Energy4All submitted a planning application to put a wind monitoring mast on the site for two years, to Northumberland County Council.
It is holding a public exhibition of its plans in Longhorsley Village Hall tomorrow, from 1pm to 7pm.
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