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Residents force removal of wind farm mast  

Credit:  Darlington and Stockton Times, www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk 15 October 2010 ~~

Wind farm monitoring equipment is to be taken down after angry residents complained a company was “riding roughshod over the wishes of local people”.

Broadview Energy has spent the past two years using a 60m-high mast to measure wind speed before it builds a £15m wind farm on land between Hilton and Seamer.

The company was hoping to retain the mast and lodged a fresh planning application for permission to do this.

But it has performed a U-turn after residents of the two villages reacted angrily to the proposals.

Campaigners failed in a bid to stop the proposals for the wind farm, which will include five 125m-high turbines, being given the go-ahead earlier this year.

The mast should have been removed earlier this month, but it is still in place and residents were upset when they discovered the company wanted to extend the use of the mast.

They said they were concerned the breach of one planning condition could lead to the company failing to honour the 29 conditions imposed on it regarding the wind farm.

A spokeswoman for Stockton Borough Council said planning officers were aware the mast was still up and that Broadview Energy had asked for permission to leave the mast in place for longer. The fresh planning application was expected to be withdrawn this week.

Ian Drinkel, a spokesman for Hilton residents, said: “There is a lot of bad feeling in the village at the moment.

The test mast was only the forerunner of the wind farm and look what has happened with that. This whole thing has been contentious, yet we feel that Stockton Borough Council seems to be bending over backwards to please this company.”

One resident said in her objection: “They (the developers) should not be allowed to ride roughshod over the wishes of local people, which are that this should have the absolute minimum impact on the local area and landscape.”

A spokesman for Broadview Energy said: “The temporary two-year planning permission for the mast expired on October 8. However, it had been hoped to keep it in situ until the planning permission for the wind farm took effect, part of which allows for a such a mast.

“While this was discussed with the council, it now appears that some members of the local community have objected to this course of action.

“Broadview will therefore remove immediately the meteorological mast until the planning conditions for the wind farm are met.

“Complying with all applicable planning laws, regulations and guidelines is important to Broadview, and for this reason it has chosen to take the mast down in the period between these two planning permissions.”

Source:  Darlington and Stockton Times, www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk 15 October 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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