December 30, 2010

Wind farm developers vie for plans approval

By Paul Cook, The Northern Echo, 30 December 2010

Wind farm developers face a potential race against each other to gain approval for a town’s first site.

Two companies could be about to submit applications for separate sites to the northeast of Darlington.

It comes after one had its initial proposal for ten turbines rejected by councillors.

Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee overruled its officer’s recommendation and refused Banks Renewables’ application for ten turbines at Moor House farm.

Among their reasons, councillors believed it was contrary to a report written by independent consultants Arup, which suggested the land was suitable for more than one small to medium-small development – one of four to six turbines.

Banks Renewables said last week it was considering a new application for six turbines or lodging an appeal.

Another firm, Pure Renewable Energy, is due to submit plans for four turbines at East and West Newbiggin, following public consultation.

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman said it would look at each planning application on an individual basis as they come in.

Campaigners have asked for national guidelines to be adhered to and cited the Arup report during their protests against the first Moor House scheme.

Phil Dyke, the development director of Banks Renewables, said: “Our professional planning view is still that there is capacity for ten turbines on the site and that Moor House is still a suitable scheme for the location.”

Alan Irvine, from Pure Renewable Energy, said at a consultation event it held earlier this month: “We feel that the site for four turbines ties in with the recommendations by the Arup report.”

Peter Wood, from the campaign group Seven Parishes Action Group, called the latest application a step in the right direction.

He said national guidelines were for wind farms to be separated by at least five kilometres.

The area also faces applications for a wind farm at Mordon, near Sedgefield, and one of four turbines at Lambs Farm, Stillington.

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