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Council will oppose wind turbine plan at inquiry  

Credit:  By Brian Daniel, The Journal, www.journallive.co.uk 13 January 2011 ~~

A bid to erect nine giant wind turbines in the heart of the Northumberland countryside should be thrown out, a council has agreed.

Northumberland County Council has agreed to oppose green energy company RES UK’s proposal to build the 127-metre turbines at Rayburn Lake, west of Morpeth and south of Wingates, when it is heard at a public inquiry.

The application for the 27 megawatt facility was submitted to the now defunct Alnwick District Council in March 2009.

It is one of several proposed wind farms in the same area, along with schemes from Novera Energy, Coronation Power, Energy4All and BT.

Objections have come in from 120 local people, two neighbouring parish councils, Newcastle Airport, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Natural England.

The Wingates not Wind Farms action group is also objecting.

Opponents are concerned about the potential cumulative impact on the landscape and uninterrupted views of open countryside.

Netherwitton Parish Council says the size and scale of the nine turbines are “beyond that which the landscape can comfortably absorb.”

And Nunnykirk Parish Council fears the proposed turbines will dominate the area and diminish people’s quality of life.

173 letters of support have however been submitted to the county council, which has taken over the district’s planning duties.

Last month it was revealed RES had submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds the council failed to determine its bid within the required timescale.

The application is to be decided at a public inquiry.

The council sought to come to a view on the application ahead of the inquiry.

Officers recommended that its planning and environment committee support their view the application should be rejected, because of the lack of detailed information.

They claimed RES did not provide sufficient information to enable a full and proper assessment of issues such as the effects on the local landscape and ecology, aviation safety, potential noise nuisance and the cumulative impacts of wind turbines on the area.

A report to the committee says an environmental statement submitted in support of the application was “seriously deficient”.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the recommendation at their meeting on Tuesday night.

Last night John Thompson, who chairs the Wingates action group, reiterated his anger at RES taking the matter out of the hands of local decision makers.

Having attended the meeting, he said: “I am happy that this resolution has been accepted but I am not happy that the council were put in a position to do that.

“They have done what I hoped they would at least, what they had to do, they have put down a resolution and involved local councillors in that but I am not happy that they have had to do this.”

RES has previously said all interested parties will be able to take part in the inquiry, which it expects to be held in the spring.

Source:  By Brian Daniel, The Journal, www.journallive.co.uk 13 January 2011

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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