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Plan for biggest wind farm yet  

Credit:  By Joe Willis, The Northern Echo, www.thenorthernecho.co.uk 21 April 2011 ~~

An energy company is drawing up plans to build England’s biggest wind farm in the region.

E.on is carrying out tests to determine whether farmland east of Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham, is suitable for between 25 and 45 turbines.

No application has been submitted for the Isles Wind Farm, but the energy company has confirmed that engineers are working at the site to assess its viability.

The proposal has prompted fresh concerns that the North- East is being swamped with wind farm developments.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, who has been contacted by E.on to discuss its plans for the Isles, last night said that rural communities in his constituency felt under siege from developers.

The MP wants to see a suspension of all new wind farm projects until a region-wide policy overseeing their development has been created.

According to a map posted on the E.on website in error, the site for the proposed Isles farm stretches from Preston-le- Skerne to Chilton.

The diagram suggests turbines could be built within a mile of Newton Aycliffe and Chilton, and close to Woodham, Bradbury, Mordon and Preston-le-Skerne.

Turbines could be built either side of the A1(M) and close to the A167.

A statement accompanying the map, which has since been removed, states: “A site has been identified with the potential to host a wind farm to be known as the Isles. The site is located approximately one mile to the east of Newton Aycliffe and has the potential to accommodate between 25 and 45 turbines.”

The largest wind farm in England is Scout Moor, near Rochdale, Lancashire, which has 26 wind turbines.

A spokeswoman for E.on said tests were being carried out at the Isles site to confirm if it was suitable for the wind farm.

She said local exhibitions would be held to explain the proposal, adding: “We are at the really, really early stages, so there isn’t any detail of what we are planning yet.”

Mr Wilson said he intended to write to the energy company to demand more information.

He said: “I think there needs to be some kind of moratorium introduced. This area of County Durham is becoming saturated with wind farms – they’re blighting the countryside.”

Durham County Council yesterday confirmed that E.on submitted a smaller application, known as the A1 Wind Farm, in May 2009. Ten turbines were proposed on land to the east of the A1 between the villages of Preston-le- Skerne and Great Stainton.

Ged Lawson, the council’s senior landscape architect, said E.on had since discussed withdrawing the application, which lies dormant, and replacing it with the much larger Isles wind farm proposal.

Bob Stratford, clerk of Mordon Parish Meeting, said his community heard rumours that E.on was working on plans for a larger wind farm, but had not had confirmation.

He said: “It would have a devastating effect on the landscape around here.

“People aren’t against wind turbines – they understand the need for renewable energy.

“It’s the uncontrollable development.

There’s no policy governing them.”

Source:  By Joe Willis, The Northern Echo, www.thenorthernecho.co.uk 21 April 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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