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Kirkharle wind farm levels would be “unacceptable” says objector

A proposed wind farm in mid-Northumberland would take the network of turbines in the area to “unacceptable” levels, a leading protester claimed yesterday.

Martin Archbold of the Campaign for Responsible Energy Development in Tynedale (Credit) said the cumulative effect of another go-ahead would “tip the scale to a wind farm landscape”. Green energy firm RWE Npower Renewables wants to build four 125-metre turbines in the zone close to Bavington Conservation Area, near Kirkharle.

Having been turned down by Northumberland County Council, RWE is appealing against the authority’s claimed failure to give notice within the statutory 16-week deadline.

The public inquiry into the case yesterday went into a third day and is expected to last more than a fortnight, with a decision late in the year.

Mr Archbold said the setting of Grade II-listed residences nearby “would undergo a noticeable change” if RWE were allowed to build.

The Swindon-based developers say Northumberland faces a shortfall in meeting Government targets for green energy, and Kirkharle should be allowed.

But the county council, while acknowledging the Government targets, insists the proposed development is out of proportion to the area and scenic landscape and should be rejected.

“Given that there are already three wind farms totalling 37 turbines in this area, it is essential that an assessment is made as to whether there is any remaining strategy to take any more turbines,” Mr Archbold said.

“Northumberland has consented to more energy and renewable energy than any other county in England. And this would do a disproportionate level of harm. It is often mooted that targets are not a limit and should be increased if they are met – but this should be subject to the region’s capacity.”

Mr Archbold quoted a Newcastle University landscape appraisal which suggested a smaller scale of turbine in what is a “highly sensitive” area of rolling farmland.

He said walkers coming from Knowesgate would encounter four wind farms including Kirkheaton.

“The level of effects on visual amenities cannot be disregarded. The effects of the turbines would seriously negatively affect the living environs of properties.

“In the final analysis, the tiny amount of energy that this scheme would produce is far outweighed by the harm it would bring,” he added.

The inquiry goes into its fourth day today.

Northumberland has consented to more renewable energy than any other county