August 4, 2011

Mast could lead way for windfarm bid

Morpeth Herald, 4 August 2011

A windfarm bid for a site in rural Morpeth could be on its way after an application for a test mast was approved.

But those residents who objected to the plans by TNEI Services Ltd for the 80metre-high structure say they are encouraged that it was approved by Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee by only one vote.

The mast will be installed in a field between Molesden and the East and West Edington Farms, which are located off the B6524 Whalton road.

The company says it will collect detailed data to check that the site is suitable to host a windfarm from a wind resource perspective.

There were 74 individual letters of objection and the parish councils of Mitford, Meldon and Whalton were also against the proposal.

At the meeting, Lester Sher spoke on behalf of the Action for Rural Morpeth group.

“Despite the arguments of the developers, at 80 metres high – four times higher than the Angel of the North – this mast has huge impact potential,” he said.

“The proposed site is totally unsuitable for such a development and is rightly zoned purely for agricultural use. Yet a wind mast is industrial.”

Although the committee voted five to four in favour of the planning officers’ recommendation to approve the bid, members reassured the dozens of residents packed into the public gallery that any subsequent application for a windfarm would be an entirely separate issue.

Murray Macrae, Chairman of Action for Rural Morpeth, said: “We were led by council officers to expect that the mast approval was a foregone conclusion based upon planning grounds and precedent.

“The split vote and issues raised by the councillors on the planning committee have greatly encouraged us in our fight against the bigger threat to our heritage, the rural Morpeth landscape and quality of life posed by a future windfarm.

“Our group is certainly not against windfarms per se, but it believes they should be sited in offshore and remote onshore sites that have minimal impact on individual citizens and communities.”

URL to article: