A renewable energy firm has admitted that competing developers rushing to build wind farms in County Durham may create an “unacceptable impact” on the countryside.
Banks Renewables, which has submitted plans for five 115-metre turbines between village of Woodland and Hamsterley Forest, made the statement to council officials.
A number of wind farms are being proposed elsewhere in the county, including 45 turbines near Newton Aycliffe.
Banks Renewables has now made a frank admission by saying that the number of proposals in County Durham could have a negative effect.
The company said: “An unfortunate repercussion of County Durham being forward thinking in its approach to renewable energy development is the potential for cumulative impact to occur.
“County Durham was the first in the country to meet its 2010 target and is making strides towards achieving targets for installed renewable energy to 2020.
“The pursuit of several wind farms within the county by competing developers has the potential to cause an unacceptable impact upon the landscape.”
But the firm, based in Tow Law, said all applications should be considered individually.
The North East Regional Spatial Strategy has set a target of 20 per cent of electricity to be produced from renewable resources by 2020.
County Durham is currently proposing to increase this target to 26 per cent.
Banks Renewables said this would “significantly increase” the amount required from turbine schemes. The company said the planned wind farm near Hamsterley Forest could help achieve this.
Protestors fear more wind farm firms will look to other parts of Teesdale if the Hamsterley plan is approved.
However, Banks said that “not all public attitudes towards wind turbines are founded upon negative perceptions”.
In its planning’s statement for the site near Hamsterley, Banks Renewables added that as well as contributing to green energy targets, the scheme would also reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to rural diversification.
“The site has been carefully selected from a range of opportunities within County Durham and subsequently Teesdale to help contribute towards delivering the national renewable energy targets for 2020 and ensuring that County Durham meets its 2020 target,” the firm said.
The planned site would be seen from locations across Teesdale, including the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A parish council poll of people living in Woodland this summer returned a resounding “no” to wind turbines being put up near their village.
And now parish councillors have followed suit.
At a meeting of Woodland Parish Council on August 11, members unanimously voted against the scheme.
Parish councillor Alistair Rutter said: “Councillors all came out in agreement that they were opposed to the plan.
“They all decided it was inappropriate – one of the reasons being the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Hamsterley Forest.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding