A six-turbine wind farm has been approved in the region.
Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee chairman Paul Baldwin used his casting vote to approve Banks Renewables’ plans for the wind farm, north-east of the town.
Approval included a list of conditions, which included satisfying Durham Tees Valley Airport’s demands, coming up with a scheme to offset potential noise problems and planting trees to negate the wind farm’s visual impact.
County Durham-based Banks Group said the outcome would be worth £7.7m to the local economy.
Its agreement with the airport would include a new radar system.
The airport had initially objected to Banks’ plans for the wind farm at Moor House, Barmpton, near Darlington, because of its potential impact on radar and aircraft safety. Those objections were withdrawn on the morning of the meeting.
A letter from the airport’s solicitors stated its experts would meet the Banks Group to come up with a solution before work could start on the wind farm.
One objector, John Rankin, who has worked in air traffic control at the airport for 32 years, said: “The wind farm could impact severely on the operations of the airport. I’m very stunned by the airport’s decision.”
Another objector Alastair Mackenzie, on behalf of Sadberge Parish Council, called for the airport to make a public statement that it would not impact on safety.
Objectors spoke out on a number of other issues including the visual impact of the development, noise and traffic problems during construction. Councillor Baldwin, who suggested the scheme’s approval, said: “There are a lot of people here with a lot hanging on the decision. If it goes to appeal all the safeguards we have built in could go out of the window.”
Justin Hancock, at Banks Renewables, said after the meeting: “It has been a lot of hard work to get to this point. It is even more pleasing to come up with a compromise that meets the council’s aspirations.”
Ward councillor Brian Jones said he was disappointed and called the airport’s decision a “mish-mash”, adding: “There is still not a clear solution put forward by the airport. How can we put conditions on something when we don’t know answers?”
The wind farm for six turbines up to 125m high would be the borough’s first, providing enough power for on average 8,300 homes for 25 years.
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