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Farmers’ concern over Great Whittington turbine plan

A wind turbine planned near livestock fields in a Northumberland village could frighten and disturb animals, it is claimed.

The 15-metre turbine at Great Whittington is proposed to supply green energy to a businessman’s country house – but farmers Alan and Jessie Tiffin are concerned at the possible effect on their small stock of cattle and sheep.

The Tiffins own two fields, and feared the initial site proposed for the turbine would have been too close to their animals.

Now it has been proposed to place the 10kw turbine further away. But this still not at a satisfactory distance, the Tiffins claim.

Mrs Tiffin said: “It’s better, but I think it could have been taken further back. At first it was just behind the hedge of our field and now it’s about four metres back towards the middle of the field.

“We are happier with it, but still aren’t certain what the effect will be.”

The turbine will feed energy to Eastgates, the property owned by Pyeroy industrial services company founder Bob Thompson.

The National Farmers Union is looking into the case while a planners’ decision is expected soon.

NFU Group Secretary for the Hexham area, Cath Reed, said: “We do support renewable energy in principle, but if an individual application affects a NFU member’s ability to farm, then we have to look at both sides.

“In this case, the potential noise and movement of the turbine could disturb the livestock, and also make it difficult for the farmers to move livestock between their two fields.”

Mrs Tiffin added: “We really weren’t against the wind turbine as such, but the animals can be scared by it.”

Her husband Alan said: “Sometimes the animals are highly strung and the turbine noise as well as blade flicker can upset them.

“But hopefully the turbine will be far enough away now.”

Objections to the initial proposal have also been received from villagers, although the consultation period for the amended scheme proposal was still running up to this week.

Northumberland County Council’s West Area Planning Committee, which meets tomorrow, is being recommended by planning officers to approve the new scheme, lodged under the applicant name of national green energy doctor Philip Wise.

Councillors will also examine any impact on the Great Whittington Conservation Area as well as the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.

Planning officers say the turbine would not be widely visible from surrounding roads and would not harm the character or appearance of the conservation area.

There would also be “relatively low noise levels”, according to the planners’ report.

Mr Thompson was unavailable for comment.