- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Turbines change the face of the horizon

The construction of six giant wind turbines at Kiln Pit Hill is under way.

Already two of the 100-metre high turbines can be seen in situ on farmland south-east of the small village.

Developer RWE Renewables expects the remaining three to be up within the next two weeks, and for the windfarm to be fully operation and feeding power into the national grid by mid-2012.

Groundwork began on the site back in November 2010, following a five-year planning application processes.

The 12-megawatt energy base is capable of providing power to 6,400 homes.

Permission was granted by a Government inspector following an expensive public inquiry in January 2009, after the former Tynedale Council failed to determine the application within the prescribed time limits.

This week, those who opposed the development remained unrepentant.

Chairman of Shotley Low Quarter Parish Council, Elliot Taylor, said construction work has begun to take its toll on local communities.

“It has not been easy for the local community.

“The laying of cables, construction traffic and, more recently, the transportation of the turbines themselves have not just had an effect on roads off the A68, but the parish as a whole.

“The landscape and the view we had has been dramatically changed.”

Traffic on a section of the A68 was halted at various times this week, as low loaders carrying tower parts and turbines blades drove into the area under police escort.

Feelings against the site have been also been stirred up again following an application by the developers to vary conditions in the original planning application.

At a meeting on Monday night, Shotley Low Quarter Parish Council unanimously opposed the variations.

These include an amendment to allow the windfarm to be used during the breeding season for birds between April and June, following a search for birds’ nests.

If no nests are found, then the first export of power would be able to take place during those months – a change to the original plans.

The other variation relates to a condition over the noise level limits protecting surrounding residents.

Local county councillor Colin Horncastle, described the proposals as a “step too far”.

“The windfarm developers want to keep their cake and eat it at the same time,” he said.

“I am of the same opinion as the parish council and will be speaking out strongly against it.”

Project manager for the Kiln Pit Hill windfarm, Phillip Watson, said construction was progressing well and the company was working closely with the county council and highways department to keep disruption on roads to a minimum.

Mr Watson added that the amendments were sought to bring planning conditions in line with current standard planning conditions for windfarms, and it would protect breeding birds to the same extent, whilst giving developers additional flexibility.