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‘Grave concern’ over plans for more turbines in Belford

Villagers face the prospect of 25 massive wind turbines on their doorstep after a second scheme for their area emerged.

People at Belford in Northumberland are already battling 16 125m engines at Middleton Burn close to the village in a scheme proposed by Air Farmers Ltd.

Now a second scheme has come forward for a further nine turbines, 100m high, in an adjacent field on Sionside Farm. The Belford Burn project is from the British office of German company Energiekontor.

Plans for the turbines go on show in the village tonight and tomorrow night. Last night, the Middleton Burn Action Group – set up to fight that scheme, for which plans have yet to be submitted – vowed to fight the new project.

Chairman Chris Craddock, whose home is just over a mile from both sites, voiced alarm at the idea of both projects being approved. He said the turbines would be visible for miles around and that they will damage the local tourism industry.

Mr Craddock, whose group is planning an exit poll at the public exhibition, said: “It would look like one great field of turbines stretching up the ridge line. It would be absolutely horrendous. We do view this with grave concern and we intend to oppose this development in the same way as we are opposing the Middleton Burn one.

“We think that this will have as bad an effect as the Middleton Burn proposal and is likely to significantly damage tourism. A lot of the people who come to this part of the world are walkers and walkers like peace, tranquility. They do not like seeing 100m high industrial turbines.

“Tourism is the second most important industry in Northumberland. It is probably the most important in Belford. A lot of people who come here to walk will not come if it were covered in industrial turbine developments. It will damage local employment because of its impact on the tourism industry.”

No one was available for comment at Energiekontor’s Leeds office yesterday.

A newsletter from the company says it carried out feasibility studies which showed the site has “characteristics which make it suitable for wind farm development”. The firm has had discussions with Northumberland County Council and other consultees and intends to submit a scoping report to the authority.

The document, published last month, says the developer will seek planning permission to put a monitoring mast on the site before ultimately submitting full plans for the turbines.

The company claims each engine would have a generating capacity of up to 2.5mw, up to 22.5mw in total. Energiekontor says it would set up a community fund of £3,000 per mw, giving a total of up to £67,500.

The firm also says local contractors would be used. A public exhibition on the scheme takes place at Belford First School on West Street tonight from 6pm to 9pm and tomorrow from 5pm to 9pm.