Campaigners opposing wind farms in Northumberland have been backed in their attack on a council’s depiction of turbines – by some of the authority’s own members.
The Journal reported last week how an opponent of a proposed wind scheme in the county had hit out at the size of turbines in an image produced by Northumberland County Council.
Now, criticism has been backed by a number of county councillors, with one claiming the presence of the turbines in the image is “unnecessarily provocative.”
The artwork was created by the council nearly two years ago as part of a campaign to encourage residents to get involved in keeping the county clean and green.
The vision features a castle, hills, trees, a river, a beach and the sea, above the campaign slogan “Love Northumberland, caring for our county”. It also features turbines.
It has appeared in the council’s Northumberland News magazine, on roadside advertising and on staff emails. However, the size at which the three turbines appear in comparison to their surroundings annoyed John Tait, 46, who lives at Elsdon.
Mr Tait, who is fighting plans for 125m turbines a kilometre from his home, claims the image does not reflect the size of turbines being proposed around the county. He produced his own version, with the turbines enlarged to what he claims is a more accurate scale.
Mr Tait’s work was then circulated to all 67 county councillors by Dr James Lunn, who is fighting plans for turbines near his home at Fenrother. Dr Lunn, who has also contacted council chief executive Steve Stewart to voice his concerns, asked members to back their calls for the “accurate representation” to be used.
Several councillors have replied, with some backing Mr Tait’s version. Coun Gordon Castle, member for Alnwick, wrote: “On balance I think it is probably unnecessarily provocative, given the controversy such installations arouse. I suppose the intention is to promote our green agenda. There might have been a better way to achieve this than suggest wind farms can be seen everywhere.”
Coun Steven Bridgett, who represents Rothbury, added: “I am inclined to agree with Dr Lunn. While the initial concept behind this picture is ideal and admirable it is not an accurate representation.”
But Coun Anthony Murray, who represents Wooler, backed the image. He wrote: “I am aware of a considerable number of small turbines which are allowing rural dwellers to enjoy power in a sustainable way. Surely it is acceptable for the county council to publicise this.”
The council last week defended the image, saying: “The branding used to promote the campaign in no way relates to the council’s position on the development of wind farms and isn’t meant to be done to scale. The drawing is merely a graphical representation. The three turbines are meant to represent renewable energy, so we’re sorry for any confusion.”
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