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Ill wind blows for turbine bid

More than 150 residents turned out to look at proposals for a nine-turbine windfarm in north Northumberland – and one ballot showed the scheme was almost unanimously opposed.

The public exhibition, which took place at Belford First School on Monday and Tuesday, was hosted by Energiekontor UK Ltd, which is proposing a windfarm of ‘up to nine wind turbines’ with a height of ‘no more than 100metres to blade tip’ on land north of Belford Moor, to be known as Belford Burn.

It comes after Air Farmers Ltd hosted a similar exhibition for the Middleton Burn project, consisting of 16 turbines, 125metres to blade tip, last September.

Project manager Michael Briggs, of Energiekontor UK, said that the exhibition was designed to let people know what they are up to in the area, who they are and some of the broad planning and environmental considerations.

He also explained that at this stage it was all ‘purely indicative’ and ‘intended to aid discussion’.

“We want to understand which are important issues to local people so we can understand if there’s scope for us to address those as part of the planning and design process,” he said.

“And we are looking for suggestions as to how they would like the community fund to be spent.

“It’s good to see a big turnout, that’s the main thing, to get as many people through the doors as possible.”

A community fund of £3,000 per MW of installed capacity per annum has been put forward, which could mean up to £67,500 per year depending on the final generating capacity.

Middleton Burn Action Group, which has vowed to fight this scheme as well, was present at the exhibition and took a ballot on people’s views of the Belford Burn project.

According to their vote, 98 per cent of those who attended the exhibition voted in the ballot.

Of those, 99.4 per cent voted against the scheme while the remaining 0.6 per cent were undecided.

Chairman Chris Craddock said that he wasn’t surprised by those results.

“We would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been a large majority opposed to the scheme.

“It’s the sort of scheme we don’t believe is good for the village, and villagers don’t think is good for the village.”