The cumulative effect of wind farms is ruining the countryside in County Durham, according to a report published today.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) warns in its report about the increasing number of turbines being erected across “valued” landscapes.
The report makes specific reference to County Durham, which has one of the highest levels of wind farm development in the country, saying that the over-proliferation of wind turbines has led to the countryside becoming damaged, CPRE’s concerns are supported by a North-East MP, who has called for other areas to shoulder some of the burden of windpower.
The CPRE’s report, Generating light on landscape impacts, said that in 2008 there were 685 wind turbines of 30 metres or taller which had been completed, in construction or awaiting approval.
However, by March this year the total was more than 4,100.
The increase in applications has come as local authorities are cutting back on planning funding, leading to fears that planning departments will not be able to cope with controversial proposals.
In the foreword to the report, Bill Bryson, the former chancellor of the University of Durham, and president of CPRE, has said: “This countryside will continue to change, as it always has.
“But the speed and scale of the changes we are now seeing as a result of the proliferation of wind turbines is immense and threatens to damage the character of many landscapes for at least a generation.”
County Durham has 60 operational turbines, 27 under construction, 19 approved and six in the planning stages and there are concerns that the cumulative effect of this number of turbines has already damaged the countryside.
The report has made a number of recommendations to the Government, including recognising the cumulative impact of wind farms and ensuring local planning authorities can protect landscape and character through local plans.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson welcomed the report’s findings.
He said he is concerned about the number of turbines in County Durham, in particular the proposed development of up to 45 turbines at the Isles, near Newton Aycliffe.
Mr Wilson said: “Everybody wants to reap the rewards and benefits of renewable energy, but they’ve got to share the burden. It’s now up to other parts of the country to play their part.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding