A wind energy company has been told its test mast is no longer welcome in scenic north Northumberland.
The 47-metre anemometer mast, used to assess meteorological conditions for potential windfarms, has stood overlooking Eglingham, near Alnwick, since July 2006.
Owners Acciona Energy UK, of Newport, south Wales, have twice been granted an extension to the time allowed.
But now Northumberland county councillors have refused to allow Acciona any more time.
A plea for a further six months to October 2012 to allow noise assessment for any wind turbines to be built in the area was unanimously thrown out by members of the county’s planning and environment committee.
Coun Paul Kelly declared: “I have to ask what’s been happening over the six-year period. Why have they not gleaned enough information over six years?
“Are they serious about a windfarm? This ‘met-mast’ has been here for an enormous amount of time. Why should we give way to what appears to be a slapdash application?”
Acciona have been granted two previous 24-month extensions but have still not completed its work.
The mast stands within the Berwick Moor Site of Nature Conservation Importance and Tillside Parish Council lodged its own official objection to any more time being allowed.
Coun Ian Hutchinson supported the refusal, saying: “They have had five windows to noise-monitor, and two other extensions.
“We have been generous twice before, and I think enough is enough.”
Coun Jean Fearon added: “My feelings are the same. Who’s to say that they won’t make the same excuses in six months’ time?”
Independent councillor John Taylor said: “This is a very important piece of heather moorland leading from Alnwick to Kyloe Wood, and I can’t see the justification for accepting this arrangement. They’ve had six years to do this work and they say they haven’t enough information. I have to ask: why not?”
And Coun Alan Armstrong said: “Six years is a long time – perhaps they are grasping at straws for a better window where they might get better figures.”
Since the first installation of the met-mast, the area has been given Site of Special Scientific Interest designation because of the flora across the moor.
Coun Kelly said: “The nature of the beast has changed. We have a good reason for not consenting. It has run out of time. I would suggest that it is no longer of any purpose, because given the precedents, the chances of a wind turbine here are minimal.”
Tillside Parish Council vice-chairman Neil Douglas welcomed the refusal decision and said: “Our unanimous objection was that this was their third extension. When they wanted the first extension, I voiced the opinion that it had been there long enough.”
A spokesman for Acciona UK said: “While we are aware of the council’s decision, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further without us having received their official notification detailing their grounds for refusal.”
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