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Controversy over Government windfarm report

Anti-wind farm campaigners have reacted angrily to a Government report that concludes that wind farms create thousands of jobs and generate millions for local economies.

A joint study of 18 wind farms nationwide by the industry and the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed communities benefited from £84m generated by onshore wind turbines in 2011, with 1,100 local jobs supported by the sector.

The document claimed one in three local jobs were in operating and maintaining the turbines, providing long-term employment and said wind farms benefited local people through schemes which pay residents for hosting turbines, community ownership and investment in infrastructure.

But regional campaigners against wind farms disagreed with the findings and expressed concern over the negative impact they would have on traditional industries.

A spokesman for the Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Action Group, which is opposing plans from Banks Renewables to create a £12.5m six-turbine wind farm at Windy Bank, near Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, said: “Banks have admitted that no long-term jobs have been created at Tow Law due to the turbines there and have predicted possibly one at Windy Bank.

“Our concern is the turbines would be erected right on top of Hamsterley Forest which is a popular tourist destination and close to where a lot of local people have bed and breakfast facilities or holiday properties to let.

These businesses would be adversely affected by a wind farm.

“For one possible job, quite a number of other people could suffer.”

Meanwhile, Susan Fox, secretary of The Isles Community Turbine Action Campaign, which is campaigning against Eon’s proposals for a 45-turbine wind farm near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, added: “Wind power is so expensive that in the long run, on balance, you lose jobs.

Three jobs are lost for every one created. It puts such a burden on traditional power industries and there are so many of those in the North-East.”

She also dismissed the community funding offered by such companies as “a publicity exercise” which had very little impact on communities affected by wind farms.