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Isles windfarm protest strengthened by study

Campaigners fighting to stop a 24-turbine wind farm being built are pointing to new figures to strengthen their case.

The second phase of consultation for the controversial wind farm near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, gets under way today, just as figures reveal the county has the second highest concentration of turbines in England.

The county has 69 operational turbines in an area of 1,033 square miles, second only to Cornwall, which has a total of 94 turbines in 1,376 square miles.

Taking into account developments in the planning and construction stages, County Durham remains in the top three, after the South and East ridings of Yorkshire, with 111 turbines.

For campaigners fighting to stop the The Isles – a 24-turbine wind farm on land to the east of Newton Aycliffe – the figures obtained from Renewables UK add further justification to their cause.

Susan Fox, from The Isles Communities Turbine Action Campaign (Tictac), said it was disgraceful the county should be expected to house even more wind farms.

“County Durham is doing more than its fair share and when you see the statistics you realise how bad it is,” she said.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson stressed that it was not about being for or against wind farms.

“Everyone wants to reap the benefits of renewable energy so everybody should share the burden,” he said. “County Durham is at capacity.”

However, a spokeswoman from E.ON, the energy firm behind The Isles, said the company had examined cumulative impact when carrying out environmental assessments.

She said the Secretary of State would also consider this when deciding whether to approve the scheme, adding: “If we can’t put together an acceptable application then consent will not be granted, which is why we need to work with the local community, local authorities and statutory bodies to develop an acceptable scheme.

“We know that people have strong views about wind farms, and some believe that there are already too many in the local area. We believe this is a good site for a wind farm and the Isles will help us meet the UK’s renewable energy targets.”

E.ON initially proposed building 45 turbines but, following the first round of consultation, the application was changed to two clusters of seven and 17 turbines located more than a mile apart.

Consultation events take place in Chilton and Windlestone Workingmen’s Club, on Tuesday, from 4pm to 8pm; in Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, next Thursday, from 1pm to 8pm; Sedgefield Parish Hall, on July 13, from 10am to 2pm; Mordon Village Hall, on July 13, from 4pm to 8pm; Chilton and Windlestone Workingmen’s Club, on July 14, from 9am to 2pm.

Comments can be sent via 0800-096-1199, theisles@eonuk.com or eon-uk.com/theisles