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Fenrother wind turbine plan has family stressed

A family affected by a series of health, medical and work problems say they are suffering further stress over the prospect of wind turbines being built near their home.

School fundraiser Sarah Shotton, 47, says the proposed wind farm near the hamlet of Fenrother, north of Morpeth, is the “last straw” for her and her family after a number of difficult years.

Mrs Shotton and her husband Martin, 47, moved to their cottage on the A697 near Longhorsley eight years ago for the peace, quiet and space which it provides for their son James, 20, who is autistic.

She has suffered from Bell’s Palsy, a condition which causes facial paralysis, and was then diagnosed with breast cancer, which required surgery and further treatment that finished last year. Mr Shotton, a construction director, was then made redundant and is working currently in Dubai, which has heaped further pressure on the couple, who also have a younger son William, 14.

Now Mrs Shotton says the prospect of wind turbines 107m (350ft) tall being built near their home is tearing her family’s lives apart again.

Green energy company Energiekontor UK is proposing the wind farm between Fenrother and Longhorsley.

The Shottons are part of a local residents’ group fighting the scheme.

Mrs Shotton, a fundraiser at Collingwood Special School in Morpeth, said: “This the last straw for our family.

“I had Bell’s Palsy and then cancer, my husband lost his job and is now working abroad and I have been trying to get rid of stress in my life. When I first heard about the wind farm, I just thought I cannot cope with this on top of everything else. There are so many health issues associated with wind farms.

“Research has shown that living close to turbines can cause heart disease, tinnitus, vertigo, panic attacks, migraines and sleep deprivation.

“Some have said they should not be built within 2km (1.24 miles) of houses.

“There are added complications in my family as James has autism, and the frequency of the turbines, and low-level sound emissions, prevents people like him from living normally.

“I don’t want to get too political, but Northumberland County Council just seems to be passing wind farms willy nilly.

“We have got fantastic views here and this is going to spoil the whole landscape.” Sam Dewar, project manager with Energiekontor UK, said the nearest turbine to the Shottons’ house would be about 828m (905 yards) away.

He said Mrs Shotton’s comments about the health impacts of living close to turbines referred to a study which, he claimed, had been widely dismissed as flawed.

He said: “The reference to this kind of research demonstrates the misinformation among objectors, and we strive continuously to ensure that the correct information is made available at every opportunity.

“I completely sympathise with what Mrs Shotton has gone through, and am more than willing to meet with the family and talk through the application in depth, so that they can increase their understanding of the project.”