A row over a wind farm development in rural Northumberland has taken a new twist after an opponent of the scheme was threatened with legal action by the energy company involved.
Energiekontor UK has sought legal advice and is considering whether to take further action after Dr James Lunn altered a poster which the company had produced to advertise a public exhibition of its controversial proposals.
Dr Lunn is a leading member of a local action group set up to fight the plans to put up five turbines, each 126m (413ft) tall, on farmland between the hamlet of Fenrother and Longhorsley village, north of Morpeth.
He didn’t feel Energiekontor UK had done enough to inform local people about the exhibition, which was held in a local first school last week.
He printed off the company’s poster – which had been displayed on notice boards and in a village shop and added a number of comments of his own, before it was distributed to 500 local people by members of the action group.
The additional comments included a claim that Energiekontor didn’t want people to know about the exhibition, a statement that the turbines will be six times higher than the Angel of the North and suggestions that the scheme will mean a windfall for local landowners but very little benefit for the surrounding communities.
Dr Lunn, a GP who lives in Fenrother with his wife Gemma and baby daughter Imogen, said his actions were a successful attempt to get more residents to attend the exhibition.
However, at the “heated” event he was told by Energiekontor project manager, Sam Dewar, that he could face legal action as a result.
Dr Lunn said: “It was clear there was going to be no leaflet drop about the exhibition by the company, which doesn’t want to engage the local community in what it is planning. They only informed the local parish councils and put a few posters on notice boards and shops about the exhibition.
“We put our own information on it, which we believe to be true, and it was distributed locally. I have witnesses who heard me threatened with legal action but that doesn’t worry me at all, because all I tried to do was engage the local community.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating and of the 78 people who attended the exhibition, 97% said they only heard about it as a result of us getting our message out to them. If Energiekontor want to challenge me on what I did, I’m more than happy to stand up for our community.”
Mr Dewar said the use of the company’s poster was inappropriate and the changes which Dr Lunn made to it included incorrect information.
He said: “This matter is with our solicitor and we will have to make a decision on whether we take it any further. I did inform Dr Lunn of that at the exhibition.
“I believe what he has done is breach of copyright and, effectively, criminal damage. I do find it quite surprising behaviour from someone who is a doctor.”
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