A war of words over plans for a wind farm close to a Northumberland hamlet has continued with a green energy company claiming significant public backing for its controversial scheme.
Energiekontor UK – which wants to build five 126 metre-high turbines near Fenrother north of Morpeth – says it has received almost 400 pledges of support, after consulting with local people and “influential members of the community”.
It claims the wind farm will “contribute significantly towards the region’s energy needs,” and says hundreds of letters have been submitted to the county council in support of its planning application.
A local action group fighting the scheme has sent in a massive, 71,000-word objection document, and says about 1,000 letters of objection have been submitted.
The claims are the latest salvos in a bitter war of words generated by the proposal – which has already included a threat of legal action against a leading objector, a claim that the project will be an environmental disaster and a row over the allocation of a promised £45,000-a-year community benefit fund if the scheme is approved. Last week county councillors decided to hold a public meeting and site visit before making a decision on the company’s application.
Energiekontor says the wind farm will produce enough renewable energy to power more than 7,900 homes a year, and the proposed site lies in an area earmarked as suitable for medium-sized wind development.
Yesterday project manager, San Dewar, said: “Final plans are progressing and we’re delighted to have received so many pledges of support for the wind farm. There is clearly a strong groundswell of opinion, with many people able to see the scheme’s benefits and clearly in favour of us progressing further.
“We have presented a very persuasive argument for wind farm development, and I’m confident the council will see the advantages on offer and give their backing to the project. Power produced by the site will not only be limitless but also clean and environmentally friendly.”
Last night Fenrother resident Dr James Lunn, a leading member of the local action group, said support for the scheme had come in the form of standard letters, which people were asked to sign on the main street in Morpeth, five miles away.
“The fact is that Energiekontor have not knocked on anyone’s door in Fenrother since they delivered letters about the wind farm last November. They have refused to answer questions from the local community. I am mystified about who they are referring to as influential members of the community, because we are just a small group of people here. ”
Members of the council’s planning committee will visit the site on Friday.
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