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Campaigners fighting controversial wind farm plans near a Northumberland hamlet have taken a major step towards victory.
After massive public opposition, county planners are now recommending green energy company Energiekontor’s proposals for five 126m turbines on farmland at Fenrother, near Morpeth, are rejected.
Last night campaign leader Dr James Lunn said: “We are absolutely ecstatic – six cast-iron reasons for refusal have been presented. There will be extra glasses of champagne on our Christmas tables.”
Local county councillor Glen Sanderson said the decision, if ratified, could herald a landmark policy shift.
Refusal of Fenrother would represent the first significant planning rejection of a large-scale wind farm application in Northumberland.
A total of 1,647 objections to the scheme have been lodged at County Hall, with landscape impact, noise pollution and potential for precedent high on the list. Almost a dozen statutory consultees have also objected, including two local parish councils, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Northumberland National Park, Morpeth Civic Society and even the Northumberland Badger Group.
The National Grid added its voice, warning that the development was dangerously close to a major gas pipeline.
And Newcastle Airport said there were aviation issues, while the Ministry of Defence claimed it would interfere with important surveillance and control radar at Brizlee Wood on Alnwick Moor.
Coun Sanderson said: “The recommendation for refusal is a combination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people who have made their views crystal-clear over the past year or more about the unsuitability of this application.”
Energiekontor was unavailable for comment but on its website it says the Fenrother wind farm would produce the equivalent electricity usage of 7,623 households.
In October, Energiekontor project manager Sam Dewar claimed there was a groundswell of opinion in favour of the company’s proposals.
The county planning committee meets in Morpeth on January 8 when the planning officers’ report will tell them the Fenrother wind farm would have significant and unacceptable adverse impacts on the landscape and local residents.
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