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Anger grows over green belt mast bid  

Credit:  The Shields Gazette | 4 January 2013 | www.shieldsgazette.com ~~

About 200 residents have signed a protest petition against plans for a giant mast on green belt land in South Tyneside.

There are fears the 50-metre mast will lead to the creation of a wind farm development near the Fellgate Estate in Jarrow.

The plans will be considered at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s planning committee on January 28, where ward councillors will speak against them.

In what is the second fight to protect the same green belt land in six years, residents have collected about 200 signatures on the petition.

Coun Steve Harrison, an Independent councillor for the Fellgate and Hedworth ward, said: “This is all about protecting the green belt.

“I believe the mast will be used to test wind speed, and this could lead to the creation of a wind farm on land near Fellgate.

“But although the Government is pushing these wind farms, I don’t believe there is conclusive proof of their value.”

Six years ago, plans for a business park and leisure development on a 240-acre green belt site near Fellgate sparked a storm of protest.

Former council leader Paul Waggott eventually lost his seat in the Fellgate and Hedworth ward after failing to back residents in their battle.

The mast scheme has been submitted by Empirica Investments Ltd, a company based in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, specialising in renewable energy products, including wind turbines.

Residents’ spokesman Ron Smith, of Durham Drive, Fellgate, Jarrow, said: “There was a good response to the petition, which was placed in local shops.

“We will just have to see what happens when the application is considered by the council’s planning committee.”

Both Coun Harrison and Labour ward councillor Alan Smith have asked for permission to speak against the mast application at the meeting.

No one was available for comment at Empirica Investments Ltd.

Source:  The Shields Gazette | 4 January 2013 | www.shieldsgazette.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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