Wind farm protestors have raised fears that TV signal reception in the Belford area could be badly hit if proposals for up to 25 turbines on the outskirts of the village get the green light.
Research carried out by Middleton Burn Action Group (MBAG) has found that wind turbines at Middleton Burn and Belford Burn could interfere with TV signals being transmitted from the Chatton mast.
Kerry Noble, MBAG vice chairman, said: “The BBC have a website where wind farm developers can find out how turbines will affect TV reception.
“All I did was put in the grid reference for the centre of the development sites and they said it would impact on 32 houses in the local area.
“That figure is just for a single turbine, never mind 25. I daren’t think what the outcome would be if you take all those turbines into account.”
Energieikontor, which is behind the proposal for nine 100m tall turbines at Belford Burn, has offered to make a goodwill gesture of £100 to each home with disrupted TV signals at its wind farm in Lancashire. However, it has made no such gesture to Belford residents who have also pointed out that solving the problem would require the purchase of a new HD Freesat box costing £160 for each TV.
“They’ve never even mentioned TV reception as being a potential problem at any of their exhibitions,” said Mr Noble.
Energiekontor insists it has taken the issue into account and does not foresee a problem.
Peter Harrison of Energiekontor said: “The Chatton transmitter provides a strong digital signal to Belford village and therefore we would not expect that TV reception would be affected by the wind farm. We are carrying out an environmental impact assessment at the moment which will cover matters such as TV reception and we would expect any planning permission that follows to include a requirement for us to investigate and mitigate any negative effect on TV reception.”
The BBC said it was unable to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, Energiekontor has appealed against the refusal of its application for a met mast. Its bid to erect a 60m tall anemometer mast to measure wind speeds on the Belford Burn site was rejected by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee.
The appeal will be heard by a planning inspector in Bristol on January 18.
“We’ll be putting up as strong a fight as possible,” said Mr Noble. “We feel that if the developers can’t get permission for a met mast because of its impact on landscape value then their plans for a wind farm would be dead in the water.”
Both Energiekontor and Air Farmers Ltd, the developers of the proposed 16 turbine scheme at Middleton Burn, are expected to submit planning applications within the next few months.
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