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Fresh bid for county windfarm

Plans are in the pipeline for another windfarm in Northumberland.

Renewable energy company RES has teamed up with telecommunications provider BT to draw up plans for five turbines, each up to 127metres tall, near Netherwitton.

The proposed Rayburn Windfarm would be 2km to the north of the hamlet and 5km south of Wingates.

Both companies had previously submitted plans for turbines on adjacent sites – RES for a nine-turbine scheme at Park Head and BT for three turbines at Wingates Moor.

BT’s proposal was turned down by Northumberland County Council, while RES withdrew its plans before an inquiry into non-determination of its application.

The companies say the latest scheme will reduce the number of turbines originally proposed and they will be sited at a greater distance from communities.

RES Project Manager Daniel Leahy said: “Rayburn Windfarm is a significant milestone in our approach to renewable energy development and the first such partnership between RES and BT.

“It’s a great opportunity for two companies who share the same ethos to come together and demonstrates that we both want to take a responsible approach to renewable energy development and will work to address local concerns wherever possible.

“We are confident that together we can develop a well-designed windfarm that will secure a reliable source of renewable energy while taking into consideration the local environment and local communities.”

RES will progress the project. It has already started initial scoping work and says more details about the size and layout of the scheme will be presented to the community as part of public consultation in the spring.

However, resident John Thompson, of the Wingates Not Windfarms group, said locals will fight the plans.

“We thought all this had been dealt with and the fact that one application was refused and the other pulled out meant that maybe these developers had got the message, but obviously not, they are going to go through it all again,” he said.

“I would love to know who they have consulted and who they are taking into consideration because this is the first anybody has heard about it.

“It is so new that people are still shocked to say the least. Emotions are running high at the moment because of what is going on with the windfarm under construction at Wingates and people are just fed up.”

Mr Thompson said there are already problems as a wind testing mast in the area has not been removed five months after it was supposed to come down, and he said the latest plans will have a bigger impact on the communities of Netherwitton and Longhorsley than the schemes previously proposed.

“I’m sure there is going to be an awful lot of bad feeling about this and we will fight it again, but we shouldn’t have to. Most of us live in the country for a peaceful, quiet life,” he said.