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Appeal over windfarm applications

A heritage group has urged the county council to rein in future windfarm developments.

In its response to the authority’s preferred options section of the Core Strategy, which will help determine what homes, buildings and structures should be built and where up to 2030, the Northumberland & Newcastle Society believes that it must go even further to protect valuable landscapes.

Members are calling on councillors and officers to make sure future policies recognise that Northumberland already has hugely more renewable capacity built, under construction and consented than any other county.

A paper by business consultant Bill Short says it will have sufficient renewable capacity to generate 120 per cent of its electricity consumption by the end of 2013.

There is also a concern that the county council, in the society’s view, has not adequately recognised the cumulative effects of turbine development, especially with regard to smaller, so-called ‘farm turbines’. These are often 30 to 90 metres high and it believes they are very substantial structures on the landscape.

In its submission, it states that no more planning permissions should be granted until more of the permitted schemes are built and a comparison can be made between the actual and predicted effects of developments.

Lester Sher, chairman of its Northumberland environment policy group, said: “We urgently need robust planning guidance to protect communities and our treasured tourist landscapes.

“If this doesn’t happen, ‘localism’ will be meaningless and large areas of Northumberland will become ‘wind farm landscapes’.”