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Hamsterley Forest turbine opponents gear up for ‘one almighty battle’  

Credit:  By Stuart Laundy, Reporter (Barnard Castle & Teesdale) | The Northern Echo | 20th June 2013 | www.thenorthernecho.co.uk ~~

Campaigners say they are gearing up for “one almighty battle” against proposals for a £12.5m wind farm.

After months of delays, the application for five 115-metre high turbines at Windy Bank, near Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, is now expected to go before planners in the autumn.

The proposals were originally submitted in August 2011 after developer Banks Renewables spent two years drawing up the scheme.

Durham County Council requested further information on a number of issues and new ecology reports, with updated information on bats and birds, have been submitted.

The Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Action group (Hugag) is now trying to mobilise as much support for its opposition to the proposals as possible.

Spokesman Peter Shield said it was the last chance for people to make their views known on the proposals.

He added: “More importantly, perhaps, this is the moment to talk to neighbours and others who may not yet have joined the campaign to oppose this planning application.

“We need as many supporters as possible because, although our determination to keep industrial-scale turbines out of Teesdale remains rock-solid – and although we welcome the Government’s recent announcement that the views of local communities will be given more weight – we nevertheless know that this is going to be one almighty battle.”

Mr Shield said he had received assurances from Durham County Council that comments previously submitted by opponents will continue to be taken into account.

“This is the last chance to make such representations – there will not be another at a later stage.”

Mr Shield said the latest information provided by the developer had done nothing to change the group’s opinion of the scheme.

“In Hugag’s opinion, the additional information on bats and birds only serves to confirm the importance of the site for wildlife.

“As a result, this leads us to conclude that Windy Bank remains an entirely inappropriate location for the development of a commercial wind farm,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Durham County Council confirmed that although the statutory consultation period had ended on June 4, anyone wishing to comment on the scheme could continue to do so, provided representations are received before the committee report is drawn up.

Source:  By Stuart Laundy, Reporter (Barnard Castle & Teesdale) | The Northern Echo | 20th June 2013 | www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

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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