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Fenrother wind farm refusal appeal has date set

Claims of a tougher Government stance against controversial wind farm schemes are about to be put to the test as a battle resumes over plans for massive turbines next to a rural Northumberland hamlet.

Ministers recently announced new planning guidelines for wind farm applications, and said residents will get more power to block unwanted turbines which threaten the landscape.

Communities minister, Mark Prisk, told MPs last month that the new guidance – to local councils and planning inspectors – would make it clear that the nation’s need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections, and the concerns of local communities.

There will be a public inquiry next month into plans to build five turbines, each 126m tall, at Fenrother, north of Morpeth. German-owned Energiekontor UK appealed against a county council decision to refuse planning permission for the scheme, which sparked more than 1,600 letters of objection.

The appeal will be heard at a six-day public inquiry in Morpeth Town Hall, starting on August 28. Yesterday Dr James Lunn, who lives in Fenrother and chairs the protest group, said about 220 people have written to the Secretary of State to oppose the scheme, taking the total number to more than 1,900. “No stronger message can be sent to the Government that our community doesn’t want this.”

Energiekontor says the scheme will bring major benefits, including enough renewable energy for over 7,900 homes, is not in the green belt and turbines would be over 800m from local properties.