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Teesdale off limits for new large-scale turbine projects, says authority

The head of planning for County Durham says he cannot see any more large-scale wind turbine proposals being put forward in Teesdale.
Durham County Council’s head of planning, Stuart Timmiss, says the value of the landscape and other factors put too many constraints for another major project to come forward.
It would mean that the gigantic turbines being proposed for Hamsterley would be the last major application in the dale, he said.
The only other wind turbines that could be built are smaller-scale agricultural ones.
Mr Timmiss said: “It really is just agricultural-scale turbines that we’re looking at now. It’s as clear as that for us. The landscape of Teesdale is so heavily constrained that there isn’t any possibility that I can see of any more large-scale applications.
“I can’t see any other opportunities for major turbines to come forward in this area.”
Constrains stopping developers putting forward large-scale plans in Teesdale include the impact on the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, terrain, ecology, impact on heritage, radar, effect on people’s homes and visual dominance.
Plans to build a wind farm between Hamsterley and Woodland have been on the table for four years.The £12.4million scheme to build five 115-metre turbines has been hit by delays and led to protests.
The applicant, Banks, has been asked to include more information in their planning documents on wildlife. And the scheme has not yet gone before Durham County Council’s planning committee.
Mr Timmiss said the time taken on the application demonstrates the difficulty developers face.
He said: “Banks were confident but there have been issues.”
However, a proposal to build five turbines at Punder Gill near the A66 is being lodged with the county council.
These would each be 47 metres high – way off the gigantic turbines planned at Hamsterley.
Mr Timmiss said: “The county council has yet to receive a valid application for the proposed turbines at Punder Gill and cannot comment on individual applications.
“As a general principle, when determining planning applications for wind turbines, the council will consider whether they are environmentally acceptable in themselves, before taking into account any un-related benefits that might be proposed.
“This will include having regard to their impacts on the landscape, on residential amenity in terms of noise, shadow flicker and visual intrusion, on ecological and cultural heritage assets, and practical considerations such as impacts on telecommunications and radar.” The plans for Ponder Gill are being opposed by nearby residents.