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Fears for turbines in area of ‘sink holes’

Villagers are growing increasingly concerned about the number of wind turbines being built in an area affected by “sink holes”.
Members of Woodland Parish Council have written to Durham County Council about their fears.
It comes after the owners of Jobs Lodge Farm applied to build a second 19.9m turbine. The first application was approved in January.
Sink holes have made national news after opening up following a wet winter and a 5ft hole appeared under a house in Ripon in February.
Clifford Harding, Woodland parish council chairman, said he is worried about old mine workings falling in. He said: “This site is in an area that historically has been extensively mined for coal in the past with coal seams being close to the surface.
“Subsidence and the sudden appearance of ‘sink holes’ are well known occurrences due to the unstable nature of the land in this area. Because of the small-scale nature of some of these mining operations many of the workings are not recorded.”
There have been a number of cases of holes opening up.
In 2011, George Gwilliam cheated death when he was driving near Woodland.
The road sunk into an old mine and his car was flung 15ft into the air.
Mr Harding said although the applicant, Edward Wright, had submitted coal mining documents, there is no evidence to show that the development is safe.
Banks Renewables is planning to build a wind farm nearby and there are two smaller turbines in the village.
The plans for Jobs Lodge Farm would bring another pair.
“We are increasingly concerned at the number of applications for this type and size of turbine, which is in danger of overwhelming much of our finest countryside,” said Mr Harding.
In a report, Daniel Malkin, of Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental Ltd, said: “The mining reports indicate that there are no recorded underground mine workings beneath the site.
“There is however the possibility of unrecorded shallow mine workings in the area.” The risk assessment said that site is also recorded as having been open cast mined in the past and further investigation would be needed.
The Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Action Group (HUGAG) also opposes the planning application.
A spokesman said: “The proliferation of turbines in this lower Teesdale area, even where the turbines are mainly of modest domestic size, is already changing the character of the local landscape.”
Brian Newman, from I Need Planning Permission, is handing the application.
He was unavailable for comment at the time the Mercury went to press.