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Northumberland wind turbine bid approved despite opposition

Opposition from South Africa and across the UK has failed to derail plans for a small wind turbine in the Northumberland countryside.

John Stanners, from Powburn, has been granted planning permission for the 21.5-metre generator which will power a small agricultural unit.

The decision comes despite 57 letters of objection being sent to Northumberland County Council, including one from South Africa and a number from across the UK.

Mr Stanners last night asked: “What has it got to do with someone from South Africa or London? It is a local issue.”

Local objector Pru Redman, of Powburn, said the letters from afar could have been sent by people who had previously lived in the area or had visited for holidays.

Council papers say 22 of the letters “appear to be standard” in that they were almost identical and presumably based on a template.

Mrs Redman said a local bed and breakfast owner may have created the template and got guests to send letters based on it but felt they were still relevant regardless of where they were sent from.

The origin of some of the letters was highlighted by members of the planning committee with chairman Coun Dougie Watkin joking afterwards: “I did not realise you could see it from South Africa!”

Mr Stanners’ application for the turbine on land near Breamish Park followed withdrawal of an earlier proposal for a larger generator, of 24.5m. Council officers had recommended approval.

Mr Stanners said: “We are pleased it has gone through. It is only a small agricultural unit but we feel as if we have got to do our bit for the environment.

“It is Government policy to encourage alternative energy use.

“In the real world we all need to do something if we want to keep our electric on.”

Yet Mrs Redman said: “I was a bit disappointed it got through but as long as it is not the first of many. They are saying it can not be seen but it can be seen. It will be painted white and it will stick out like a sore thumb.

“It will be visible from an awful lot of this area. From one half of the National Park they will be able to see it.

“I think if you want to use renewable power get solar panels, they are more reliable. You do not have to turn them off when it is too windy.”