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MP remains unimpressed with plans for five-turbine windfarm

An MP remains unimpressed with plans for a five-turbine windfarm – despite the company behind it hailing its apparent benefits.

Infinis wants to build the development, featuring turbines up to 345ft high, at Wingate Grange, to the west of Wingate, south-east of Wheatley Hill, north of Deaf Hill and south of the A181.

The firm has previously appeared in the Mail championing the benefits of the scheme, which includes a community employment fund worth £1.25m over 25 years.

The firm also says the scheme could bring in excess of £6m to the Durham area and double that for the wider region, as well as have the capacity of generating 12.5MW of power .

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson presented a 156-name petition to Parliament last year, calling for the blocking of the plans.

He said this week that even after hearing about the fund and its suggested economic benefits, he is still not supportive.

“We have got a proliferation of wind farms in the county,” he said.

“And as for the employability fund, that is nothing compared with the amount of profits the company and the landowners are going to be making out of it.

“If this was the only windfarm in the county, there would probably be a good reason for it to go ahead.

“But there are now over 70 wind farms over 300ft high in the county.”

But Tim Mockridge from Infinis said a report by Institute for Public Policy Research found “that any community benefit fund should be tied to local priorities, which for County Durham means the lowest skilled gaining qualifications and this is best done by local organisations.

“That is what we intend to do if Wingate Grange gets the go ahead. Onshore wind technology can bring real benefits to County Durham and our plan would be the perfect template to make that happen.”