Teesdale’s MP has defended her controversial backing of a proposed wind farm after it emerged she had previously warned that her intervention “could have perverse results”.
Helen Goodman this month gave her support to plans for four 125-metre turbines at Windy Bank, near Woodland.
She said a community benefits fund promised by developer Banks would help the area and the wind farm would provide green energy.
However, in 2011 she wrote to one resident who was worried about the proposals.
At the time, she said: “I appreciate your concern over this application and know that the issue of wind farms is highly emotive. I believe that a balance has got to be struck between the needs to reduce carbon emissions in the UK and in preserving the quality of the natural environment.
“The county council will be responsible for this planning decision and as an MP I have no influence on such decisions. Indeed my intervention could have perverse results.”
Asked what had prompted her change of mind, she said: “I felt it was an important matter and I should give my views, but I do accept that these are very tall turbines and this is a matter of concern to some constituents which the planning committee will obviously need to take into account.”
Ms Goodman’s backing for the proposals has left parish councillors “flabbergasted”.
Etherley Parish Council had received a letter from the Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Action Group (HUGAG) highlighting Ms Goodman’s position.
Members were told if the scheme went ahead, these would be the first turbines of that size to the west of the A68.
The meeting was also told Ms Goodman had previously indicated she would not take sides on the issue.
Cllr Paul Ryman said: “We are just flabbergasted. It is staggering.” He described Ms Goodman as a “turncoat” and reminded members that in her dealings with the village she had offered support over the closure of the post office only to then vote in favour of the measure in parliament.
Parish councillors agreed to write to HUGAG supporting their campaign against the turbines.
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