A proposed wind farm, which would have a ‘disastrous impact’ on a ‘lovely landscape’, has been thrown out by councillors.
The application for nine 100m-tall turbines on land to the west of Belford was rejected by Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee.
The Belford Burn proposal, submitted by Energiekontor UK Ltd, had sparked 500 objections.
Chris Craddock, chairman of the Middleton Burn Action Group said the scheme would do ‘serious harm to an iconic landscape’.
He said the scheme ‘would, in the bigger picture, generate only a trifling amount of electricity’.
Barbara Hooper said the National Trust was ‘extremely concerned about the impact of this proposal on our properties’, including Lindisfarne Castle, the Farne Islands and the viewpoint at Ros Castle.
Brenda Stanton, chairman of Belford Parish Council, urged the committee ‘to protect this unique and beautiful part of Northumberland and the local economy’, citing the importance of tourism.
Councillor John Woodman emphasised the ‘quality and importance of the landscape’ as the most important reason for refusal.
Michael Briggs, from Energiekontor, tried to highlight some of the benefits of the development, including the fact that the wind farm would produce 90 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to 15 per cent of Northumberland’s annual domestic energy consumption.
“This wind farm would punch well above its weight in terms of the amount of renewable energy it would be able to produce,” he said.
He also mentioned the community benefit fund of £112,000 per year and the £500,000 contribution to the Belford station project, but he failed to convince the committee to go against the planning officer’s advice.
Coun Trevor Thorne moved refusal, saying that he thought the key issue was the ‘visual impact on this lovely landscape’, adding: “I think it would have a disastrous impact.”