Controversial plans for a wind farm in the Northumberland countryside have been seen off for the time being, after the developers chose not to appeal its refusal.
RES and joint venture partner BT have revealed they will not be challenging Northumberland County Council’s decision to throw out their bid for five turbines at Netherwitton, near Morpeth.
They have cited delays in upgrading the area’s electricity distribution network as the main reason for the decision.
The application sought 125m turbines at Park Head Farm, close to Rayburn Lake, along with two 80m monitoring masts.
Objections came in from 159 residents and Longhorsley, Rothley with Hollinghhill and Netherwitton parish councils.
There was also opposition from the Ministry of Defence, Newcastle International Airport, National Air Traffic Services, Northumberland National Park Authority and the British Horse Society.
Only two letters of support were received.
The application was due to be determined last August with a recommendation that it be refused.
However it was instead deferred to allow county planning officers to consider any implications of the government’s decision to refuse plans for turbines at nearby Fenrother.
The schemes subsequently went back before the authority’s planning committee with the same recommendation, with members voting in line with that advice to refuse.
RES and BT have now revealed they will not be challenging the decision.
Tracy Scott, RES project manager, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who took part in our public consultation and wanted them to know as soon as possible that we have, reluctantly, decided to withdraw our plans for Rayburn Wind Farm.
“After working on this site for some ten years, it’s very sad that we are not going to be able to deliver any of the benefits that Rayburn Wind Farm would have brought to this part of Northumberland.
“While we continue to believe that this site has many positive attributes for renewable energy generation, including excellent wind speeds and a good transportation route, anticipated upgrades to the grid network near Blyth have not progressed as anticipated and alternative connections have not been forthcoming.
“This, coupled with other considerations, has led to our decision not to pursue plans for Rayburn Wind Farm any further.
“Although we can’t promise that the site near Rayburn Lake will never be the subject of a wind farm application in the future, we can confirm that RES and BT will not be challenging the local decision about our proposed five turbine scheme.”
Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick Anne-Marie Trevelyan, whose Netherwitton home is close to where the turbines had been proposed, posted about the developers’ announcement on her Twitter feed.
She told The Journal: “There is a general relief in Netherwitton and Wingates that they have just decided to leave us alone for a while at least.
“It is a very stressful thing.”
RES claimed the turbines would have been capable of generating sufficient renewable electricity to meet the needs of more than 6,700 homes.
The scheme, it added, would also have delivered at least £2.6 million in social and economic benefits to the region during its lifetime.
RES had offered properties nearest the wind farm an annual discount of £165 off their electricity bills.
A spokeswoman added: “Based on other wind farms it has built, RES estimates that the development and construction of Rayburn Wind Farm would have injected around £1.4 million into the region’s economy through the use of local contractors, goods and related services, such as local accommodation.”
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