Residents at a Northumberland village are celebrating after a wind farm developer revealed it would not be appealing.
People at Belford have been told EnergieKontor UK (EK) will not be challenging Northumberland County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for nine turbines at Belford Burn.
The action group which fought the scheme has called the news “a major and historic victory for the democratic principle and the local community.”
The developer had hoped to put up 100m high turbines.
However, the county council’s planning and environment committee voted unanimously to refuse last October, as recommended by officers.
The developer had six months from the decision to lodge an appeal, with that period expiring last week.
And in an email to the council and the Middleton Burn Action Group (MBAG), project manager Michael Briggs said: “I can confirm that we have decided to not appeal this planning refusal within the statutory six month window.”
Reacting, action group vice chairman Kerry Noble said: “This is a major and historic victory for the democratic principle and the local community who have repeatedly returned a 98%+ objection throughout the planning process.
“MBAG would like to thank everyone concerned for their generosity in time and donations to bring about this tremendous outcome in saving our beautiful area from further turbine blight.
“We must not, however, become complacent. EK have a further six months to submit a revised application although we deem this unlikely.
“They have now felt the full force of an unexpected (to them!), locally led campaign of opposition.
“Any revised scheme will meet the same and the result would, almost certainly, produce a further refusal by the planning authority.
“An application by the Danish owned Air Farmers Ltd was also expected early in the new year for their huge (14 turbine) monstrosity at the adjacent Middleton Burn site.
“This has not materialised. Our thoughts are that they may have been awaiting the outcome of EK’s proposal.
“Let us hope that their investors will now see the, very real, likelihood that they would be throwing away their cash!
“We must also continue to monitor and fight the ‘windrush’ to build, so called, farm turbines.
“These ‘singleton’ applications are now all for giants of 100 metres+ in height.
“These are not to provide energy to the farm but to farm the huge subsidy that will, hopefully, soon be scrapped by any right minded government.”
When contacted by The Journal, Mr Briggs confirmed his company would not be appealing but declined to comment further.
Meanwhile, the county council has approved a request from a company which has permission for a wind farm at Widdrington to use bigger turbines.
Infinis, which has approval for the four turbine Sisters Wind Farm, has been given the go-ahead to use 126.5m generators rather than 126m.
That decision comes amid reports that a working group set up by the wind industry is calling for turbines of up to 200m to be allowed.
A spokeswoman at the Northumberland council said the authority does not specify a maximum height.
“Each application is considered on its merits, taking into account factors such as surrounding landscape, visual impact and aviation considerations etc.”
Meanwhile the authority is still investigating the impact of three successful judicial reviews of its decisions to grant planning permission for a single turbine at Brackenside near Berwick.
A spokeswoman said: “The investigation is nearing completion and we expect a report to be finalised during the next month or so. “Issues arising from the Brackenside judicial review have already been taken into account and measures put in place, particularly in relation to access to information, as part of the current review of planning.”
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