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Energy giant E.ON confirms withdrawal of The Isles wind farm scheme near Sedgefield

Energy giant E.ON has today (January 21) confirmed it has withdrawn its application for the controversial Isles wind farm in County Durham.

The company cited a number of reasons for pulling the plug on its plans for the 24-turbine development near Sedgefield and Newton Aycliffe – which it said had become “technically and economically” unviable.

Scaled back from 45 turbines in 2012, the proposed scheme would have resulted in the renewable energy site spread across two areas close to the A1 motorway.

A spokesperson for E.ON said: “During a detailed review of the project a number of long standing environmental and technical issues have been re-assessed.

“These include the long-standing objection from the Ministry of Defence, the high level of bird activity on the site, investor uncertainty and changes to Planning Law.

“While onshore wind remains one of the cheapest low carbon technologies available, the Isles Wind Farm project has been affected by a number of objections, since it was submitted to Durham County Council in April 2013 and is no longer technically or economically viable.”

The move to withdraw the application, which was revealed by The Northern Echo this morning, was met with delight by campaigners who have been fighting their cause for about six years.

Sue Fox, Bradbury resident and member of The Isles Community Turbine Action Campaign (Tictac), said: “We’ve had a really mixed bag of emotions – there is a lot of happiness and joy, but also an element of frustration that it’s taken so long when right at the beginning we said it was not a suitable area.

“The overriding emotion is pride because they underestimated the community. We learned everything we needed to and if we hadn’t done, they would have built it two years ago. We had the community behind us.”

She and other campaigners believe the Government’s cuts to energy subsidies had a ‘major’ role in the decision to withdraw.

MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson, who has backed campaigners since the outset, welcomed what he called the “excellent news”.

“County Durham has a proud record for renewable energy,” he said. “We’ve done our bit in allowing wind farm developments in the county and I thought this particular wind farm was just a step too far.”

He said the main concern was the cumulative impact of wind farm developments in the county, adding he was not against such renewable energy sites.