Ministers hear wind farm concerns

The impact of wind farms on the landscape of Northumberland is to be discussed by MPs at Westminster.
Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick, Alan Beith, has secured an Adjournment Debate on the issue for 14 March.
The debate comes after the government threw out plans for England's largest land-based wind farm in Cumbria.
Mr Beith said he was concerned that local people were not having enough of a say in the planning process for major wind farm projects.
Larger proposals
He said: "I am very concerned that there is no adequate process for considering the cumulative impact and assessing local opinion when applications are given over to the Department of Trade.
"I want to establish to what extent the DTI is working with local councils when larger wind farm proposals pass over to them.
"I also want to hear what ministers have to say about listening to the local people who will have to live with the DTI's decisions."
Several wind farm projects are being proposed for Northumberland, including a 14-turbine wind farm at Allerdean, south of Berwick.

National Trust opposes wind farm


By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor

Government plans to boost renewable energy will hit ano ther snag this week with the decision of Scotland’s largest conservation group to come out for the first time against a wind farm.
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which has 291,000 members, is objecting to an application to erect 17 turbines on Knoweside Hill, two and a half miles from Culzean Castle in Ayrshire.
Culzean, along with its adjoining country park, is the trust’s most popular attraction, visited by more than 200,000 people a year. It hosts the annual gala concert for the Burns An’ A’ That festival, and is likely to be involved in the 250th anniversary celebration of Robert Burns’s birth in 2009.
The trust believes the proposed £20 million wind farm will spoil the view from the castle and put off visitors. “This is the first time the trust has objected to a wind farm, as we generally support renewable energy developments,” regional director Michael Hunter told the Sunday Herald.
“The proposed wind farm could seriously harm the experience of visitors and the effect on Culzean could damage the tourism economy in Ayrshire as a whole,” he said. The trust estimates that the castle contributes £2m to £3m to the local economy every year.
According to Hunter, the government’s conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, is also “extremely concerned” and intends to object. He added: “We hope that by working with our partners we can protect Culzean’s heritage for future generations.”
The proposed wind turbines would reach 240 feet in height, higher than the Scott Monument in Edinburgh. The trust says they would be “highly visible” from the castle and would “destroy” its landscape setting – and has produced mock-up photos to make the point.
“If the wind farm were to be built, it would constitute the biggest adverse change to the setting of Culzean since the designed landscape was first laid out during the 18th century, and the greatest threat to its integrity,” the Trust argues.
An application for permission to build the wind farm has been lodged with South Ayrshire Council by the Banks Group, a mining and renewable energy company based in Durham. “We are meeting with the National Trust for Scotland to discuss any concerns they may have,” said a company spokesman. “We are confident that our application is environmentally acceptable, providing electricity from a renewable resource and providing benefits to the community.”
Over the next 25 years, the wind farm could provide £500,000 to help local people, the company pointed out. The height of the turbines had also been reduced from 300 to 240ft, following consultations with residents.
Wind farm companies insist they are committed to engaging with communities to agree schemes. “The fact that wind energy is supported by the vast majority of Scots shows how development to date has been welcomed throughout Scotland,” said Maff Smith, chief executive of the Scottish Renewables Forum.
A different view was taken by Dave Morris, director of Ramblers’ Association Scotland. “The threat of these giant turbines to Culzean demonstrates that nowhere is safe from their relentless spread,” he said. “It is yet another example of the squandering of our heritage through the government’s love affair with big energy companies.”
12 March 2006

Villagers Against Turbines Proposals

Source: The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Publication date: 2006-03-11

By Dave Black
Families in a conservation village have come out fighting against plans which could pave the way for a nine-turbine wind farm on their doorstep.
Residents and parish councillors in Longhirst near Morpeth have signalled strong opposition to moves by a green energy company to erect the 125m-high turbines north of the rural community.
RES UK ( one of the world's biggest renewable developers ( has earmarked the site at Blubbery (correct) Wood as suitable for a wind farm and wants to put up an 80m-high mast to carry out detailed wind tests.
On Tuesday, , Castle Morpeth councillors are expected to approve the application for the anemometer, despite objections from local people and parish councillors in Longhirst and nearby Hebron.
RES UK has also submitted an application to the borough council for a wind testing mast on land near the village of Netherwitton, and that will be considered by councillors next month.
The two sites are among the latest to be earmarked for wind power development at a time when a rash of applications could potentially result in more than 400 turbines being erected across the North- East.
Hertfordshire-based RES (Renewable Energy Systems), which already has 19 UK wind farms either completed or under construction, says the Longhirst and Netherwitton sites are potentially suitable for wind farms but require further testing.
Yesterday Longhirst Parish Council chairman Bob Jackson said the majority of local people had made it abundantly clear they were opposed to the test mast, and any subsequent application to put up nine turbines next to the village.
"We are totally in favour of wind-generated electricity, provided the turbines are suitably located, but we feel this is not a suitable location.
"We are opposed to the anemometer but we feel the council should also look at this in the round, because the mast would be a precursor to a potential wind farm."
Peter Coates, who lives at Broomhaugh near the proposed test mast site, said: "Our main concern is the proximity of these proposed turbines to houses.
"From the information we have, one turbine would be less than 1,000m from the nearest house, and that is just too close.
"We came here for peace and quiet and nine massive wind turbines is absolutely the last thing we want. They would be totally out of scale with the village."
British Horse Society supporter Gill Featonby, of Middle Moor Farm, Longhirst, said turbines at Blubbery Wood could affect local bridleways.
"We have had enough problems with the opencast at Butterwell for years and it would be nice to have a bit of peace."
A report to Castle Morpeth's development services committee says there are no valid planning reasons for refusing the test mast. Yesterday a council spokesman said it has also received a parish council objection to the proposed anemometer near Netherwitton.
RES UK communications officer Amy Hinks said: "We are still at the very early stages and we want to spend a few months assessing wind speeds and issues such as the impact on the environment and nearby villages."
Publication date: 2006-03-11