Community prepares to take on new turbine fight
ANOTHER campaign against a windfarm on the edge of Morpeth looks likely after plans for one on the former Tranwell Airfield were made official.
Wind Ventures has made an application for four turbines up to 126metres-to-tip height that would provide an estimated annual electricity generation of 18,347 Megawatt hours per year in order to power more than 6,000 homes.
It says that the project would help to meet Northumberland’s renewable energy targets and provide funds for the community.
But concerns have been raised about the windfarm’s impact on people living in the parishes of Whalton, Stannington and Mitford.
The site is in the Ponteland East ward of county councillor Eileen Armstrong and she urged residents to view the plans and make comments to the authority’s planning officers.
She said: “The prospect of this windfarm being built is causing concern in the community. In my opinion, it will be intrusive on the landscape and dominate the skyline and there are noise issues for those who live near the site.
“We need more renewable energy, but windfarms should be located in places where they don’t have such a major negative impact on hundreds of residents.
“Both myself and the parish councils are currently raising awareness of this application and I hope that people in these areas take the time to view the plans and write to or email the county council if they have concerns.”
If they get the go-ahead, the turbines would be in the Whalton boundary and after meeting on Tuesday night, its parish council will lodge a formal objection.
Vice Chairman Sue Richardson said: “The nature of the site means that there is nothing on the landscape to interrupt the view of the imposing wind turbines.
“We will be going door-to-door and displaying information in the village hall to make people aware of what is happening.
“The windfarm will have an impact on other areas as well and hopefully these residents will put forward their views to the county council so we can show the strength of feeling against the application.”
Consultation events were held last summer and Wind Ventures said of those who expressed a view, 45 per cent were in favour of the project.
The company’s supporting planning statement states that the proposal should be regarded as an acceptable form of development and in comparison with some other wind energy proposals, it presents a more straightforward opportunity to provide renewable energy because it is located on a former airfield site.
It adds: ‘National planning policy is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, which sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable development. The Tranwell Airfield windfarm is one such proposal.
‘The key development management policy relevant is RE2 – Renewable Energy of the Castle Morpeth District Local Plan. The proposed development has been assessed against the criteria set out in the policy in this statement on a topic-by-topic basis.
‘The applicant is satisfied that the proposal will not give rise to unacceptable effects upon the environment or to local residents and meets the principal policy tests.’
Project Manager Adrian Butler said: “The turbines will produce electricity for local properties and help Northumberland to meet the renewable energy target set by the Government.
“It will also boost the local economy as we plan to use businesses from the area for the construction works.”
Local residents believe a bid for a windfarm by TNEI Services between Molesden and the East and West Edington Farms, which is about a mile north of Tranwell Airfield, could be lodged within the next 12 months.
Last week, Energiekontor UK’s plans for five turbines at a field to the north of Fenrother near Longhorsley were thrown out by Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee.
Members backed recommendations from officers that the scheme should be refused on grounds of significant and unacceptable impact on the character of the local landscape, greenbelt extension, Northumberland National Park and residential amenity, as well as insufficient information on noise and archaeological matters, the potential effect on the safe operation of Newcastle Airport and a Ministry of Defence radar, and the cumulative impact of turbines in the area.
The application attracted the largest number of representations of any scheme ever put before the committee, with 1,647 letters of objection submitted and 784 in support
The Tranwell Airfield windfarm proposal can be viewed at the relevant county council offices, telephone 01670 627040 for more information, and at www.northumberland.gov.uk (in the planning application search box, type Tranwell Airfield).
The consultation expiry date is Saturday, February 9.
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Weather for Morpeth
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west