Case for new windfarms ‘is not proven’

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A COUNTY councillor says he has serious concerns about plans for another windfarm near his patch.

The Herald reported last month that renewable energy company RES had teamed up with telecommunications provider BT to put forward plans for five turbines, 127m tall, near Netherwitton.

The area, about 2.5km south of Wingates, falls into the Rothbury ward represented by Coun Steven Bridgett, but with changes to boundaries for the May elections it will come under the Longhorsley area, which is currently represented by Coun Glen Sanderson.

The Longhorsley member says he has several concerns about the plans, including highways issues in his current area.

“If I win the election this will be in my division, but it would affect the Longhorsley area in any case and that is a major issue for me now,” he said.

“I have seen all the problems with the windfarm at Wingates and all the damage, disruption and inconvenience it has caused on the roads, and there is a big question mark about who is going to pick up the bill for the damage. Further construction traffic would be a nightmare.

“I have great misgivings about any further development that would use the roads in my current ward.”

Coun Sanderson has previously spoken of the need for a tougher planning policy on windfarms, including setting minimum separation distances between turbines and homes.

He said: “I still am firmly of the view that onshore windfarms should be subject to much tougher planning policy in Northumberland and I know we are now finally progressing to look at firming up this through the Core Strategy.

“The overwhelming majority of residents in my area tell me that they don’t want any more windfarms in this part of the county and I agree with them.

“I don’t think the case is proven at all for any more windfarms and I would need to be convinced that there is a need for further development of any kind there. That is the view I would take until I am convinced otherwise.”