Hypocrisy accusation over windfarms

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THE Northumberland Conservative group has been accused of showing ‘more hypocrisy’ over the issue of windfarms.

It has been claimed by the county council’s Liberal Democrats, who make up the authority’s executive, that the proposal by Wind Ventures for four turbines at the former Tranwell Airfield is on land owned by Michael Jeans.

He is a former leader of the Tories on the county council and a former Castle Morpeth borough councillor.

At a meeting of the full council last September, when a motion by Conservative member Glen Sanderson to limit and manage the spread of onshore wind turbines by introducing restriction measures was defeated, reference was made to a planning application for a very large turbine on land owned by current county Conservative leader Peter Jackson.

This was rejected by members of the Planning and Environment Committee last winter.

Leader of the Lib Dems in Northumberland, Jeff Reid, said: “This is just typical of the Conservatives’ attitude to windfarms in the county.

“It’s getting to the stage now where it’s not even a shock when another one is outed as trying to have them developed on their land. Why should people trust the Conservatives on this, or indeed any other issue, if so many of their senior politicians are going to do the exact opposite of what they’re campaigning for?”

He added that this would be particularly embarrassing to the local Conservative MP Guy Opperman, who recently voiced his opposition to the proposal after discussions with the Tranwell Windfarm Action Group.

The group has been formed by residents living in the parishes of Meldon, Mitford, Stannington and Whalton.

They say the turbines would negatively dominate the landscape, be installed within a proposed extension to the green-belt, produce unacceptable noise levels and have an adverse impact on tourism.

A Conservative Party Spokesman said: “Mr Jeans has not been involved with the local Conservative Party for many years. Local county councillor Eileen Armstrong is working closely with residents who are concerned by this planning application and will continue to focus on getting the right result for the local area.

“Unfortunately, the Lib Dems are more interested in scoring points.”

Mr Jeans was unavailable for comment.