Turbines plan for Tranwell

PLANS have been revealed for a windfarm on the western edge of Morpeth — within a mile of another proposed turbine site.

Wind Ventures is currently assessing the suitability of the former Tranwell Airfield to accommodate a four-turbine windfarm with a maximum height of 126metres to blade tip.

It says that the project would help to meet Northumberland’s renewable energy targets and provide funds for the community.

But the announcement comes on the back of a decision by the county council’s Planning and Environment Committee in August to grant planning permission for a test mast in a field between Molesden and the East and West Edington Farms, which is only about a mile north of Tranwell Airfield.

TNEI Services is currently collecting detailed data there and an application for a windfarm on that site is expected.

Earlier this year, Infinis’ application for six 110m-high turbines near Longhorsley was granted.

Ulgham county councillor David Towns, whose ward includes both proposed sites, said: “While I do believe that windfarms are part of a bigger solution to our energy needs, I am quite concerned about the cumulative effect of a number of proposed and approved windfarms in the Morpeth area.

“Tranwell Airfield is not a remarkably beautiful site and it is not close to a particularly large or dense area of housing, but the proposed turbines are not far from another proposed windfarm along the Whalton Road.

“This could lead to around 20 wind turbines within a small area outside Morpeth, and I think we need to consider all applications in conjunction with neighbouring proposed or existing sites in order to ensure the cumulative effect on small rural communities is properly taken into account.

“I also doubt that the residents of Gubeon Woods will welcome this proposal, but we will all have to wait and see exactly what is being planned.”

Wind Ventures, a specialist developer of onshore wind farms in the UK, has reached an agreement with the land owner. As well as assessing the site, it is in discussions with the county council to establish what any planning application and environmental assessment would have to cover. A bid for a temporary wind monitoring mast will be submitted soon.

Project Developer Daniel Baird said: “There are a lot of scare stories flying around about windfarms, but we see them as a benign development if they are put in the right place.

“Everything we have found so far suggests Tranwell Airfield is a good site for wind turbines, but if the independent consultants find something which no longer makes it appropriate then we will not make an application.

“If we decide to go ahead with the project, we will hold at least one public consultation event and all comments made will be taken into account.

“In schemes such as this, a certain amount of money would be set aside for the benefit of the local community and it would be residents who decide how the funds should be spent.”

He added that once the wind mast application has been verified by the council and its scoping request has received a reference number, more information will be posted on its website, www.windventures.co.uk