AN application for wind turbines in Tranwell is a step closer after a test mast for the site was given the green light.
But a campaign group is optimistic that the approval will not automatically lead to a windfarm getting the go-ahead, especially as the mast decision was far from unanimous.
The bid by Wind Ventures for the 70-metre-high equipment that will measure and monitor wind speeds and prevailing weather conditions was considered by Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee last week.
Six members voted in favour of the officers’ recommendation to approve the mast, which will be located on land at the former Tranwell Airfield, but two were against and there were three abstentions.
The authority received 16 letters of objection from local residents and another from Action for Rural Morpeth (ARM).
Their concerns included the principle of the development, the visual impact, the noise and the impact on nature conservation.
ARM member Steve Lloyd said: “We are right behind our Tranwell neighbours in their defence of yet another attack on our local environment.
“While we are disappointed that the met mast application has been approved, as this is obviously a funding trigger for future windfarm development, we are encouraged by repeated assurances made by our councillors that this decision in no way determines their future stance to subsequent wind turbine applications.
“We are increasingly confident that the tide is turning and that our representatives are ready to protect Morpeth’s rich heritage and environment.”
The campaign group was set up to oppose TNEI Services’ windfarm plans for a field between Molesden and the East and West Edington Farms, which is only about a mile north of Tranwell Airfield.
Last August, the committee granted planning permission for a test mast to be installed at the site, albeit by only one vote.
Wind Ventures will be allowed to have the test mast in place for a maximum period of three years.