Bishop blasts turbines

A SENIOR church figure has urged extreme caution over windfarm approvals in Northumberland.

The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Martin Wharton, says he has visited the county frequently over the summer and has been alarmed at the increasing number of turbines that are disfiguring the countryside.

The Bishop said he has seen no evidence to suggest that windfarms will ever provide the energy required by society and they may even increase CO2 emissions.

He said: “It is a basic Christian truth that we all have a duty and a responsibility to care for and exercise wise stewardship over God’s creation, which has been entrusted to us. Our countryside needs to be protected and preserved for ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren as a place of refreshment and renewal for the spiritual health and wellbeing of us all.

“The danger is that in parts of Northumberland our landscape is becoming marred and disfigured and turned into one industrial site after another.”

He added: “In an area with such spectacular views and landscapes, the planning authority needs to take the greatest care over further applications which are now coming forward.

“We are blessed to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty. We enjoy wonderful physical and spiritual heritage in the land of the Northern saints. Is now not the time to say ‘enough’ to any further blots on our landscapes? Please remember above all that ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and all that fills it’.”

Northumberland County Council Leader Grant Davey said: “The Bishop of Newcastle has made some fair observations and our approach to this issue is to create as many opportunities for communities to shape planning decisions. It’s clear we need an up to date view from government on how wind farms will fit into the national energy mix.”