Windfarm worries are taken to the PM

CONCERNS about windfarms in Northumberland have been taken direct to the Prime Minister.

Northumberland Conservative Leader Peter Jackson, whose group has been pressing for a tougher county council stance on turbine applications, raised the issue with David Cameron at a meeting in Newcastle on Thursday.

He said: “I explained to the Prime Minister the dire effects that the increasing number of large-scale wind turbines was going to have on the unspoilt countryside of Northumberland, with the latest example being near Morpeth at Tranwell. It is clear that our county is taking more than its fair share of these industrial machines.

“I did question whether there was any economic benefit from the wind turbines and stressed that those who were in fuel poverty were actually having to pay the price for them. I did ask the Prime Minister specifically to review the subsidy system that was encouraging so much development.”

Mr Cameron said that reviews will be published in the summer looking at the future costs of the technology and how communities can have more say over windfarm development.

Coun Jackson said: “In Northumberland, Conservative councillors have been pressing for some time for far stricter local planning controls, including the introduction of separation distances from other properties, the consideration of cumulative impact and now suggesting that developers should have to put down a bond to ensure that sites are properly cleared.

“Our next target is to persuade national government to dramatically reduce levels of subsidy.”

Coun Glen Sanderson, who first called for minimum separation distances and is supporting objectors to turbines in Fenrother and Tranwell, said: “There really is a situation now where so many different groups of people are being forced to take action and spend massively in order to protect and defend their countryside against what has become a dash for cash by windfarm developers. It is a sad state of affairs that we are in this position.

“It is such a shame that this is now such a divisive issue and it tends to cause real problems within communities and an awful lot of worry.

“That is why I’m glad that the Prime Minister has been made aware of the issues.”