Villagers divided over amended windfarm plans

One of two wind turbines , seen from the A63, Howden to Selby road, is pictured  near pylons that are carrying electricty  from nearby power stations.''picture mike cowling dec 4th
One of two wind turbines , seen from the A63, Howden to Selby road, is pictured near pylons that are carrying electricty from nearby power stations.''picture mike cowling dec 4th

WIDDRINGTON windfarm plans have received a mixed response from residents.

Novera Energy held two public exhibitions last week to show its latest proposals for the Sisters site to the west of Widdrington Village, before a formal application is submitted in the spring.

The scheme has been amended from original plans, which proposed five turbines, each 140metres tall, to instead provide four turbines, each of 126m.

However, the community is still divided on the proposal, with 77 feedback forms showing 45 per cent of respondents in support, 32 per cent against and 23 per cent undecided or not answering the question.

At the Widdrington Station exhibition at the Area Training and Activity Centre on Thursday, there was a mix of views.

Stobswood resident Jacek Juszczyk said: “I think it is a great idea — the more the merrier in my opinion. I have seen windfarms in Yorkshire and the more of these the better.

“The only negative point is that it might encourage tourism and I don’t really want that because this is a nice quiet part of the country.”

He added that the proposals would be preferable to plans by Banks Mining for a new opencast site to the south of Widdrington Station.

“I would rather have a windfarm any day. It can be quite beautiful as opposed to a great big hole in the ground,” he said.

Resident Brenda Fordy-Scott said: “Personally, I would like to make the turbines more of a feature.

“If we are going to have them, we are on the coastal route so let’s be proud of them.”

Widdrington Station and Stobswood parish councillor Jacqueline Bexfield also welcomed the scheme.

“I think it is great. I’m not too bothered about the height and I think the community turbine idea is good,” she said.

However, others had concerns.

Gordon Emmerson, of Widdrington Station, said: “I have been asking questions about the impact on the radar at RAF Boulmer and the noise.

“The turbines are quite high — they are about the same height as the power station at Lynemouth, and when you look at the new ones at Cramlington you can see them for miles, they are enormous.

“I haven’t really decided what I think yet, but I don’t think wind power is the answer.”

Mike Jarvis, also from Widdrington Station, said: “I’m a bit concerned about the noise and how visible they are going to be from our property. I also want to find out what impact they will have on house prices.

“I don’t have anything against the construction of them, but I do feel they are probably too close to residential areas in this scheme.”

And a 75-year-old local woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m not happy at all because of the impact and the noise. We are going to end up with a windfarm in front and an opencast behind.

“What is that going to do to our houses and the possibility of selling them?”

There were also concerns at the Widdrington Village exhibition in the WI Hall on Friday.

Residents’ Association Chairman Dale Page said: “From a personal view, I think the turbines are far too close to the village.

“We are talking about 700m, but if you look at Germany there are guidelines where large turbines have to be more than 1km away from residential areas, and in some of the federal states they are talking about a 2km distance because of ultra low frequency noise.

“The other aspect is the visual impact. We have seen the outcry the two turbines in Cramlington have caused and obviously this is a similar scheme right in the middle of the Druridge Bay area.”

Villager Bob Tweddle added: “When you see the ones in Cramlington, which are a fraction of the size of these ones, these are going to be ten times worse. They are just too close to the village.

“We’re pretty sick with all the opencast we’ve had, and the carry on with the burial site for foot and mouth. Everything is dumped on us.”

Fellow villager Enid Pullan said: “I don’t like the turbines at all. They are intrusive, ugly and they ruin the countryside wherever they go.

“It is proven over and over again that they are inefficient. They don’t work in the snow or when it is too cold.

“The danger is what happens when four are built — are we going to get more?

“It is a waste of public money.

“The opencast plans will have a huge impact on the other side of the village, but at least that is short term. These turbines will be here until I’m gone.”

Eric Souter, from Widdrington Station, said: “I think it is diabolical. We are trying to sell our house and if a windfarm goes up we will have no chance.

“I don’t think there are any other turbines of this size right in the middle of two villages.

“We can see the sea and up to Amble from our house at the moment, but this is going to be a blot on the landscape. These things don’t even produce much energy.”

However, Richard Scott, from Stobswood, took a different view.

“I think it is a good idea,” he said.

“This is a lot less intensive than what we have had to put up with in the past from opencasting. After a while you won’t even see the turbines because you will be so used to them.

“They could have been higher, but Novera has reduced the height and now there will only be four instead of five.

“They will be there for a long time, but it is not a hardship compared to what people in this area have already had.”

Alan Butland, of South Broomhill, said: “I have only recently moved to the area so I’m just taking the opportunity to look at the arguments and I’m hoping to find out more about it.”