Further consultation for windfarm scheme

John Waters, of Ditchburn Action Group, at the consultation event at Eglingham Village Hall.
John Waters, of Ditchburn Action Group, at the consultation event at Eglingham Village Hall.

A planning application for nine more turbines to the north of Alnwick, creating what will be essentially the largest windfarm in England, is set to be submitted next month.

PNE Wind UK is behind the proposals for the Ditchburn project, which, if approved, would see another nine turbines erected to the south-west of the 28 existing windmills that make up the Middlemoor and Wandylaw windfarms to the west of the A1.

The German-owned company held two consultation events in September last year before returning this week to host another series of public exhibitions in Eglingham, South Charlton and Rennington.

The aim of the events was to provide an update on the plans following continued consultation, technical and environmental work over the last nine months ahead of a formal application being submitted to Northumberland County Council, expected to be at the end of July.

Members of the public were able to view an interactive 3D computer-generated model of the windfarm, visualisations of the proposal from key viewpoints and speak to the PNE project team to have their questions answered.

All of the information will be going on to the windfarm scheme’s website – www.ditchburnwindfarm.co.uk – and residents living near to the proposed site were sent a newsletter.

Ahead of the exhibitions, the firm’s project manager Megan Richardson said: “PNE Wind UK is pleased to be moving forward with our plans to develop Ditchburn windfarm.

“Since our first public exhibitions in September last year, we have progressed with our environmental and visual assessments of the site and have continued to keep members of the community updated through regular meetings with our community liaison group members.

“We are now able to present our updated plans to the community and look forward to hearing their views prior to submitting our application to Northumberland County Council.”

At Monday’s event in Eglingham, she explained that the turbine heights had been reduced by 1.5m from the original proposals to 125m-to-blade-tip following pre-application advice from the county council, making them the same as those at Middlemoor and Wandylaw.

Work has also taken place to clarify the access route to the site, which will use one of the access roads created for the Middlemoor project with all traffic entering from the northbound side of the A1 to avoid vehicles travelling through North Charlton.

However, the plans continue to cause grave concerns for many residents, as well as Eglingham Parish Council.

Speaking on Monday night, John Waters, of Ditchburn Action Group, emphasised that their message is ‘enough is enough’.

“We have got 28, it’s the biggest windfarm in England and putting another nine on just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Referring to the Government’s proposals to give local communities more powers to oppose onshore wind development, he added: “This isn’t marginal, it’s not up for debate.

“The parish is clearly saying no and the parish council is clearly saying ‘enough is enough’.

“We want them to listen to what local people want and what the Government wants.”