Hundreds say no to controversial turbines scheme

MORE than 90 per cent of people voted against the controversial scheme for 16 125-metre turbines, according to an exit poll organised by Middleton Burn Action Group.

The group held the poll, which saw 93.6 per cent of respondents reject the plans, as part of its exhibition held at the same time as the company behind the scheme, Air Farmers Ltd, held its own in Belford.

After seeing the presentation at the Bell View Resource Centre last Thursday, 250 people voted against, 10 voted in favour, while seven remained undecided.

Chris Leyland, a farmer in the area and one of the exit poll organisers, said: “We were never in any doubt that most people were against this scheme but the level of opposition shows just what a shocker people think it is.

“What upset people most is that this company thinks we can be fobbed off with a sculpture trail or some other cheap gimmick funded from the derisory amounts they propose paying in so-called community funds.

“These aren’t even part of the planning process, but Air Farmers devoted two large exhibition panels to the subject.

“The key issue is building a large number of massive industrial turbines smack bang next to St Cuthbert’s Cave, next to St Cuthbert’s Way and overlooking Holy Island.”

Martin Straker, another action group volunteer, said: “The so-called ‘exhibition’ was really just a PR exercise.

“Many people were very critical of the selective and misleading information they used.

“Nearly everybody we talked to commented on the way that impacts on the heritage coast, and Holy Island in particular, were downplayed.

“The photomontages they used were designed by their own consultants to be printed as A3 images, but the exhibition versions were half the recommended size.”

The Middleton Burn Ltd project is currently in the pre-application stage with discussions taking place with Northumberland County Council.