Objectors to a six-turbine windfarm development say that the level of public opposition to the scheme is clear to see – after nearly 95 per cent of residents voted against it. Major company EDF Energy Renewables has recently bought the Barmoor windfarm project from Duke Energy and Statkraft UK Limited.
Earmarked for land between Ford and Lowick, the contentious scheme is for the construction of 110-metre-tall windmills.
Last Thursday, during an open day hosted by the company in Lowick, objectors held a poll to gauge public opinion to the windfarm.
Out of the 214 people who gave their feedback, a staggering 203 said they were not in favour of the development, which was given permission on appeal in 2010 after the Government overturned Berwick Borough Council’s original refusal of the application.
Six people said they were in favour of the turbines, while five were undecided.
Andrew Joicey, from the organisation SOUL (Save Our Unspoiled Landscape), which represented the local community throughout the planning process, said: “This result confirms that local feeling against this windfarm has actually increased since 2005, when SOUL was asked by a large majority at a public meeting to oppose the planning application on behalf of the local community.
“An overwhelming majority of local people is clearly still opposed to this windfarm.
“This development will be too close to houses, will be damaging to many rural interests, is extremely unpopular with the local community, and will create no benefit sufficient to justify that damage.”
The site was developed by Force 9 Duke Energy and Statkraft UK Limited before EDF bought the project. It is finalising construction plans.
EDF Energy Renewables has vowed to create a community benefit fund from the Barmoor turbines, with the promise of pumping tens of thousands of pounds into the area each year.
The company has said that once the fund is established, the windfarm will annually pay in £5,000 per megawatt over the development’s anticipated two-decade lifespan.
This will provide a dedicated fund of £60,000 each year to support local initiatives, activities and events.
The company intends to consult with local parish councils and other groups about how to best administer the fund for Barmoor.
Matthieu Hue, from EDF, said: “Funds such as the one we’re setting up for Barmoor can make a real difference to those living and working near our sites.
“We are looking forward to discussing with local people how best to administer this fund. After all they’re the ones who will know best how the fund might be put to best use.”