Renewable energy projects set for decisions

A photomontage of proposed wind turbines viewed from Widdrington. Part of the Blue Sky Forest project. The application submitted is for 13 turbines rated at 3MW each with a maximum height of 126.5m to blade tip.
A photomontage of proposed wind turbines viewed from Widdrington. Part of the Blue Sky Forest project. The application submitted is for 13 turbines rated at 3MW each with a maximum height of 126.5m to blade tip.

WINDFARM projects for Northumberland are moving a step closer with two bids going through the planning process.

An application has been submitted by Peel Energy for a 13-turbine windfarm between Widdrington and Hadston, while plans by Infinis for four 126-metre-high turbines at the Sisters site in Widdrington will be considered by Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee, which looks at major applications, on Tuesday.

The Widdrington Regeneration Partnership, which was formed by local residents, has backed Peel Energy’s plans for the 126.5-metre turbines, as part of the £200million Blue Sky Forest (BSF) project.

It would be the scheme’s first phase, installing the infrastructure for major leisure and tourism developments, including a golf course and a 300-bed hotel.

The applicant says it will reduce construction time for the rest of the project and save thousands of pounds in initial costs.

But not all are in favour.

Hadston resident Peter Kull, part of the Broomhill, Hadston and Togston Against Windfarms group, said the turbines would be a blot on the landscape, adding: “The wider BSF project includes a golf course, a hotel and a holiday village.

“Nobody in their right mind will come to a hotel or play golf where you have got thirteen 126.5-metre-high turbines.

“I’d like Northumberland County Council to put in a clause which says that you can’t start the wind turbines until other phases are in place because we don’t want it to be a white elephant.

“When this project came forward a few years ago there was no mention of wind turbines.”

Ward councillor for Chevington with Longhorsley Glen Sanderson said: “I am disappointed because most people are not fans of windfarms and the case has not been made for their efficiency and effectiveness.

“I did attend a drop-in session with the developers and asked for more information for the exact location of the turbines, but I am still waiting to receive that information so until I see the actual application, I can’t be more specific.”

Meanwhile, planning officers are recommending approval of the Infinis proposal, claiming that the potential benefits of clean, sustainable, renewable energy from a local source will outweigh any impact on landscape and residential amenity.

The bid has received 17 letters of support but 35 letters of objection, which raise issues including the need for the turbines, visual impact and scale, noise, health and tourism.