Criticism as council opts to create separate wind plan

Barmoor windfarm
Barmoor windfarm

Two campaign groups have criticised the county council’s decision to draw up a separate planning document for wind and other renewable energy developments, claiming it may be left out on a limb.

The Northumberland & Newcastle Society, with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has accused Northumberland County Council of a ‘perverse’ interpretation of government guidance.

As previously reported by the Gazette, the authority is looking to create a supplementary planning document (SPD) to provide further detail on the policies for renewable-energy developments in the emerging core strategy, which the Society is concerned means identifying suitable areas for windfarms or turbines. The Society’s legal and planning experts say that this should be left to neighbourhood plans.

However, a county council spokeswoman said: “There are no proposals to identify suitable areas for wind-turbine development in the proposed SPD. The purpose of the SPD is to provide further detail on the policy criteria in the core strategy.

“The current consultation is on a scoping document which seeks feedback on what the SPD should cover.

“It is proposed that work is done to assess whether there are any suitable areas for wind-turbine development in Northumberland. This area of work would be addressed through a separate development plan document and not an SPD and would be subject to public consultation.”