Duke: We don’t have to ruin landscape

The Duke of Northumberland with Northumberland Estate's clerk of works Graham Caygill and Hannah Forbes, senior process engineer at Mott MacDonald Ltd at the launch of the CHP project.
The Duke of Northumberland with Northumberland Estate's clerk of works Graham Caygill and Hannah Forbes, senior process engineer at Mott MacDonald Ltd at the launch of the CHP project.

RENEWABLE energy doesn’t have to ruin the landscape or divide communities, the Duke of Northumberland has told an audience at the official unveiling of plans to create a pioneering £6million power plant for Alnwick.

But in his speech to guests, including representatives from the business community and local councils, he also said he didn’t believe that global warming could be tackled without the need for nuclear power.

The Duke was at Hotspur Court Business Park yesterday to reveal his design for a trail-blazing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant at neighbouring Lionheart Industrial Estate.

Using cutting-edge technology, it has the potential to put the town at the forefront of renewable energy production in the North East, by using woodchip from sustainable sources on his estate to produce around one megawatt of green electricity per annum – enough to power between 1,500 and 1,800 homes.

Plans have already been submitted to Northumberland County Council, which also include the relocation of the Estates’ sawmill operation to the site on the south side of town.

But in his address, the Duke said: “Whether we do or don’t accept man’s responsibility for the present global warming phase, I do believe that we should be cleaning up the environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our dependancy on fossil fuels, without ruining our landscape and dividing our rural communities with endless, inefficient wind turbines.

“I personally don’t believe that this can be achieved without nuclear power, but I think that relatively small-scale plants like this one I present to you today, can play a significant role and demonstrate that the Estate and local community are serious about contributing to a solution.”

At the same time, Northumberland Estates plans to relocate its sawmill to the same site, bringing the two operations together.