FEW issues – if any – are currently as divisive as windfarms when it comes to planning applications in the countryside.
There are strong cases made for and against turbines, whether they are the way forward in generating clean, sustainable energy, or a monumental and inefficient blight on our high-value landscape.
If we leave those arguments aside and look at the developments themselves, we see that Northumberland is by far leading the way when it comes to the sheer number of installations lined up in the coming months and years.
We have already hit the Government’s target for renewables by 2020 – nine years ahead of that deadline. In north Northumberland, 20 developments for 146 turbines are in the pipeline, seven of which have been given consent.
But we could soon be nearing the 2060 benchmark, should all the outstanding applications be granted. This raises an important question, which will no doubt fire heated debate on both sides.
Should we be proud, as Northumbrians, to be pioneering the drive for a greener future? Should we embrace change and lead the rest of Britain by example?
Or are we being pushed to go above and beyond the call of duty by speculative developers, whose driving ambition is to make a quick profit from an extremely lucrative industry, fattened by substantial Government subsidy?
One thing is for sure – turbines are now springing up across our county at a rate of knots and more will undoubtedly follow.