Fair wind for turbines

PLANS to build a three-turbine windfarm at Wingates are recommended to be approved next week.

Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee will decided on BT’s plans for the 121-metre-high structures on land at Wingates Moor.

And the company’s head of renewables, Rob Williams, is hopeful that their hard work and planning over the last two years will help towards the decision.

Mr Williams said: “We have worked with officers, talked to them and listened to concerns and responses.

“Hopefully they will realise that we have made the effort to find something which balances the inevitable impact and the benefits.”

The turbines will create enough electricity for all of BT’s operations in Northumberland.

“It is a really important step for us,” he said. “What we hope is that members see it in that light. We employ 3,700 people in the North East and we are looking to provide our own energy sources. We have seen our energy prices rise by some 80 per cent in the last three years. We want to fix our energy costs for the long term.”

He added that the company was looking at another site at East Wingates, but after consultation, irrespective of the outcome of next week’s application, there will be no development there by BT.

As part of the scheme BT will also be upgrading broadband at 200 homes in Wingates, Longhorsley and Netherwitton.

The site has also been moved further away from Wingates village and 50 metres lower than Wingates ridge.

It will look like one windfarm blending in with the Inifinis development which has already been approved.

After year five of the scheme a community fund will also be set up.

It will be decided on Tuesday night at County Hall.