Proposal for masts could lead to 100 turbine windfarm

Plans have been submitted to erect four masts in Kielder Forest which could pave the way for a windfarm.

RWE nPower Renewables has submitted plans to site four 90-metre temporary anemometer masts in an arc from Catcleugh Reservoir to Comb, to collect techonological information about wind at Kielder Forest.

The masts are to be in place for three years to collect the necessary data before being removed.

But it is thought that they could lead to an application for a full windfarm in the area.

Five years ago, the Regional Spatial Strategy – which committed the North East to meeting a target of 20 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2020 – highlighted windfarm development at Kielder Forest as an essential component.

Depending on the information which is collected from the masts, a windfarm could be sited in Kielder Forest with potentially up to 100 turbines.

But one windfarm campaigner, Bill Short, said it might not be a bad thing.

Mr Short is not against windfarms but wants them in the right location.

He said: “In some ways this might be a good one.

“I am not wholly against windfarms, I just want to see them in the right place.

“But at least they are talking to us about this one.

“We won’t know how big it is going to be until they have collected all their figures but it could be quite big.

“There is 50 sqkm of land, it could potentially be the biggest windfarm in England.

“If it is put in the forest, and providing it is well away from Northumberland National Park, it might not be too bad.

“Northumberland National Park is the largest area of tranquility in England and if it is placed close to there it could damage it.”

No date has yet been given for when the plans will be decided on by Northumberland County Council.