Successful appeal opens the door to more turbines

Middlemoor wind farm, just north of Alnwick.
Middlemoor wind farm, just north of Alnwick.

Land north of Alnwick could become home to one of the largest collections of turbines in the UK, following a succesful appeal by a wind-energy company.

Edinburgh-based PNE WIND UK Limited has won its appeal to erect an 80-metre temporary meteorological mast on agricultural land near Eglingham.

The mast at Ditchburn, on land north of Beatrice Wood and south of Hagdon, was turned down by the county council’s planning and environment committee in November, against office advice.

But the company’s appeal has been upheld, with planning inspector George Baird concluding that ‘the meteorological mast would result in additional infrastructure into the open rural landscape and would result in some limited harm to the openness of the moorland landscape’, but ‘that impact would not be permanent’ and the ‘limited adverse consequences’ would be mitigated by the fact that it was for the development of renewable energy.

The met mast is expected to be a precursor to a nine-turbine windfarm application on the site, which would essentially appear as an extension of the existing Middlemoor and Wandylaw sites.

If the Ditchburn bid were approved, it would result in a total of 37 turbines in the area.

Laura Jeffrey, PNE WIND UK project development manager, said: “This is PNE WIND UK’s first project in Northumberland and we are very pleased that we now have permission to erect the temporary meteorological mast which will gather wind data at the site for up to five years.

“When we have gathered sufficient wind data, the mast will be decommissioned and removed from the site, with the ground reinstated.

“This is the beginning of the planning consultation process for us and over the next year we will ensure that the communities closest to the site are kept fully informed and consulted about all aspects of the Ditchburn windfarm project, which will investigate the feasibility of up to nine wind turbines on the site.”