WINDFARMS: Subsidies are essential to maintain accessibility

Wind farm
Wind farm

I see that the writer from Moorcroft raises the question of jobs from the development of wind turbines.

Middlemoor was in the ownership of my husband until 1950 when it was sold with North Charlton to raise capital to modernise the rest of the cottages on the Harehope Estate, which is the reason I know about the geography of this hill.

The electorate from Hagdon North all go to Chillingham, not Eglingham, to vote being in the former district of Berwick not Alnwick. Only Harehope Hall and Harehope Farm are in Eglingham and Alnwick.

It might be of historic interest for the readers to know that the inhabitants of Middlemoor were found dead after the winter of 1947 when the hill was closed off by snow for many weeks.

In the last 40 years, it has become extremely difficult for farmers to make a living in the uplands of Britain and that has been a major reason for the farming subsidies from the Common Market.

Why would it be important to keep agriculture on the uplands?

Well it is recognised that the hills are a popular and important area for tourism. In order for them to be open, it is necessary to reduce the vegetation to allow access.

It is impossible to mow the uplands – imagine trying to take machinery over the hills of Wales, Scotland or the Lake District.

It is important for this ground to be grazed and that is best done with sheep and cattle, adding to our meat supply.

I have seen in Italy where inheritance has removed farmers from hills above the coast at San Remo and first there is growth of small wild plants and for a short time birds and insects do well but then the land becomes overgrown with coarse plants which cause the flora of interest to disappear.

Now the ground is un-walkable.

Access to the uplands is open to the population from the towns by law. It is a fact that this form of farming is not economically productive for farmers and, as a result, subsidies have been giving that part of their income. If it is important for them to manage they need other finances from their farms.

An important help to keep the hills open is the production of alternative energy.

This can only happen from wind or sun. In the last 10 years, a very important part of the income for hill usage has come from the wind companies with government encouragement to save fossil fuels.

The windmill companies provide an important addition for the living on the hills of this county. It is all very well for urban workers to come into the countryside but they surely cannot want people in the rural areas to have a lesser standard of living.

My husband was always pointing out at a national level that farming must be prosperous to maintain the beauty of the countryside that city people want. There can be no flora and fauna otherwise.

I am a daughter of London, but since I came to the Borders I have learnt to appreciate all they have to offer.

Anne Wrangham

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