Campaigners fear wind farm surge in Northumberland

CAMPAIGNERS have voiced their alarm following the publication of a map of potential wind farms in the North East.

CAMPAIGNERS have voiced their alarm following the publication of a map of potential wind farms in the North East.

Bill Short, who has opposed turbine developments in Northumberland, has spoken of his concerns at an apparent “pox” of possible developments, having studied a document released by Newcastle International Airport last week.

His comments come as airport bosses revealed they have been approached about 250 wind farm proposals for the region in the last five years, most of which are for Northumberland.

Mr Short’s views have been backed by the Campaign for Responsible Energy Development in Tynedale (Credit) , which has fought several wind developments in that area. Airport bosses released their Radar Blanking Strategy on Tuesday, in which they detail investment in new technology which will modify radar display and essentially block out wind farms on air traffic control screens.

The move is expected to give the region’s growing renewable energy sector a boost.

Included in the strategy is a map which details existing and proposed wind farms, with the latter indicated by yellow spots.

The document shows scores of proposed turbine schemes across the region, with many of those in Northumberland.

Having studied it, Mr Short, a retired teacher from Kirkwhelpington, has expressed his concerns at the sheer number of proposals on the table, which he fears organisations in the region will not be able to cope with.

He said: “The diagrams supplied by the airport clearly demonstrate the problem we face in the North East.

“An absolute pox of yellow spots.

“This is not responsible development, it is a blitzkreig attack upon the planning system. It is designed to overwhelm local organisations.

“To an extent it has succeeded.”

Credit told The Journal it “fully endorses” Mr Short’s comments.

The airport’s strategy reveals that its map is largely based on the number of wind farm proposals for the region on which it has been consulted in the last five years.

It states: “Since 2005, Newcastle International Airport has received over 250 wind farm consultations.

“While this covers the entire safeguarding region, the majority of these consultations are in Northumberland.

“Figure 3 (the map) shows those schemes where sufficient information is available.

“As can be seen, should all schemes go ahead without mitigation then the impact on the airspace, particularly to the north of the airport, would be severe.”

As part of the short term wind farm strategy Newcastle Airport unveiled last week, bosses have said a limited number of sites for wind turbines would be allowed.

The most hopeful estimates have put that number at between ten and 15.

Mr Short has meanwhile welcomed and endorsed the publication of the strategy, but questioned why work which should have been carried out by developers has been largely funded by the public purse.

He quotes government planning policy which states developers should address any impacts on radar before submitting planning applications.

It also says local authorities should be satisfied that such impacts have been addressed before considering applications.

Mr Short said: “What is annoying is that substantial amounts of public money have been required to do what clearly was the responsibility, by government policy, of the developers.”

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