MP Guy Opperman urged to back Tranwell wind farm opposition

VILLAGERS fighting the latest bid to develop a wind farm in Northumberland are urging their local MP to be more strident in support of the protest campaign.

Campaigners against plans for a wind farm at Tranwell
Campaigners against plans for a wind farm at Tranwell

VILLAGERS fighting the latest bid to develop a wind farm in Northumberland are urging their local MP to be more strident in support of the protest campaign.

Guy Opperman said yesterday he has “reservations” about the plan to put up four turbines – each 126 metres tall – on the former RAF airfield at Tranwell, south of Morpeth.

The Conservative MP, whose Hexham constituency includes the disused airfield site, admitted the issue of wind farms is causing splits in Northumberland communities.

However, he has failed to voice his opposition to the application, by renewables firm Wind Ventures, to build the turbines at Tranwell.

Now he is being urged to “put his head above the parapet” and support his constituents’ objections to the scheme – the latest in a series of wind farm bids in the countryside surrounding Morpeth.

Wind Ventures wants to put up the turbines close to secluded Tranwell Woods housing estate.

People in Stannington, Whalton and Mitford have set up Tranwell Wind Farm Action Group (TWAG) to oppose the application.

About 100 people attended a public meeting in Stannington village hall on Thursday. Mr Opperman, and Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith were invited but wrote to say they could not attend.

Mr Opperman said: “I do have reservations about an application for four 126 metre turbines in this setting. I know there is a lot of concern in Stannington especially. I am on the record as being a big supporter of renewable energy. However, there is no question large onshore wind turbines, such as this application and the many others we have seen recently, are dividing communities.”

Karen Carins, who chairs Stannington parish council and is a leading member of TWAG, said there was disappointment at the response.

“What he has basically said is he can’t go either way because he supports renewable energy. We feel he is going to have to put his head above the parapet and say whether he supports the local residents, and think about the people who elected him.”

Thursday night’s meeting included county council planning department representatives and the Action for Rural Morpeth group.

Mrs Carins said: “It was an absolutely tremendous meeting and the next stage of the campaign is to carry on gathering as many objections as we can.”

Last night Wind Ventures said it has sought to engage with the local community and parish councils, and has had discussions with councillors.

A spokesman said: “Wind Ventures believes the site and proposed turbines offer an excellent opportunity to generate renewable electricity.”

An environmental statement has been submitted with the planning application, after assessments which the company claims show the effects of the proposal are acceptable. The spokesman said the Tranwell wind farm will provide enough energy for about 4,200 homes a year, and save 7,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Last night Wind Ventures said it has sought to engage with the local community and parish councils, and has had discussions with local county councillors.

A spokesman said: “Wind Ventures believes the site and proposed turbines offer an excellent opportunity to generate renewable electricity, and the proposal will make an important contribution towards renewable energy targets.”

An environmental statement has been submitted with the planning application, following a series of assessments which the company claims show that the effects of the proposal are acceptable. The spokesman said the Tranwell wind farm will provide enough energy for about 4,200 homes a year, and save 7,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

 
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