Campaigners have called on a North council to “urgently” heed the latest national planning guidance on wind farms, and exercise its obligation to “conserve our historic and unique environment.”
The Northumberland and Newcastle Society, which campaigns to protect the region’s environment, has issued the plea to Northumberland County Council amid alarm at the damage it says is being done to the county’s cherished landscape by rising numbers of turbines.
The group has called on the authority to urgently act on the latest national planning guidance, which says local authorities should set out where turbines might be sited so as not to harm residential amenity or the county’s heritage.
The council last night said it will be heeding the guidance, and working with the society and others “in developing policies which support the delivery of renewable energy in a way which is compatible with the county’s communities and its most valued landscapes.”
The society said: “The coast is now dominated by the Middlemoor/Wandylaw turbine complex, inland from Dunstanburgh, 15 giant turbines at Lynemouth and three more at Blyth. Another 13 massive industrial turbines have been consented just inland from Druridge Bay near Widdrington, with eight more waiting to be built at Blyth and Lynemouth. In the light of the damage that has already been done, the society urgently wishes to draw attention to the Belford Burn application for nine 100m turbines high on the escarpment above Belford.
“This proposal brings the turbine blight of Northumberland’s coastal landscape closer to Bamburgh and Holy Island and risks further damage to North Northumberland’s vital tourist industry.
“Had robust planning policy been in place this scheme would never have reached the stage of an application for planning permission.
“We call on Northumberland County Council to exercise their obligation to conserve our historic and unique environment and urgently explore the possibilities raised by this guidance.” A council spokeswoman said: “We will be using the recent Government guidance to inform the preparation of the local development plan.
“We will continue to work with the Northumberland and Newcastle Society and other stakeholders in developing policies which support the delivery of renewable energy in a way which is compatible with the county’s communities and its most valued landscapes.”