Developer flies blimps to allay fears over turbine project in Northumberland

Wind farm developer RES has flown blimps to allay fears its proposed turbines would impact on the home of a would be MP in Northumberland

Micheal O'Broin RES Project Manager
Micheal O'Broin RES Project Manager

A developer hoping to put massive wind turbines close to the grade one listed mansion home of a would-be MP is flying blimps in a bid to counter fears it would impact on the property.

Renewable energy firm RES is seeking to put five 127.5m generators close to Netherwitton Hall, home to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick.

Yesterday, the company flew blimps in a bid to prove the turbines would not have any visual impact on the property.

RES has lodged plans with Northumberland County Council for the generators on private land between Netherwitton and Wingates.

The company, at the request of English Heritage and the council, yesterday afternoon flew two small hot air balloons at the Rayburn Lake site.

The blimps were set to fly at specific heights, to represent the 127.5m maximum height of the blades, and the height to the top of the tower - 80m.

They are to remain in place until this afternoon.

Project manager Mícheál O’Broin explained: “We submitted a planning application for the proposed Rayburn Wind Farm in October last year, following several months of public consultation.

“The application included a series of photomontages from viewpoints agreed with Northumberland County Council to show how the turbines would sit in the existing landscape.

“English Heritage has expressed interest in further understanding any visual impact there might be at Netherwitton Hall, which lies approximately two kilometres to the south of the proposed wind farm.

“Although the photomontages illustrate that only the tips of the blades would be visible above the hillside at the back of the Hall, RES is happy to provide this demonstration as reassurance that there would be very little impact from Rayburn wind farm on this listed building.”

Last night, Mrs Trevelyan said she and her husband - whose home is “one of the few (grade one listed buildings) in the county” have objected to the proposed development.

There is already one operational wind farm in the area and she argued the RES scheme is “just more of the same.”

Mrs Trevelyan said: “We are already subjected to the existing Wingates wind factory which is now in situ and the impact on local residents has been severe.

“We very much hope that the county council decision when this comes forward will apply common sense and take into account the landscape and heritage impacts.”

Mrs Trevelyan pointed to minister Eric Pickles’ guidance that such impacts would be “important considerations.”

John Thompson, of the Wingates Not Wind Farms action group which is opposing the project, said: “It just seems a bit odd because normally it is the anti-wind farm people who put up a blimp and not the other way around.

“It is difficult to tell with them what they are thinking.”

The county council has yet to announce a date for a decision to be made on the planning application.

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