Surprise and joy as wind farm rejected

OPPONENTS of a proposed wind farm in Northumberland were celebrating last night after the plans were rejected.

OPPONENTS of a proposed wind farm in Northumberland were celebrating last night after the plans were rejected.

Ridgewind Ltd had sought permission from Berwick Borough Council to build 10 turbines on Wandylaw Farm in Chathill.

But last night, at a meeting of the planning committee, council members decided to reject the plans – by a vote of eight to two – against the advice of officers.

Scores of local people stood and applauded the decision after more than three hours of debate at Berwick High School.

Dominic Coupe, chairman of the Northumberland branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, spoke on behalf of the objectors at the meeting.

He had appealed for the decision to be deferred until the conclusion of a public inquiry into plans to build 18 turbines at neighbouring Middlemoor. But the council members went a stage further and rejected the Wandylaw application.

Mr Coupe said: “I’m surprised by the strength of feeling shown by Berwick councillors who have carefully considered a mass of evidence and done a very considerate and courageous job.

“The councillors have shown exceptional mettle in not doing what I suggested and deferring the decision. They have listened to me, done something different, and come to a conclusion by a significant majority.”

Meanwhile, Nigel Goodhew, of Ridgewind Ltd, revealed his devastation.

He said: “Obviously we are very disappointed.

“I didn’t expect anything other than an informed decision, a decision based on targets on global warming. Those targets are going to affect future generations.”

Mr Goodhew could not confirm whether Ridgewind Ltd would appeal against the decision, admitting he was still “coming to terms” with last night’s events.

Matters were complicated when a late letter of objection was tabled yesterday morning by the Ministry of Defence.

Having previously expressed their support twice for the development, yesterday’s letter suggested that the wind farms could interfere with national radar defence systems.

With this, and the unresolved matter of the public inquiry on Middlemoor hanging over the decision makers, it was suggested by Coun David Wilson that more time was needed.

He said: “I don’t think this application should be heard on its own.

“There is no getting away from the fact that Wandylaw and Middlemoor are one site.

“Making a decision to grant approval, we would leave a legacy for 25 years. I believe a delay of three months is better than 25 years.”

A report by the North-East assembly advised councils to be wary of the cumulative effect of wind farms.

The public inquiry on the Middlemoor application is due to start on November 12.

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