Fighter Planes May Put Paid to Wind Farms; Acceptance That MoD Objections Will Rule out Turbines

Article excerpt

Byline: By Adrian Pearson

MILITARY concerns could force a radical rethink of the region's wind capacity, the North's top planner has admitted.

When Government planning inspectors rule on wether or not to allow 59 wind turbines over three Tynedale sites, their decision will be felt across the region, especially in Northumberland.

Officers at the North East Assembly (NEA) tasked with finding the best places to build turbines have previously labeled large parts of the Tyne Valley as acceptable for medium-size wind farms.

But an objection by the Ministry of Defence in September meant the Tynedale wind farms were rejected, and the NEA now admits a Northumberland rethink could be on the way.

Assembly member and Tynedale Council leader Michael Walton said the mixed messages over wind had resulted in thousands of pounds worth of legal action, and called for new wind targets.

He said: "These areas of least constraint are supposed to exist to give developers a reasonable chance of launching a successful application.

"At the moment we are seeing three applications in a Tynedale area of least constraint and we as a council face the expense that comes from fighting the legal battles.

"We go through all our own objections only to see the MoD come in at the last minute with a fairly heavy objection that, if we had known about earlier, would have saved a lot of time and money for everyone.

"We need real clarity here, because the obvious outcome is if these objections are upheld then this area, and any other parts the RAF don't like, actually become areas of most constraint.

"The impact of that is that Northumberland and the region will not have the wind turbine capacity that we have been led to believe."

Malcolm Bowes, NEA assistant chief executive, said Mr Walton was right when he called for the figures to be looked at again. …

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