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Calls to postpone Berwick wind farm inquiry

Opponents of three proposed wind farms in Northumberland last night called for a public inquiry to be postponed, after plans for a new scheme were submitted. Plans for turbines at Moorsyde, Toft Hill and Barmoor, all near Berwick, are due to be heard at an inquiry beginning on May 6. Now however a planning application has been submitted for another eight turbines at West Ancroft, in close proximity to the three inquiry sites.

Opponents of three proposed wind farms in Northumberland last night called for a public inquiry to be postponed, after plans for a new scheme were submitted.

Plans for turbines at Moorsyde, Toft Hill and Barmoor, all near Berwick, are due to be heard at an inquiry beginning on May 6.

Now however a planning application has been submitted for another eight turbines at West Ancroft, in close proximity to the three inquiry sites.

At a recent meeting to discuss arrangements for the hearing, parties were aware that the West Ancroft scheme could be submitted before the inquiry begins and - in the event of that happening - called for guidance on whether they should consider the cumulative impact of all four schemes.

The parties have since been preparing evidence for the inquiry, but may now be asked by the inspector to revise their statements to include West Ancroft.

With the inquiry around five weeks away and deadlines for submission of evidence approaching, The Journal has been told that Berwick Borough Council and at least one opposition group have asked that the inquiry be adjourned, to allow them more time to alter their evidence.

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Opponents of three proposed wind farms in Northumberland last night called for a public inquiry to be postponed, after plans for a new scheme were submitted.

Plans for turbines at Moorsyde, Toft Hill and Barmoor, all near Berwick, are due to be heard at an inquiry beginning on May 6.

Now however a planning application has been submitted for another eight turbines at West Ancroft, in close proximity to the three inquiry sites.

At a recent meeting to discuss arrangements for the hearing, parties were aware that the West Ancroft scheme could be submitted before the inquiry begins and - in the event of that happening - called for guidance on whether they should consider the cumulative impact of all four schemes.

The parties have since been preparing evidence for the inquiry, but may now be asked by the inspector to revise their statements to include West Ancroft.

With the inquiry around five weeks away and deadlines for submission of evidence approaching, The Journal has been told that Berwick Borough Council and at least one opposition group have asked that the inquiry be adjourned, to allow them more time to alter their evidence.

A spokeswoman for the council, which will be replaced in the proceedings by the new Northumberland County Council after Wednesday's changeover, said: "Officers have suggested that an adjournment may be necessary because of the cumulative effect of this new application.

"As yet we do not know if an adjournment will be granted."

A spokesman for the Moorsyde Action Group said it would support an adjournment but has yet to make a formal request.

And he said the timing of the West Ancroft application being submitted had caused problems for all concerned in the inquiry.

"It has put everybody in an impossible position including appellants. It is causing us additional expense in that experts are having to revisit issues they have already covered.

"It is all adding to the costs and stresses of the process."

The application for West Ancroft, around 8km south of Berwick, has been lodged with the borough council by energy company E.ON.

It has reduced the height of the turbines from 125m to 115m.

Charley Rattan, site developer for E.ON, said: "We've taken on board the feedback we got from the public exhibitions about the concerns local people had about the height of the turbines and so reduced their size.

"We still think this is an excellent site for a wind farm and hope that the local councillors share our enthusiasm for a renewable scheme that could supply around 10,500 homes and displace the emission of up to 21,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year."

But the West Ancroft Community Association has vowed to oppose the project.

Group member Ian Corsie said: "A 115m turbine is marginally less intrusive than 125 but it is still enormously intrusive in an area of open landscape.

"There is still eight of them, two of them are still within 600 yards of my property.

"We will do all in our power to make sure that this scheme does not go ahead."

Mr Corsie also questioned why the application had been submitted days before the borough council disappears.


Source: http://www.journallive.co.u...

MAR 30 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19644-calls-to-postpone-berwick-wind-farm-inquiry
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