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Conservation group concerned over Northumberland wind farm plans

The threat posed to Northumberland's landscape, heritage and rural communities by wind farm development is possibly the biggest planning challenge the county has faced in modern times, it has been claimed.

The threatposed to Northumberland's landscape, heritage and rural communities by wind farm development is possibly the biggest planning challenge the county has faced in modern times, it has been claimed.

Leading conservation group, the Northumberland and Newcastle Society, says it is deeply concerned about the proliferation of wind farms in the county.

It is calling on the county council to take the threat seriously, and put in place "rigorous and carefully considered planning protection" in a new policy blueprint on wind energy.

The Society has strongly criticised background studies and documents which are being used by the council in drawing up its core strategy policy, which will help councillors make decisions on plans for more wind turbines.

It says 120 turbines have already been built or approved in Northumberland - more than any other English county - a further 21 have been applied for, and almost 150 are at the pre-application stage.

The Society's Northumberland Environmental Policy Group (NEPG) has singled out the council's Renewable, Low-Carbon Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The threat posed to Northumberland's landscape, heritage and rural communities by wind farm development is possibly the biggest planning challenge the county has faced in modern times, it has been claimed.

Leading conservation group, the Northumberland and Newcastle Society, says it is deeply concerned about the proliferation of wind farms in the county.

It is calling on the county council to take the threat seriously, and put in place "rigorous and carefully considered planning protection" in a new policy blueprint on wind energy.

The Society has strongly criticised background studies and documents which are being used by the council in drawing up its core strategy policy, which will help councillors make decisions on plans for more wind turbines.

It says 120 turbines have already been built or approved in Northumberland - more than any other English county - a further 21 have been applied for, and almost 150 are at the pre-application stage.

The Society's Northumberland Environmental Policy Group (NEPG) has singled out the council's Renewable, Low-Carbon Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Study for its lack of objectivity. The study claims the county has technical capacity for 17,020 megawatts of wind generation - which is equivalent to more than 6,000 turbines.

There are currently only 3,000 onshore turbines operating in the whole of the UK.

The NEPG has also criticised the study's approach to protecting the landscape against future wind farm development. The group says: "Apart from excluding nationally designated landscapes, such as the National Park, this study ignores landscape or visual issues. Where landscape, heritage or residential amenity issues are mentioned, they are seen as challenges to delivery of wind turbines, rather than constraints or assets to be protected."

It also claims that cumulative factors are ignored by the study, and says local opposition to wind farm development is seen as an obstacle to be overcome by early engagement and education.

The Society - which commissioned consultants in planning, landscape and health to provide expert analysis of the county council's studies - has put forward its own alternative policy on wind farm development. This includes:

Excluding turbines from the most sensitive parts of the county, or within certain distances from their boundaries, such as the National Park, areas of outstanding natural beauty and the green belt.


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

AUG 28 2012
https://www.windaction.org/posts/34728-conservation-group-concerned-over-northumberland-wind-farm-plans
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