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Inspector to decide on £35m wind farm after councils disagree

Plans for a £35m wind farm in Northumberland will be determined by the Government after a green energy company found itself caught in a disagreement between two neighbouring councils. ScottishPower revealed last night it will appeal to the Planning Inspectorate after its bid to erect 13 giant turbines on land next to the 670-job Alcan aluminium smelter at Lynemouth was left in limbo. That is almost certain to mean a Planning Inspector conducting a public inquiry into the scheme before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether it should be allowed.

Plans for a 35m wind farm in Northumberland will be determined by the Government after a green energy company found itself caught in a disagreement between two neighbouring councils.

ScottishPower revealed last night it will appeal to the Planning Inspectorate after its bid to erect 13 giant turbines on land next to the 670-job Alcan aluminium smelter at Lynemouth was left in limbo.

That is almost certain to mean a Planning Inspector conducting a public inquiry into the scheme before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether it should be allowed.

Because the site straddles the boundary between Wansbeck and Castle Morpeth, the company had to seek planning permission from both local authorities to site up to seven of the turbines in each area.

The turbines were given the green light by councillors in Wansbeck yesterday, after officers advised they are acceptable next to the existing Alcan chimneys and industrial complex.

However, Castle Morpeth councillors refused planning permission in April, claiming the structures are excessive and will be over-dominant in the flat, coastal... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Plans for a £35m wind farm in Northumberland will be determined by the Government after a green energy company found itself caught in a disagreement between two neighbouring councils.

ScottishPower revealed last night it will appeal to the Planning Inspectorate after its bid to erect 13 giant turbines on land next to the 670-job Alcan aluminium smelter at Lynemouth was left in limbo.

That is almost certain to mean a Planning Inspector conducting a public inquiry into the scheme before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether it should be allowed.

Because the site straddles the boundary between Wansbeck and Castle Morpeth, the company had to seek planning permission from both local authorities to site up to seven of the turbines in each area.

The turbines were given the green light by councillors in Wansbeck yesterday, after officers advised they are acceptable next to the existing Alcan chimneys and industrial complex.

However, Castle Morpeth councillors refused planning permission in April, claiming the structures are excessive and will be over-dominant in the flat, coastal landscape. It means ScottishPower cannot go ahead with the whole project until it overcomes the barrier imposed by Castle Morpeth's opposition.

Last night, company spokesman Simon McMillan said: "We are delighted that Wansbeck Council has approved the project and believe it vindicates our position that we have a good scheme in a very acceptable location.

"We will now go to the DTI to appeal the Castle Morpeth decision to refuse, and are confident that we will win on appeal."

ScottishPower and Alcan first revealed plans for the Lynemouth wind farm in 2005, but the original scheme for 16 turbines was later withdrawn and scaled down to counter local opposition.

Castle Morpeth councillors rejected the revised bid two months ago following strong opposition from people in Lynemouth, Ellington and Cresswell, who claimed the turbines would be a visual intrusion and bring no economic benefits.

A report to Wansbeck's regulatory committee, however, said Scottish Power had made a sound case for the development and the wind farm would not look out of place against the industrial background of the nearby smelter.

Regionally, planners say Northumberland should be generating 812 megawatts of renewable energy in three years' time, but at present wind farms in the county only produce 8.6mw.

The Alcan installation would generate enough electricity to power 18,000 homes.

In a letter supporting the application, Alcan said the wind farm would be the first for Alcan worldwide, and would add to the sustainability of the site as well as raising the profile of the business.



Source: http://icnewcastle.icnetwor...

JUN 9 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/9378-inspector-to-decide-on-35m-wind-farm-after-councils-disagree
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