Northumberland Environmental Policy Group
- The Northumberland & Newcastle Society accepts that wind power should form part of the UK’s energy generation mix, but recognizes that currently Northumberland has experienced disproportionate development despite poor wind resource. Such development reflects the way in which subsidies have encouraged developers to take advantage of sparsely populated areas where objection to development is minimal.
- The Society has highlighted the extent of landscape damage that has occurred consequent to wind power development, which was not adequately appreciated in the initial planning applications.
- The Society has over a number of years, and with considerable cost, engaged in consultation with Northumberland County Council to develop planning policies that balance the contribution that wind energy might bring with the inevitable effects on the landscape and adjacent habitation.
- The Society believes that the role of wind in our energy mix requires a more vigorous evaluation of its cost effectiveness as well as the ability to integrate fluctuating wind power with other sources of electricity generation.
In June 2015 the following Written Ministerial Statements were issued from DECC and DCLG and which altered English Planning Policy:
“We have enough onshore wind,” ……… “consider identifying suitable areas”
- Subsidies have now been curtailed for new on shore wind schemes.
- Future turbine development is now limited to “suitable areas” previously identified in local plans
- The opinion of “local communities” to refuse schemes is now strengthened in the planning process.
The N&N remain committed to seeing this process through and are currently progressing talks with Northumberland County Council regarding how they plan to identify ‘suitable areas’.