We agree with the government’s policies which advocate empowering local people to have the final say in any future wind development.
We regarded these policies as potentially signifying the end of large scale turbine development in Northumberland.
However, having had sight of emerging policies proposed in the County Council’s draft Local Plan, we believe that unless the direction of travel of the emerging policies is radically changed, there is a strong likelihood that further inappropriate wind turbine development will follow, contrary to the wishes of “local communities”.
Northumberland County Council, despite substantial local objection and compelling legal opinion that its approach is inconsistent with national planning policy and guidance, is continuing its proposal to identify some 66% of the county’s land area (excluding the National Park and AONB’s) as ‘suitable’ for wind turbines up to 40 m in height (the Angel of the North is 20 m). The blue colouring on the map below shows those areas.
Under current national policy and guidance, no onshore wind development can be considered unless it is in an area identified as suitable for wind turbine development by a local or neighbourhood plan.
The Society, which neither questions the need to tackle climate change nor opposes wind turbines, per se, is continuing its opposition to the Council’s approach because it severely puts at risk the county’s landscapes and will produce unnecessary uncertainty. In this, it is supported by CPRE.
Given the substantial level of objection to the council’s approach at the last (Consultation Draft) stage of the emerging local plan, we believe that the Council has compounded its errors by wholly ignoring local concerns, again contrary to government guidance.
We believe the protection of the county’s landscapes to be important and we oppose the council’s plans. We have written to all Parish Councils in Northumberland to request support for our case, and to remind them to lodge their own comments by Wednesday 13 March 2019.
View the Society/CPRE’s representations – these have now been sent to Northumberland County Council.