Durham County Council have now (Tuesday, July 26) voted unanimously to refuse a 77m turbine on air safety grounds. The original application for two 500kw turbines at Trimdon House Farm & West House Farm close to Fishburn Airfield, near Sedgefield, had previously been approved by the Committee in October 2015.
Councillors have now followed a planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the revised application for a single turbine on the grounds of the site’s proximity to the airfield. It was said that the “scale and nature would cause unacceptable aviation safety risks to users”.
The planning application for two 77m turbines was originally submitted and approved by a majority decision. The Council has now overturned this decision after receiving legal advice:
At its meeting in October 2015 the Council’s County Planning Committee resolved to grant planning permission for two wind turbines on agricultural land south of Harap Road, near Fishburn but the decision notice has not yet been issued. Immediately following the Committee’s resolution the Council received a significant number of representations in relation to aviation safety concerns in relation to the adjacent Fishburn Airfield. Following legal advice it was considered that the decision should not be issued at that time, in order to give further consideration to the matter. The proposed development has since been amended reducing from two turbines to one, with the applicant relying upon information submitted with the original application. [Officer’s Report to Committee]
Airvolution Energy have announced that they have withdrawn their application for two 140m turbines on land near the A174 between Yearby and Wilton, near Redcar.
The company had submitted a planning application in February 2014.
German-owned energy conglomerate, E.On announced on Thursday, 21 January that they would not be proceeding with their Isles scheme in Co. Durham.
The company cited environmental and technical issues. “These include the longstanding objection from the Ministry of Defence, the high bird activity on the site, investor uncertainty and changes to planning law,” it said.
RWE Innogy, the other major German wind developer has just announced that they have halted 12 wind projects in Scotland and Wales. The company are quoted as saying that work on the 12 onshore wind projects will resume “when it has been confirmed that a route to market, via a Contract for Difference or something similar, is in place”.
The renewables arm of Banks, the mining, waste and energy company, have eventually acknowledged that they will not appeal the refusal of their scheme for four 125m turbines near Hamsterley Forest.
The company had wanted to put up four 125-metre wind turbines at Windy Bank, between Hamsterley and Woodland in Teesdale but the scheme was rejected by a Durham County Council’s planning committee in May, in line with officers’ recommendations.
Community groups and local people had strongly opposed the proposal.
The Officer’s Report to the committee noted that: “The proposed development would have significant effects on the character of the local landscape and on the special character of an Area of High Landscape Value conflicting with Teesdale Local Plan Policy.”
‘Banks Renewables will not appeal decision to reject ś16million wind farm near Hamsterley Forest’, Darlington & Stockton Times, 12 November, 2015.
‘Plans for County Durham windfarm near to Woodland Village are rejected’, Chronicle, 6 May, 2015.
DCC Planning Ref. 8/CMA/6/48.
Community response group: HUGAG.
Until recently, it had been thought that County Durham planners belonged to the sensibilist wing of the planning spectrum when it came to wind power development. In the past, we have found them to be well-informed and less inclined than some of their counterparts in other authorities to sacrifice the basic principles of planning control to meeting planning targets or bowing to pressure from wind developers.
However, there have been worrying signs in recent decisions that they are willing to downplay recent ministerial planning guidance in considering large, so-called, farm turbines. Officers’ reports to the Planning Committee have given little weight to the new guidance and the body of decisions by the Planning Inspectorate. They have used dismissive interpretations of the wording of the Secretary of State’s statement.
The Secretary of State’s written statement demanded that:
When determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if:
- the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Localor Neighbourhood Plan; and
- following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.
In applying these new considerations, suitable areas for wind energy development will need to have been allocated clearly in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan. Maps showing the wind resource as favourable to wind turbines, or similar, will not be sufficient. Whether a proposal has the backing of the affected local community is a planning judgement for the local planning authority.
Where a valid planning application for a wind energy development has already been submitted to a local planning authority and the development plan does not identify suitable sites, the following transitional provision applies. In such instances, local planning authorities can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts identified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing.
(Written Statement (HCWS42) by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Greg Clark) on 18 Jun 2015). 
Most planning authorities and planning inspectors have, unlike Durham’s planners, given substantial weight to the ministerial guidance. For example, a planning inspector recently decided an appeal on the basis that:
Government policy is that local people have the final say on wind farm applications. It does not except local objections which may be found, on appeal, to be insubstantial, or which originate from an unrepresentative section of a local community. In this case, the objections have been endorsed by a Parish Council and by the Local Planning Authority, both of which may be thought to be representative of their communities. In these circumstances, there is no point in continuing to a consideration of the substance of the three issues which would otherwise arise in this appeal.
(Appeal decision by P W Clark MA MRTPI MCMI on 28/09/2015, Appeal Ref: APP/Y0435/A/14/2227711, wind turbine at Astwood Grange, Astwood, Newport Pagnell). 
The Secretary of State has recently ruled against four wind energy proposals, citing their failure to comply with new rules requiring them to have community backing among the reasons for refusal. 
DCC appears to be taking a highly selective view of the ministerial guidance, and to be giving it little weight.
In the case of a large farm turbine that was recently refused against officer recommendation the Officer’s Report seems to be interpreting the ministerial guidance on ‘affected communities’ as a matter for a simple straw poll of representations, without much effort to identify what constitutes “the affected local community” or to guage whether their concerns have been fully addressed:
148. It is considered that the objections raised within public responses have either been addressed within the application submission or in the opinion of officers would not result in any harmful impacts that would warrant refusal of the application. The exception to this is with regards to heritage impact and the impact of the development upon the setting of the listed Hardwicke Hall. Of the heritage assets raised as a concern within the public responses Hardwicke Hall is not listed, however.
149. Based upon the letters of support and opposition received to the application it is considered that the degree of community support is finely balanced. More letters of support have been received. Some of the letters received are marked with addresses which are not within the vicinity of the site and it is not clear what stake these respondents have in the local area. With no definition of what constitutes the “affected local communities” within the recent guidance contained within the PPG and WMS it is difficult to judge whether those submitting the letters constitute those being affected in the local community. However, based purely upon the comments received and numbers of comments received representations are tipped in favour of supporting the development.
(Officers Report, Dene Leazes turbine determination, Ref. CE/13/01502/FPA). 
In another recent case, recommending approval of two large farm turbines, the Officer’s Report stated:
Degree of Community Support
86. A Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) made 18th June 2015 set out new considerations to be applied to wind energy development. The PPG has also been updated to reflect the content of the WMS. Where an application was already valid at the point of this new guidance emerging then transitional provisions apply. The guidance advices that with regards to this application local planning authorities can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts identified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing. The PPG advises that whether the proposal has the backing of the affected local community is a planning judgement for the local authority. No definition as to what constitutes the affected local communities is provided.
87. It should be noted that there has been no change to the NPPF as a result of the Ministerial Statement, therefore this remains the primary source of national policy for onshore wind energy development. Accordingly, very significant weight must be attached to Part 10 of the NPPF, and in comparison less weight afforded to the WMS and PPG, although they are material considerations.
88. Based upon the public responses received on the application, there are eight letters of objection and six letters of support, together with a letter of objection from Fishburn Parish Council outlining community opposition. The matter of community support is therefore relatively finely balanced and in the context of the area is not in itself a significant level of public interest in the application. Accordingly, the weight to be given to the matter of community support or otherwise is perhaps reduced overall on this basis.
89. In any event, it is considered that the objections raised have either been addressed within the application submission or in the opinion of officers would not result in any significantly harmful impacts that would warrant refusal of the application. It is therefore considered that in the absence of any overwhelming opposition or support for the proposals, and officers being satisfied that relevant matters are appropriately addressed, that the matter of community support should not be a decisive factor in this particular case.
(Officers Report, Ref. 7/2011/0293/DM, Installation of two 500kw wind turbines, Land south of Harap Road, Garmondsway, Fishburn). 
In both cases we see DCC officers downplaying the identification of “affected local communities” and the requirement that the planning impacts they have identified be “fully addressed before the proposal be judged to have their backing”.
DCC’s interpretation of the weight which must be given to ministerial guidance and the interpretation they give, or fail to give, to the wording of the guidance seems to invite a legal challenge from aggrieved local communities who may feel that their legitimate planning concerns have not been properly addressed by the Planning Authority.
 House of Commons, Written Statement (HCWS42) by: Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Greg Clark) on 18 Jun 2015. LOCAL PLANNING (PDF download).
 Appeal Ref: APP/Y0435/A/14/2227711.
 ‘What Clark’s reading of new wind farm rules means for planners’, Planning Resource, 2 October, 2015 (Paywalled, on Wind Watch).
 Officers Report, Ref. CE/13/01502/FPA (PDF download).
 Officers Report, Ref. 7/2011/0293/DM (PDF dowload).
Northern Echo, 21 September, 2015.
‘An ambitious scheme to make Middlesbrough FC's stadium the first self-sustainable sports venue in Europe appears to be in tatters, as the developer behind the project announced it was launching ś11m High Court actions against the club and Middlesbrough Council.
‘North Yorkshire developer Empowering Wind said its partnership with Boro had disintegrated following four years' work, as it prepared to install a 136m turbine in the 34,000-seater stadium's overflow car park.
‘The firm claims the Championship club's bosses have refused to provide a connection from the turbine to Riverside Stadium, following the club suffering £240,000 revenue losses due to lengthy delays as the council considered a Durham Tees Valley Airport objection to the scheme.
Darlington & Stockton Times, 2 December, 2014.
‘COUNCILLORS have rejected plans for a wind farm - despite the developers offering to help local jobless people.
‘Infinis wanted to put up five turbines with a maximum tip height of 115 metres on land at Wingate Grange Farm, near Wingate, Wheatley Hill and Deaf Hill.
‘The company offered an employability scheme for the training of 500 unemployed residents as well as subsidised electricity to three community centres.
‘But Durham County Council’s county planning committee followed its officers’ recommendation to refuse planning permission after hearing that residents were fed up with wind farms being built in the area.
‘The committee also rejected plans by EDF Energy Renewables for five wind turbines at Sheraton Hill and Hulam Farms, at Sheraton and Hutton Henry.
‘Several parish councils in the area objected to the plan.
‘Durham Tees Valley Airport initially objected because the turbines could affect its radar but the committee heard it was happy with the developer’s offer to pay towards a new radar system.
‘Senior Planning Officer Henry Jones said the plan would have “an unduly dominant and harmful visual impact upon the settlement of Hesleden.”
‘Officers were also concerned that a wildlife survey was not up to date and an accurate assessment of the scheme’s impact on wildlife could not be made.
KEY: Yellow - Pre-application; Red - Planning Application; Green - Consented/Under construction; Blue - Operating; White - refused/withdrawn/abandoned/derelict. Large markers with a black spot represent ‘Section 36’ applications (over 50MW nominal capacity, decided by government).
Dots represent so-called ‘farm turbines’, under 100m. These may be larger than turbines in first and second generation turbine arrays, are often owned by speculative developers, not the landowner, and frequently do not contribute to farm supplies.
Turbines smaller than 30m (100 ft)are not recorded. Many 15-30m turbines have been built or consented in Co Durham.
We welcome corrections of any errors you may find.
An application for the 24-turbine scheme near Newton Aycliffe have been submitted to Durham County Council.
E.On have been playing the usual game with numbers. The company have claimed that:
“Originally the development was designed to feature up to 45 turbines and this has now been reduced by almost half to 24 turbines.”
E.On themselves originally stated that the proposal would be: “between 25 and 45 turbines”. We all know that wind developers struggle with mathematics, but since when was 24 “nearly half” of 25?
The proposed turbines would be built in two clusters: “...7 with a maximum tip height of up to 126.5m on land to the north west of the A1(M) and north of Great Isle Farm, 13 with a maximum tip height of up to 101m and 4 with a maximum tip height of up to 115m ”.
More information is available on DCC planning pages, where you can also submit a comment on the application.
Teesdale Mercury, 13 March, 2014.
‘Durham County Council’s head of planning, Stuart Timmiss, says the value of the landscape and other factors put too many constraints for another major project to come forward.
‘It would mean that the gigantic turbines being proposed for Hamsterley would be the last major application in the dale, he said.
‘The only other wind turbines that could be built are smaller-scale agricultural ones.
‘Mr Timmiss said: “It really is just agricultural-scale turbines that we’re looking at now. It’s as clear as that for us. The landscape of Teesdale is so heavily constrained that there isn’t any possibility that I can see of any more large-scale applications.
‘“I can’t see any other opportunities for major turbines to come forward in this area.”
Northern Echo, 29 June, 2013
‘Controversial plans to build a 24-turbine wind farm will be decided by the local authority rather than a Government minister after developers bowed to public pressure.
‘E.ON’s decision to reduce the potential output of The Isles wind farm near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, from 63.5 megawatts (mw) to 48mw means the development is no longer above 50mw and a matter of “national importance.”
‘This means that any planning applications relating to the scheme will now be decided by Durham County Council’s planning committee instead of the Energy Secretary.
Northern Echo, 15 December, 2012.
‘MPs have joined forces to urge council chiefs to oppose any further wind farm proposals in County Durham - arguing the area is full up.
‘Five MPs, led by Sedgefield's Phil Wilson, have penned a letter to Durham County Council's leader, urging him to "step back and consider the visual impact any further proliferation of wind farms will have on the local landscape".
‘The letter comes hard-on-the-heels of Mr Wilson's Bill, in the Commons this week, demanding that local planners - not a government minister, advised by a quango - decide on major proposals.
Northern Echo, 12 December, 2012.
‘A BILL to make it easier for local people to block the building of giant wind turbines will be presented to parliament today (Wednesday, December 12), by a North-East MP.
‘Phil Wilson, the Sedgefield MP, will urge ministers to change the rules to prevent the decision being automatically “called in” and made by a government minister.
‘The move follows growing concern over the spread of wind farms in County Durham, which has led to fears that the area will become the “land of the wind turbine”.
It has long been apparent that the 50MW threshold which allows wind turbine arrays such as E.On’s ‘Isles’ project to masquerade as an infrastructure project ‘of national significance’, decided by a Planning Inspector or Minister, is being used by some developers to sideline the local decision making process.
Mr Wilson notes that:
The threshold is used by utility companies to their advantage because they can design a wind farm to exceed the 50 MW threshold, taking the planning decision out of the hands of local planning authorities. E.ON’s proposal for the Isles is a case in point. Its original proposal was for 10 turbines, but it was withdrawn because it knew that in all likelihood Durham County Council would turn down the application because it was following an Arup report on wind farm landscape impact, which said that the Isles could not take more than four turbines. E.ON withdrew the application, and introduced a new proposal for 45 wind turbines, but has settled on a wind farm of 24 turbines after taking planning restraints into consideration.
To achieve that, however, E.ON has performed all kinds of contortions. The area allocated for the wind farm is huge, but to avoid conservation areas it is designed to stand in two clusters about 2 km apart, each with its own substation. Looking at the map, people would think there were two distinct wind farms, not one. I have pointed that out to E.ON, which told me that as the wind turbines appear within the area designated for the wind farm, it is one wind farm. On that basis, E.ON should draw a red line around the whole of County Durham and have done. E.ON’s approach is cynical and takes for granted the good nature of the people of County Durham.*
-------------------------* Quoted from Mr Wilson’s speech, presenting the bill.
Northern Echo, 1 November, 2012.
‘A community group representing dozens of village halls and community centres in Teesdale has turned down the chance to cash in on a controversial wind farm proposal.
‘The board of the Teesdale Village Halls Consortium (TVHC) was asked if the group wanted to get involved in a scheme to set up a joint venture with Banks Renewables, the firm behind a ś12.5m wind farm plan at Windy Bank, near Hamsterley Forest, County Durham.
‘However, in return for a stake in the wind farm, the consortium and its members would have been required to publicly state their support for the five 115 metre-high turbines.
Northern Echo, 24 October, 2012.
‘Villagers are celebrating after their four-year-long campaign against a windfarm proposal ended in victory.
‘Over 30 residents of nearby villages, including Sadberge, Bishopton and Little Stainton, attended a meeting of Darlington Borough Council's planning committee today (Wednesday, October 24) to hear the application unaninously rejected.
‘Renewable Energy was seeking to build three wind turbines on land at Newbiggin, between Darlington and Stockton.
‘Planning officer Roy Merritt recommended refusal on the grounds that the 110-metre high turbines would have a negative visual impact on the countryside, particularly when combined with the existing turbine cluster at Moorhouse and an approved development at Lambs Hill.
Durham County Council’s Planning Committee has refused an application by E.On UK for two 80m anemometer masts on their Isles site, near Newton Aycliffe.
Members cited the impact on landscape areas which are protected under the Sedgefield Borough Plan.
‘ Campaigners’ joy after temporary masts rejected’, The Advertiser, 5 September, 2012.
The residents of the villages of Hilton and Seamer, near Stockton, are trying to come to terms with their new neighbours - five giant wind turbines.
As ever, they are finding that the developer’s visualisations bear little relation to the real visual impacts of the scheme.
A Hilton resident is quoted in the local press as saying, “It’s worse than we ever dreamed of - it’s horrendous.”
‘Controversial wind farm towers over Yarm villages’, Evening Gazette, 30 June, 2012.
“Where are we now?
- The renewable electricity target for County Durham given in the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) was 82MW installed capacity (all technologies) by 2010.
- Currently we have 176MW of renewable electricity operational or approved.
- This will meet around 62% of County Durham’s household electricity consumption or 24% of the County’s overall electricity consumption.
- County Durham’s 2010 target has been exceeded by a substantial margin and the aspiration to double that target by 2020 has already been achieved.”
“Where are we heading?
- National target is now for 15% of energy (30% of electricity) to come from renewable sources by 2020.
- Nationally, government sees wind, along with biomass, as the technologies most likely to deliver renewable energy needed by 2020
- We have over 109MW of proposals (almost all onshore wind) currently in planning or at scoping stage and ongoing pre-application discussions on a number of further proposals.”
(Quoted from: ‘Wind Energy in County Durham’, Presentation to Teesdale AAP, 23 March 2012, Durham County Council, Regeneration and Economic Development).
Peterlee Star, 28 March, 2012
‘People power won the day when a communications giant lost an appeal for a wind turbine to be built.
‘Members of Easington Village Parish Council and the village’s representative on Durham County Council, Councillor Dr David Boyes, are celebrating after BT Renewables’ plans to build the structure at Junction House Farm were thrown out at appeal stage.
‘Durham County Council’s planning committee had refused planning permission for the development, which included an “imposing” turbine with a 300ft-high blade, in October last year.
‘This was on the grounds that due to its location and scale, the project would have a significant visual impact on nearby residential properties.
‘The cumulative impact of the wind turbine when viewed alongside similar structures in the surrounding area was also taken into account.
Appeal Ref: APP/X1355/A/11/2164485 (decision letter).
Peterlee Star, 28 March, 2012
‘A PUBLIC meeting was held to co-ordinate an approach for how objections to a planned wind farm can be collated.
‘Around 70 people attended an informal drop-in session at Hesleden Community Centre regarding proposals to build a five-turbine wind farm at Sheraton, off the A19.
‘The purpose of the event, which was organised by Durham county councillor for Blackhall, Coun Rob Crute, and Lynda Wardle, Monk Hesleden Parish Council clerk, was to raise public awareness of the impact of the development on communities, including High Hesleden, Hesleden, Castle Eden and Hutton Henry.
‘Coun Crute said the event also aimed to encourage residents to write to the county council with their objections.
Northern Echo, 26 March 2012.
‘People who feared they would become surrounded by wind farms are celebrating after plans for turbines were refused.
‘Energy firm Wind Prospect wanted to build three 110- metre turbines at Foxton,County Durham – not far from land where controversial plans for what could be the country’s biggest wind farm have been put forward.
‘The Foxton plan, lodged with Durham County Council last year, is one of a number of similar wind farm projects in the area.
‘Campaigners who criticised the scheme said they felt that, if approved, it would mean the village would become an island surrounded by wind farms.
Teesdale Mercury, 22 February, 2012.
‘First there was Barningham, then Bolam. Now there is Hamsterley and Ponder Gill, near Barnard Castle. Wind farm proposals have dominated the local news in recent years, but one question remains unanwered – are they any good? For the first in two-part series, we speak to Professor David Campbell, an expert in the field who also happens to live near the proposed Hamsterley site.
‘There are many reasons to object to wind farm proposals I have not mentioned. But surely the fact that any such proposal cannot yield any of the claimed environmental benefits is enough. The real issue is not whether proposals like the Upper Gaunless wind farm should go ahead. It is how so completely defective a national and international policy could have been followed over the last 20 years, and how our Government can persist with it when doing so is outright irrational.’
Evening Gazette, 17 February, 2012
‘A Teesside MP has joined residents in East Cleveland in the fight against plans for the construction of eight wind turbines.
‘Redcar MP Ian Swales is backing the no campaigns for wind farms at both Beacon Moor between new Marske and Upleatham, and a proposed site between Marske and Saltburn.[Beacon Moor scheme now abandoned, Ed.]
Evening Gazette, 11 February, 2012.
‘Residents in East Cleveland have come together to fight plans to build eight wind turbines.
‘As previously reported, a 60m met mast has been installed to monitor wind conditions on Beacon Moor at the top of Errington Woods with a view to erecting four 115m wind turbines. [Beacon Moor scheme now abandoned, Ed.]
‘And now, a second application has been submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Council scoping opinion for another site between Marske and Saltburn.
Teesdale Mercury, 6 December, 2011
‘A plan to build a ś12.5million wind farm in Teesdale is either facing refusal or significant planning delays.
‘Banks Renewables, which has submitted plans for five 115-metre turbines between village of Woodland and Hamsterley Forest, has been told that its survey work on wildlife is not up to scratch.
‘It is believed Grant Folley, a council planning officer, has now informed Banks that unless more work is done on the impact on birds and bats, the plan will be recommended for refusal.
The Advertiser, 20 October, 2011.
‘A SIX-TURBINE wind farm has been approved in the region.
‘Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee chairman Paul Baldwin used his casting vote to approve Banks Renewables’ plans for the wind farm, north-east of the town [Moor House, Barmpton].
Durham Tees Valley Airport had objected to the six 125m turbines but withdrew their objections on the morning of the meeting.
Durham County Council’s county planning committee has thrown out a controversial application (‘Junction House’) by BT for a 100m turbine on land off Pesspool lane, Easington Village.
The committee were told that the majority of people in the area were against the turbine and that the parish council opposed the scheme because of its impacts on listed buildings, including St Mary’s Church and the Seaton Holme conservation area.
Officers told the committee the county has exceeded its target for wind farms.
‘Turbine bid blown out’, Sunderland Echo, 5 october, 2011.
People in the communities surrounding E.ON’s bloated ‘Isles’ proposal have formed a campaign group to oppose the scheme.
E.ON are proposing to build twenty four 121m (396 ft) turbines on a low wind site which straddles the A1 motorway, close to Newton Aycliffe and .
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson is also campaigning against the proposal, see below for more details.
On Thursday, 29 September the Isles campaign headlined on ‘Look North’ (not available on BBC i-player).
In the same programme, Chris Huhne, the former Energy Minister (awaiting trial in early October accused of perverting the course of justice), came out with his usual inane remarks comparing hundreds of 125m turbines to individual historic windmills a tenth of their size.
The programme pointed out that Durham has 16 operating wind power stations, with hundreds more turbines in prospect. They did not dwell on the fact that Mr Huhne’s county, Hampshire, has NOT ONE large industrial turbine. There is one small, historic windmill in Eastleigh, Mr Huhne’s constituency.
If Mr Huhne really regarded 125m turbines as, “the modern equivalent of a picturesque windmill”, might we suggest that he gets on TV in Hampshire to demand that a few hundred be built on the Hampshire Downs. Sadly, that might be the end of his now fading political ambitions!
The Isles communities campaign is also on Twitter.
Teesdale Mercury, 5 September, 2011
‘A renewable energy firm has admitted that competing developers rushing to build wind farms in County Durham may create an “unacceptable impact” on the countryside.
‘Banks Renewables, which has submitted plans for five 115-metre turbines between village of Woodland and Hamsterley Forest, made the statement to council officials.
Northern Echo, 9 August, 2011.
‘An MP will today launch a campaign aimed at stopping any further wind farms from being built in the region.
‘Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson is taking action after E.ON announced plans that could see England’s biggest wind farm built in his constituency.
‘The energy firm will launch a formal consultation on August 31, with three proposals to be considered – for either 29, 30 or 45 turbines – on a site east of Newton Aycliffe.
Stage One of E.ON’s consultation exercise started on 31 August and ended on 7 October, 2011.
(For further information about the proposal, call 0800 096 1199).
NB Members of the public can formally respond to the planning application when it is accepted by the IPC. E.ON’s response questionnaire is designed to assist their planning application, not the public.
An application for a development consent order is likely to be submitted to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) towards the end of 2012.
“The IPC was established on 1 October 2009 under the Planning Act 2008 to streamline the planning system for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs)” [And wind turbine arrays with a headline capacity over 50MW, howeverůpaltry their real output].
It can’t be said that E.ON do not learn lessons from their previous attempts to foist turbine parks on unwilling communities.
They are now careful to avoid holding consultation events in local village halls, as people have asked. In the past, communities have set up exit polls to properly record the views of every visitor to E.ON’s exhibitions. These have usually demonstrated the overwhelming opposition of visitors to their projects.
E.ON now choose venues in private spaces where they can deny community response groups access. The additional carbon burden of forcing people to travel does not seem to trouble them.
The company also tries to weight responses by involving major settlements distant from the site. We have been told that some people living close to the site have not received consultation documents from E.ON while they have been widely distributed in large communities 10 miles away.
Isles Communities Action Campaign.
E.ON UK website.
Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) - Isles application page.
Phil Wilson’s Parliamentary Petition against the Isles proposal. Details on his website.
‘Fight vow as wind farm plan unveiled’, Northern Echo, 9 August, 2011.
‘Councils unite to oppose Sedgefield wind farm’, Northern Echo, 28 July, 2011.
‘Concern over potential wind farm in Newton Aycliffe’, BBC News, 26 April, 2011.
‘David Cameron agrees to Newton Aycliffe wind farm talks’, BBC News, 27 April, 2011.
‘New fears over wind farm plan’, Northern Echo, 2 June, 2011.
‘Residents meet Minister over plans for England's biggest windfarm’, Northern Echo, 17 June, 2011.
Banks Renewables, part of the coal mining, property and waste group, have lodged a planning application for their ‘Windy Bank’ scheme bordering Hamsterley Forest, close to the village of Woodland.
The proposal is for five 115m turbines.
The application documents may be viewed online.
Another proposals at Crake Scar, immediately adjacent to Windy Bank, has been dropped. A proposal at West Shipley is at the pre-application stage.
Application Ref. No. CMA/6/48 - see planning website.
Hamsterley & Upper Gaunless Action Group - HUGAG website.
‘Row as wind farm firm offers cash for local projects’, Teesdale Mercury, 1 August, 2011.
‘Village votes no to threat of turbines’, Teesdale Mercury, 12 July, 2011.
‘Pure Renewable Energy’ has approval to erect a 50 metre anemometer mast on land at West Shipley near Hamsterley.1
This is the precursor to yet another turbine array proposal on the edge of the Hamsterley Forest.
Banks Renewables recently lodged a planning application for five 115m turbines near the village of Woodend, on the southern edge of the forest.2
ELECTRICITY GENERATIONU.K. National Grid Status