Dear Mrs MacKenzie,
APP/V2913/A/08/2079520 Appeal by Moorsyde Wind Farm Limited for site at Felkington, Berwick upon Tweed TD15 2NR
APP/V2913/A/08/2078347 Appeal by Catamount Energy Limited for site at Barmoor between Ford and Lowick
APP/V2913/A/08/2077474 Appeal by NPower Renewables Limited for site at Toft Hill, south west of Grindon.
I write in support of wind farm at all of the above locations. I am in favour of wind turbines in any location where:
- it is economic to place them
- where fragile ecosystems, which might, for instance be covered by allocating status of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), are not placed at risk.
- where there are appropriate mitigations for interference with radar systems
- where there is not collateral damage to the wider economy
None of the criteria above are met by the 3 applications, and it is therefore my view that all should go ahead.
On the economics of wind turbine location - previous views have already identified these areas as UK locations with well above average wind speeds, and the fact that several energy companies have already sought to make applications, and have persisted despite 5 years of blinkered opposition from a minority of well-connected residents indicates their commitment.
Nobody has, to my knowledge, claimed that these or any of the other locations being proposed in Northumberland, are host to threatened species or ecosystems, and none of them are in SSSIs.
On the subject of radar, the Ministry of Defence have offered up inconsistent positions, as shown at Wandylaw, where evidence was presented indicating that the MoD had previously accepted that the wind turbines would not cause problems to neighbouring radar stations, whilst the MoD representative himself appeared to oppose the development on the grounds that they would. In the light of this contradictory stance, I would suggest that the UK's future energy needs are not delayed by such prevarications. The recommendation should be to go ahead with the development, subject to certification that radar facilities can be modified, and upgraded if required, to eliminate this concern, which has been hyped up by anti-wind farm protesters who have as little understanding of radar technology as wind turbine technology, the national grid, or threats to bird life.
Finally, on the damage to the wider economy, I have rarely heard more disingenuous rubbish published as fact than on the subject of the impact of wind turbines on tourism. At no point has any reliable evidence been presented that tourism will suffer as a result of wind (a loaded questionnaire on people's intent to travel to an area once a demonic vision of hideous turbines has been presented does not constitute evidence). The south-west of England and Cumbria have both seen increases in tourism following installation of wind farms. Whilst this cannot be attributed to wind farms, no evidence suggests that areas with similar reliance on tourism which have not installed wind energy facilities have received greater numbers.
The final objection thrown at wind farms, about the aesthetics of them. Surveys continue to show that a large majority of people actually find wind turbines attractive. We should not let a vocal majority obscure this fact. I would like to see a longer-term view of aesthetics which considers the option of extreme weather events with ever-increasing frequencies, coastal settlements turned into ghost towns by encroaching seas, and food shortages in the developing world which leads to mass migrations of desperate, hungry people. Now that is aesthetically displeasing.