Isles windfarm scheme revised but plan still meets with some local scepticism

REVISED plans for a 24-turbine wind farm have met with a mixed reaction, despite efforts to scale down the scheme.

E.ON showcased its final designs for The Isles wind farm, at Bradbury, near Sedgefield, County Durham, at the first of two public meetings this evening (Wednesday, April 23).

Originally, the energy company intended to build 45 turbines but, in 2012, it reduced the number to 24.

Since then the layout has been refined and the potential output has been reduced from 63.5 megawatts to 48MW, meaning the application will be determined by Durham County Council, rather than the Energy Secretary.

The final plans, which will be submitted to the council at the end of the month, take into account further on-site studies and public feedback.

The maximum tip height of four turbines has been increased slightly to 115 metres, while the number of sub stations has been reduced from two to one.

Paul Hunt, contents manager at E.ON, said: "This is our ninth consultation event and, while we will never be able to please everyone, we have worked hard to ensure the views of local people are heard."

However, at the information session at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, some residents remained unimpressed.

Nigel Juggins, 75, from Mordon, said: "I am still totally against it.

"It would not be so bad if wind was a reliable source of power, but it has to be backed up by fossil fuels most of the time anyway."

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said:“If it was the only wind farm in County Durham I would not object.

"However, there are 17 in the county and I worry about the cumulative impact. I am in favour of renewable energy but County Durham has played its part.”

Sue Fox, of The Isles Community Turbine Action Campaign (Tictac) shares these sentiments.

"It hasn't changed," she said. "The only difference is that four are bigger.

"The consultation is a joke. They let us have our say, but they still do what they want."

Councillor Eddy Adam, from Newton Aycliffe, said he was keeping an open mind.

"I can see E.ON have taken steps to address residents' concerns but there is still work to be done."

Located near the A1 motorway, close to Newton Aycliffe, Chilton, Sedgefield, Bradbury, Woodham and Mordon, The Isles could generate on enough energy for around 27,000 homes per year.

A second public information session will take place at Mordon Village Hall, from 5pm to 8pm, tomorrow (Thursday, April 24).

Anyone unable to attend should call 0800 096 1199 or email theisles@eon-uk.com.

Tictac is also holding a public meeting at Mordon Village Hall from 10am to noon on Saturday, April 26.

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