Public meeting over wind farm

Coun Rob Crute
Coun Rob Crute
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A COUNCILLOR is calling a public meeting so people can give their views on a proposed five-turbine wind farm.

Durham County Councillor Rob Crute, who represents the Blackhall ward, is opposing a planning application from EDF Energy Renewables for a wind farm at Sheraton, just off the A19.

The energy firm has submitted plans to both Durham County Council and Hartlepool Borough Council as one of the turbines is in the Hart ward of Hartlepool.

Coun Crute hopes to organise a public meeting, involving the affected Castle Eden, Hutton Henry and Monk Hesleden parish councils and Easington MP Grahame Morris and Durham County Council, for either February 3 or February 10, with the date to be confirmed later.

He said: “I oppose on the grounds of visual impact and cumulative impact – there are already a lot of wind turbines built around that area, certainly in east Durham and Sedgefield.

“I am calling a public meeting so we can get the feelings of the public.

“They will be the ones who have a say on this.

“There are a lot of discussions at the moment about wind turbines and the benefits of them.

“I think there are clear benefits for the companies who put them there and the landowners who allow them, but not much benefit for the communities who have to put up with them.

Coun Crute also expressed concerns about the impact the 350ft turbines could have on wildlife, particularly a colony of terns who migrate to Crimdon, saying these turbines could be in their flight pattern.

A Durham County Council spokeswoman said: “We have received an application for four wind turbines at Sheraton and have just started public consultation on the proposals.

“All being well, we expect the application to go to committee in May, though this may change.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “An application has been submitted for a wind turbine scheme at Sheraton.

“However, the application is currently invalid because it doesn’t contain all the required information.”

A spokesman for EDF Energy Renewables said the firm had carried out “considerable local consultation” and a comprehensive environmental impact study and the majority of residents who attended public exhibitions last year had expressed their support.

The spokesman said where concerns were raised EDF had tried to amend plans accordingly.

He added: “We therefore believe that the Sheraton site is suitable for a wind farm and that our proposal offers a balanced response to help to meet the combined challenges posed by climate change concerns and ensuring future energy supplies.”

The spokesman said the company will contact Coun Crute to suggest a meeting to discuss his concerns and additional information has been supplied to Hartlepool Borough Council this week and EDF is awaiting confirmation that the application has been validated.