Visual Impact, Leisure & Tourism

Visual Impact

And all over the countryside, he knew, on every crest and hill, where once the hedges had interlaced, and cottages, churches, inns, and farmhouses had nestled among their trees, wind wheels similar to those he saw and bearing like vast advertisements, gaunt and distinctive symbols of the new age, cast their whirling shadows and stored incessantly the energy that flowed away incessantly through all the arteries of the city. … The great circular shapes of complaining wind-wheels blotted out the heavens … —H.G. Wells, “A Story of the Days To Come” (1897)

The site of the proposed wind farm is of rural and unspoilt landscape character, dotted with traditional stone farm buildings. A wind farm here would destroy the restorative sense of retreat into a landscape untouched by the urban, the modern and the man-made.

If the windfarm proposals encircling Morpeth are passed, the County Council are allowing Morpeth’s rural character to be brutally and permanently swept aside for an industrial landscape of up to 14 giant power towers and the electrical accoutrements needed to service them – the pylons, the substations and the access roads. All this, only 3 miles from this beautiful and historic market town, affecting tourists as well as residents. For example, travellers on the southbound A1 will stare straight at any windfarm built in this area, for a full mile as they bypass Morpeth.

The planned Green Belt designation planned to wrap around rural west Morpeth, now looks as if it will give little or no protection, especially since Green Belt protection may now be eroded with the current proposed changes to the planning system. Leisure users and tourists may well start turning away.

Leisure users, from cyclists and walkers to horses and riders, will be affected and potentially endangered by their continued usage of bridleways and footpaths which cross the windfarm site or it’s vicinity. Horses in particular may be scared by blades stopping and restarting as well as rotating. Blade shadows may be cast across bridleways and frighten horses using the routes. The close proximity of the bridleways to the turbines may result in high levels of noise which could startle horses and ponies.

In the winter snow and ice may build up on blades and when the turbines are started this could result in the build up being ‘thrown’ at high speeds for long distances possibly injuring users of the public access routes.

There have been structural failures of turbines and the close proximity of the proposed development to the many public access routes in this area is liable to increase the probability of an accident taking place.

And lastly, these proposals may be just the beginning. Once such a precedent has been set, more windfarms may follow, accelerated by current proposed changes to planning policy.

ARM believes these windfarm proposals to be the wrong developments in the wrong places, inappropriate to the locality at all levels.