Belford residents have highlighted the impact wind turbine construction traffic could have on their village by staging a sizable protest.
During a march against plans for the nine-turbine Belford Burn development, submitted by EnergieKontor Ltd to Northumberland County Council last month, villagers used themselves to demonstrate the scale of the vehicles required.
Organised by the Middleton Burn Action Group (MBAG) which opposes any wind development in and around Belford, more than 200 people formed into a pack at North Bank on Sunday, occupying the same road space as the proposed turbine delivery vehicles.
MBAG vice chair Kerry Noble said: “It was designed to highlight one of the many contentious aspects of the plans with regard to the proposed access routes for the gigantic transports delivering the turbine components to their site.”
During the march, the size of the vehicles necessary to transport turbine components - the length of four double decker buses and the width of two - was replicated by protesters carrying two metre boards.
One route in EnergieKontor’s planning application would involve the removal of street furniture at Belford’s Market Square, including cherry trees, pedestrian safety bollards and planter boxes, for the duration of the construction period.
Belford residents Martin and Ann Le Fevre were among those who turned out to see the protest. Mr Le Fevre said: “Whilst most were opposed to the whole farm, my personal objection is to the idea of delivering turbines through the middle of the Belford conservation area, ripping up part of the square to allow giant vehicles to negotiate the tight bend in the centre.”
He added: “If a Belford centre resident wished to change their draughty sash windows with new UPVC they would be refused permission - the modern windows would reduce the visual amenity of the village. How then will demolishing part of the Market Square to give access to juggernaughts enhance the visual amenity?
“If the only way to build turbines on Belford Moor is by delivering the parts through Belford village then surely the site is not suitable.”
Belford Burn project manager Michael Briggs said: “We understand that residents have concerns relating to construction traffic coming through Belford. It’s an issue that’s been raised by people as part of our pre-planning consultation process and this is something we empathise with.
“That’s why one of our proposals is that all HGV traffic, which makes up around 95% of construction traffic, is diverted around the village. For the 80 or so deliveries that would need to come through the village, a traffic management plan would be in place to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.”