Wind turbines at Flodden set to be given green light

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PLANS to build two wind turbines close to the historic battlefield at Flodden are being recommended for approval, despite 40 objections from local residents.

Berwick-based Maden Design and Build have been asked to construct the pair of 50kw turbines, each mounted on 24.6m tall masts and 34.2m to blade tip, at East Moneylaws Farm, less than a mile from the famous 1513 battle site.

However, concerns have been raised about the impact on the landscape and visual amenity, the effect on tourism, on the National Park, on the nearby heritage assets and in particular the Flodden battlefield site from noise, flicker and traffic.

Alan Cater of Cheviot View, Wark, argues: “One of the most important historical sites in the Borders will be spoilt by the presence on the local horizon of the proposed turbines.

“Flodden Field, just a mile from the suggested turbine site, will have a clear view of these eyesores. This battle site holds a special place in the hearts of residents from both sides of the border, where in 1513 a large price was paid in loss of life.

“2013 will be the 500th anniversary of this battle, and the whole area has been established as an ‘open air museum’, covering several square kilometres. The turbine installation will adversely affect this important site.”

Mary and George Mackenzie of East Moneylaws Farm Cottages said: “Our cottage will be approximately 400 metres from the proposed turbines and this fact appears to have been overlooked in the submission. As mentioned in our objection, flicker effect and noise are most likely to affect us - the only owner occupied property on Mr Lathangie’s farm.”

Linda Till of The Old School House in Wark added: “The mass and sighting of this application is clearly detrimental to the landscape, one of the main reasons for our choice of home was the open views available from our house, and this will be damaged not only for us but for other residents of our village and visitors to the area.

“A very major concern is that granting planning permission for these turbines is that it will open the door to other similar applications in the future.”

But Sue Birnie, senior planning officer, stated: “The turbines would occupy a small portion of the lower slopes of the Moneylaws Hill. It is considered that the proposed turbine would not have a significant impact in terms of landscape and visual impact.

“The applicant has demonstrated that the proposed development would not result in unacceptable adverse impact on local residents in terms of noise and shadow flicker subject to conditions.

“The proposed turbine would not result in an impact on local ecology, archaeology or impact the setting of nearby listed buildings.

“The impacts on the battlefield site at Flodden are not considered to be substantial, and the limited impacts on the setting of the battlefield site are outweighed by the wider public benefit of providing a locally produced renewable energy.”

Letters of support for the scheme highlight the importance of renewable energy, the need to support rural businesses and the fact that the proposed development would reduce fuel costs for the farm.

The application will go before Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee on Tuesday night.

The Battle of Flodden was fought on September 9, 1513. It was the last of the bloody medieval battles, and the last occasion on which a monarch of the British Isles was killed on the field of battle.

The death of James IV of Scotland and the majority of the Scottish nobility at the hands of the Earl of Surrey’s English army was a cataclysmic event for Scotland.

Flodden Field is widely regarded one of the best preserved Battlefields in the whole of northern Europe. Farmland now covers the site and the village of Branxton has not expanded onto the area of conflict

A number of events are taking place on both sides of the border next year to mark the 500th anniversary of the battle.