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Letter: Turbine plan threatens parachute business; Voice of the North.

Byline: IAN ROSENVINGE

I HAVE noted that wind turbine developments have regularly featured in your columns and also note an article on the bowling alley in Durham re-opening ("Strike-out team's on a roll again", The Journal, January 25), both of which are very relevant to our case.

Our student parachute programme and so, effectively, the continued existence of our parachute and airfield business, is under threat if a planning application for a 52m high wind turbine is given approval for AKS at Davy Drive, 340m to the north-east of us on the neighbouring Peterlee North West Industrial Estate.

Should the turbine be built within 1,200m of the centre of the parachute landing area (PLA), with the proposed site actually 675m from its centre, we will be unable to drop student parachutists when the wind blows in a south-west or north-east direction, which for the vast majority of the time it does. Even if moved to the other end of the AKS factory, the turbine would still only be 800m away from the centre of the PLA.

AKS employ 75 people and are part of the NSK group, who employ 1,000 in the Peterlee area. They are seeking a wind turbine to reduce their production costs lest production be moved to an AKS factory in Poland at the expense of the Peterlee factory and so potentially at the cost of many jobs in an area with the third highest unemployment figures in the country.

We very much respect that, but rather than see it at the expense of our parachute and airfield business, which was established at Shotton after re-locating when Nissan built their factory on Sunderland Airfield.

We are endeavouring to facilitate a win/win situation by seeking to move the wind turbine to a site another 400m north-east up Davy Drive or to the main NSK Factory site, also on the neighbouring Peterlee Industrial Estate or to a nearby rented farmland site adjacent to overhead power lines, all more than the required 1,200m from the centre of the PLA.

Right now we could be facing a lose/lose situation whereby the pounds 220,000 turbine is built and closes down a business we have invested just short of pounds 750,000 in, but then their predicted pounds 68,000 annual savings prove insufficient to save the Peterlee AKS factory and they close too.

IAN ROSENVINGE, Peterlee Parachute Centre, Shotton Colliery Airfield, County Durham
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 30, 2007
Words:407
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