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Riders voice fears over wind farms.

Byline: By Adrian Pearson

HORSE riders have raised safety concerns over the spread of wind farms throughout Northumberland.

The British Horse Society (BHS) has written to Berwick Council to urge caution as planners look at allowing up to 10 turbines to be built at Wandylaw Farm, near Chat-hill.

The society has warned that the spread of wind turbines is deterring horse riders and risks causing serious accidents along ancient bridle paths.

Sue Rogers, Northumberland access officer for the BHS, contacted Berwick Council to ask for a 200m buffer zone between the wind farm and the three bridle paths near the proposed route.

She said: "We have real safety concerns here.

"The wind turbines are unfamiliar and horses are naturally very anxious about unfamiliar objects.

"The rotation of the turbines creates a black line which travels along the ground, sweeping towards the horse.

"I have ridden a horse near a low flying helicopter and the effect is I imagine much the same.

"The horse becomes anxious and jumps to avoid what it thinks is a solid object approaching.

"Added to that is the unaccustomed noise which will also upset some horses.

"We know from riders throughout the country that when faced with wind turbines they will often just not ride there.

"Nationally there are fewer and fewer places to ride safely and of course this is the case in Northumberland."

The society is asking council planners to insist on keeping turbines 200m away from existing horse routes.

The North Northumberland Tourism Association has also contacted the council to object to the planned turbines.

Chairman Derek Smibert said: "We value the landscape and the beautiful views in the countryside and it would not be in the best interest to introduce these wind farms. Members generally feel that the introduction of these turbines would be inconducive to tourism in Northumberland."

The proposed wind farm at Wandylaw has been recommended for approval by planners at Berwick Council.

The officer's recommendation prompted concern from wind farm objectors who accused the council of ignoring the ongoing debate about the neighbouring Middlemoor application.

The Government is holding a public inquiry into the bid to place up to 18 turbines at Middlemoor as objectors try to prevent what would be England's biggest wind farm.

The final decision will be made on tomorrow when the planning committee meets at a special session, to be held at Berwick high School at 6pm.

The council will discuss any conditions for setting up a wind farm at the public meeting.

Councillors also have the option to defer any decision.

CAPTION(S):

OBJECTIONS: The BHS has raised concerns over the safety of horse riders near wind farm developments.; SAFETY ISSUES: Riders have urged that wind turbines are sited at least 200m from bridleways.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 22, 2007
Words:460
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