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Turbine brings cash windfall for landowner; Farming.

Byline: Karen Dent

A NORTH East farmer, who reluctantly decided to erect a wind turbine on his land, is now considering adding to it because of the financial benefits.

John Littlefair, who farms at Home Hill, near Hart Village, Hartlepool, took the plunge three years ago and agreed to take a 100m tall turbine and base station on his arable land.

It is one of three turbines built on neighbouring farms and owned by energy company Eon. The structures are all taller than Nelson's Column, and between them, they are capable of producing enough electricity to power 7,500 homes via the National Grid.

Mr Littlefair is now in discussions to add more turbines on his land.

He said: "Initially, I wasn't very keen on the idea, but I was offered a very nice package and decided to go for it both from an environmental and financial perspective. The main thing is whether you like them or not and it is very much a commercial decision.

There is a lot of upheaval at first, but there are monetary gains to be made.

"At the end of the day, you've got to be prepared for that upheaval and criticism from others.

"As a landowner I've got no problem with it at all - it fits in quite nicely with our cropping and the farming enterprise, and the yield per acre is very nice. In 25 years' time, when the contract runs out, it can be taken away and you've just got a normal arable field.

No-one will know it has been there."

His solicitor, Neil Stevenson of Latimer Hinks, said other farmers considering installing turbines should weigh up the pros and cons - but they should realise they will not make immediate financial gains from the enterprise.

He said: "This is an exciting, dynamic and fast-moving industry, and the terms being offered are improving all the time. My advice to anyone who is considering installing wind turbines would be to seek good professional advice and be patient, because these things do take time to come to fruition and you need to take a long-term view."

Initially, I wasn't very keen on the idea, but I was offered a very nice package
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2009
Words:368
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