The replacement for SOUL'S vandalised blimp (see story below) was flying high (at turbine height of 360 ft.) again recently from a site near to the Barmoor proposal site.
Check out the SOUL site for images of the blimp from various viewpoints.
Having seen the blimp, we recommend that you go to Crystal Rig and see the reality of large oil-stained turbines at close range, even if they are 14 metres smaller than the Barmoor/'Moorsyde' variety.
While there, try and stand a mile or so downwind and listen to the noise they make, then imagine living with that as the soundtrack to your life day in, day out, and as the accompaniment to your sleepless nights.
Pendragon Consultants Ltd, the PR company employed by Catamount/Force 9, succeeded in getting a judgement in their favour from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), regarding a newsletter produced by SOUL (Save Our Unspoilt Landscape), the small, unfunded community response group that opposes the Barmoor proposal to build nine 362 ft. turbines on a site between Ford Moss and Lowick.
They have subsequently circulated letters which claim that this judgement discredits any statements from SOUL. This is a strategy that is increasingly being used by the less scrupulous denizens of the wind power business in the attempt to shut down their critics. It is very noticeable that Force 9 are careful not to produce a website or newsletters themselves.
They prefer to use a proxy instead: many local people remarked that the last 'BREWS' (the secretive 'local' group supporting the Barmoor application) newsletter was machine-franked in Manchester. We understand that a Pendragon employee has admitted to the company's role in producing and mailing the 'BREWS' newsletter.
In a judgement on 21 February 2007, a complaint regarding a circular entitled "Wind Power News" about NPower's Nun Wood Wind Farm project was upheld on 7 out of 8 points by the Advertising Standards Authority. NPower, the Toft Hill developer, are one of the leading wind power developers in the UK.
This shows that even transnational power companies can make mistakes!
(See full adjudication)
MAG carefully considered taking Your Energy Ltd., the 'Moorsyde' developer, to the ASA over the only two public documents they have issued in 2 years: their 'Moorsyde' proposal brochure (October 2004) and their 'Community Update' newsletter (August, 2006). Both were so riddled with errors, distortions and untruths that there would been no difficulty in obtaining a decisive judgment against the company.
But, after careful consideration, we concluded that this would achieve nothing more than a day's headlines and the company toning down some of their more ridiculous statements. We decided that it was in our long term interest to allow the company to continue putting out demonstrably inaccurate and untrue material that we could respond to in the public arena.
We have responded to their infrequent press releases and even rarer publications with carefully argued responses in the local and regional press and on this website: see, for example, "Is Anything in this Leaflet True?", our analysis of the company's 'newsletter' on our Home page. We have also produced a Myths page, which deals at length with many of the issues raised in the company's brochure and in their press statements.
Free and rigorous public debate should be the cornerstone of a democratic society. The law provides a range of remedies for parties who consider that they have suffered injury, so why should speculative development companies be allowed to misuse the ASA in order to shut down the expression of opinion by local people? Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, which is incorporated in UK law, states:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
The Barmoor planning application has been submitted to Berwick Borough Council.
Borough planners have confirmed that they will continue to accept representations regarding the application, but you are advised not to delay in submitting your response.
Save Our Unspoilt Landscape [SOUL], the Barmoor campaign group, have information on how you can object to the scheme. See www.soul-online.co.uk.
Catamount/Force 9 Energy have undertaken to provide copies of the full Environmental Statement on disc for a small charge and Non-Technical Summary free of charge:
'printed copies of the Environmental Statement's Non-Technical Summary are available free of charge, and DVD/pdf copies of both copies of the full ES can be purchased for £2'. (Barmoor Brochure)Contact: Freephone 0800 1695290
'An alert went out to airports and flying clubs yesterday [31 July] after a 20ft long helium-filled air balloon went missing from a Northumberland field.
The orange blimp had been custom-built at a cost of £1,200 for the anti-windfarm group SOUL (Save Our Unspoilt Landscape). The group is fighting plans to erect nine turbines at Barmoor, near the villages of Lowick and Ford in North Northumberland.
They took delivery of the blimp on Saturday and anchored it in a trailer on a supporter's farm field, allowing it to rise to 110 metres to illustrate the height of the proposed turbines.
Overnight the blimp was winched down and anchored about 20 metres above the trailer at Dunsall Farm by the side of the B6353 Wooler-Ford-Barmoor road, with plans to fly it at 110 metres for the next six days.
But yesterday morning the blimp, featuring an anti-windfarm logo, was found to have vanished.
The group believe that sabotage is to blame in what they describe "an extremely irresponsible act of vandalism."
SOUL committee member Amanda Worlock said: "The cord had been cut. Being full of helium it would have gone up like a rocket, and trailing 50 metres of cord.
"The blimp cost us a lot of money and we planned to use it in different parts of Northumberland on a number of occasions to show the height of proposed turbines. Otherwise it is difficult for people to visualise the impact the turbines would have on the landscape.
"We have no idea where the blimp is but it is potentially dangerous if it collided with an aircraft.
"We are frustrated because we live in a democracy and people should be allowed their views and what we were doing was taking part in the debate in a rational and reasonable way.
"The police were called and they suspected it was sabotage."
The missing blimp was reported to the Scottish Air Traffic Control centre.
A spokeswoman for the air traffic services company Nats said: "We have issued an notice that a balloon has been released to all those who may be affected such as airports and flying clubs."
PC Neil Scott of Northumbria Police said: " We received a report that a tethered balloon which had been left in a field had gone missing. It is not known how the balloon escaped.
"The Civil Aviation Authority was informed due to the potential danger to aircraft."Police are appealing to anyone with information to contact (01661) 872555 ext 61256.
A public meeting was held at the Lowick Village Hall on Saturday, 26 November to gauge public opinion on a proposal by Catamount/Force 9 Energy Ltd.to build ten 110.5 metre (362 ft.) wind turbines at Barmoor.
Over 180 local people packed the hall to hear speakers from SOUL (Save Our Unspoilt Landscape), a landowner involved in the project and Councillor David Lockie, who attended in an advisory capacity as a member of the Berwick Borough Council planning committee. An overwhelming majority of people in the hall indicated their opposition to the wind turbine project at Barmoor.
Much of the meeting's focus was on the impact of the wind turbines on the local landscape and the potentially damaging effect this would have on tourism and on the local economy as a whole. Ann Lamb, owner of Barmoor Castle Country Park said, "With the wealth of choices available to tourists these days, it is important to have all of the odds in our favour and not give them any reason not to choose Northumberland."
At over 360ft. high, the proposed turbines would be visible for many miles around. Ian Jackson, a local farmer, said, "We as farmers are custodians of the land. All the previous generations of country dwellers have left us all a very valuable legacy and it is our duty to protect, improve and hand it on to future generations to enjoy."
Although the need for new supplies of energy was recognized, for many at the public meeting wind turbines were not seen as an appropriate solution for this area. "Wind turbines are relatively inefficient," said Peter Worlock, "To generate 10% of UK electricity, 7000 wind turbines would be required and nearly 97% of our current conventional power stations would need to continue operating to guarantee power supplies".
Having been given a strong mandate to continue the campaign, the meeting ended with the nomination of members to the SOUL steering committee.
© Laurie Campbell
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