LEADING conservationist Professor David Bellamy led a rally yesterday to protest at plans to create wind farms throughout a county.

Professor Bellamy is a vocal campaigner against the proliferation of turbines, which he says produce little energy and save even less in carbon dioxide emissions.

The event attracted more than 100 people to the tiny village of Town Kelloe, County Durham, yesterday.

Residents there are worried about a proposal for four turbines at nearby Trimdon Grange, in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency.

Speaking at the event, Professor Bellamy described wind farms as unsightly, noisy, harmful to wildlife and detrimental to house prices.

He produced figures that he said showed that the 1,100 turbines in this country work for only 24.1 per cent of the time.

He said: "How do you boil your kettle or run the local hospital when the wind's not blowing?

"The answer is you can't."

Coal and gas-fired power stations have to be kept in a constant state of readiness, he said, even when the wind is blowing in case they are needed, which uses up energy.

Professor Bellamy, who favours tidal power as a source of renewable energy, added: "Why should every British person be paying through the nose for messing up the countryside?

"I'm very proud to be an Englishman, but my pride is going rapidly downhill. What are we doing buying these monstrous things from multinational companies?"

Protestors at the rally represented ten different groups in County Durham where wind farms are proposed.

Other concerns include the potential dangers of landslip on nearby ground with old mine workings underneath.

A spokesman for EDF Energy, which is proposing the Trimdon Grange development, said the four turbines there would supply the annual energy requirements of 3,145 homes and make carbon dioxide savings of 11,700 tonnes a year.

He said: "Even through it's only up to four turbines, that's a significant saving."

The company has organised an exhibition about the farm for residents on September 16, from 11am to 8pm, at Trimdon Grange Community Centre to answer any questions.