GIANT turbines will begin to take to the North-East sky-line as part of a major wind power project in the next few weeks.

Wind farm developer Powergen Renewables is mounting a total of seven 100-metre tall turbines at three rural sites in County Durham and neighbouring Hartlepool, having gone through the planning process with the relevant councils.

The 2.75 mega-watt (MW) turbines will be the biggest and most powerful mounted to date in the UK mainland, as part of a £120m programme to boost renewable energy production.

Each tower, which should be operating early next year, will stand 60 metres, carrying 40-metre long blades.

Two will be erected at both Holmside Hall Farm, between Stanley and Lanchester, in north-west Durham, and at Crowshouse Moor, south of Harehill Farm, between Shotton Colliery and Thornley, in east Durham.

A further three will go up at High Volts Farm, between Sheraton and Hart, on the Hartlepool side of the boundary with County Durham.

Although capable of operating at 2.75MW, three will be down-rated to 2.325MW for commercial and regulatory reasons.

Project developer Martin Roberts, of Powergen Renewables, said: "These turbines will be capable of supplying clean, green electricity to 4,500 local homes from the power of the wind alone.

"They will also displace 9,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year."