DEVELOPERS who want to build a wind farm near a Teesdale beauty spot have questioned Government figures which suggest that nearby turbines only operate at onequarter of their efficiency.

Banks Developments wants to create a six-turbine energygeneration site on land close to Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland.

On Monday evening, Stewart Proban and Martyn Earle, from the company, spent more than an hour discussing plans with Hamsterley Parish Council and about 25 members of the public.

One of the questions put to Mr Proban and Mr Earle by parish councillor Jonathan Peacock related to Ofgem figures which showed that the wind farm at nearby Tow Law, which was also created by Banks, operated at just 27.1 per cent efficiency during 2009.

Mr Proban rejected the statistics, saying: “I can assure you that those figures are wrong. I’m not in a position to divulge the actual figures, but they aren’t correct.”

Coun Peacock responded by by asking: “So are you saying that the figures provided by the Government aren’t right?”

“Yes I am,” replied Mr Proban.

The figures were taken from an Ofgem site which logs how much subsidies, in the form of Renewable Obligation Certificates, wind farms claim from the Government.

Last night, a spokesman for Banks said that the company was unable to provide the figures they think are correct as it is commercially sensitive information and the company no longer owns the Tow Law site.

Coun Peacock welcomed the visit from the two Banks representatives, saying: “We are very glad they came and we thank them for coming. We believe that the parish council and members of the public should be kept informed.”

In April, local people were upset after members of Banks and Woodland Parish Council held a meeting without public knowledge.

A presentation from the Banks representatives on Monday revealed that the company was working on a model of six 110m-high turbines at the Windy Bank site and the company hoped to submit a planning application to Durham County Council in the autumn.

Mr Proban said that, because of the Special Protection Area for birds near Windy Bank, the group was undertaking extensive landscape and ecological surveys in and around the area.