CAMPAIGNERS fighting proposals that could see England’s biggest wind farm built in the region have had their voices heard by the energy and climate change minister.

The protestors were waiting for Charles Hendry yesterday when the minister visited Dalkia’s £40m biomass generator in Chilton, County Durham.

Mr Hendry met the group to discuss their concerns for the Isles – a scheme that could see energy firm E.ON build up to 45 wind turbines east of Newton Aycliffe.

Campaigners Sue Fox and Joe Hall said Mr Hendry agreed with them to some extent on the issue of subsidy, but there were many other concerns for E.ON’s proposals.

Mr Hall said: “E.ON stands to gain £260m in subsidy which the taxpayer has to pay.”

Mrs Fox, who lives in Bradbury, on the edge of the proposed wind farm, said: “This is the wrong place to build a wind farm. County Durham is doing more than its fair share when it comes to renewable energy and the Isles is a protected site – the planners have already said there shouldn’t even be so much as a telecoms mast put up.

“When I first heard about the plan, I thought about green energy and that perhaps it was a good idea, but the technology is flawed – they are so inefficient.”

E.ON has drawn up three proposals: for 29, 30 and 45 turbines, the largest of which could generate 115MW of electricity a year and contribute about £1m a year in business rates, as well as £460,000 to a community fund.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hendry said: “It was very useful to hear their concerns.

“I tried to reassure them that part of the way going forward was to have a balanced energy policy. We are looking at how we reduce the subsidy for onshore wind, so that will mean some projects won’t be viable.”

The meeting was arranged by Phil Wilson MP, who is also campaigning against the scheme for the Isles which is in the heart of his Sedgefield constituency.