PROPOSALS for two wind turbines on farmland in rural County Durham have been condemned as a “damaging and inappropriate development.”

The scheme is proposed for a large pasture field at Crake Scarr Farm, Hamsterley, near Bishop Auckland.

Developers say that although the proposed turbines, with a tip height of 46m, would introduce a different use of land to the area, they would be intrinsically linked with the farm.

The scheme's design and access statement, prepared by Wetherby-based turbine supplier Earthmill, states the turbines would “...harvest the natural resources of the land much in the same way agricultural activities do.”

The report adds: “The proposed wind turbines would satisfy the energy demands of the farm by providing a source of renewable energy that would also allow the farm business to operate in a more environmentally and financially sustainable manner.

“The whole thrust of this application is based on climate change mitigation.”

However, the scheme is being opposed by the Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Action Group (Hugag), which is also battling plans to site five 115m-high turbines at nearby Windy Bank.

Spokesman Peter Shield said: “We do not routinely object to all wind turbine applications and we have not opposed a number of small installations, such as those at Toft Hill and Crane Row.

“However, the two proposed at Crake Scarr are of a very different nature.”

He added: “Our objective is to protect the wildlife, landscape and tourism potential of the Hamsterley and Upper Gaunless Valley and this proposal, in an open, elevated position and within 2km of the Windy Bank site, strikes us as being completely inappropriate.

“Industrialising Teesdale by the introduction of commercial wind turbines risks destroying one of the county's most precious assets – and this new attack only confirms the ongoing threat of turbines progressively invading the Durham dales.

“Hugag are utterly against this new proposal and will be opposing it in the strongest possible terms.”

Full details of the proposal, including photomontages, are available via the Durham County Council website.

The final date by which any comments can be made on the scheme is June 13.