Romans Join Fight Against Wind Turbine Plans

Locals in the north of England will use their areas rich Roman heritage to fight a major electricity suppliers plans to build wind turbines near their village.

RWE npower Renewables one of the UK’s leading renewable energy providers wants to build up to six turbines as part of its Stobhill Wind Farm development. The farm would generate enough electricity to power between 4,800 and 7,300 UK households every year.

The company has already conducted preliminary investigations into the site and submitted a scoping report to Durham County Council. A full planning application is expected before the end of 2009.

But residents oppose the plans, saying the turbines would be built within 400 metres of houses in the one-pub village of Bolam, threatening the areas serenity.

Area Needs More Fieldwork, Says Archaeologist

A campaign group, Bolam and Area Action Group (BAAG), which is fighting the proposal, says it hopes the council will grant conservation status to the village, thus protecting it from the development.

Archaeologist Niall Hammond, from the County Durham-based firm Archaeo-Environment, told the Teesdale Mercury that the land earmarked for development is a important historical site because Dere Street a major Roman road from York to Hadrians Wall is located just to the east of the village.

He said more fieldwork was needed to confirm Bolans prehistoric and Roman significance. [The current] absence of evidence is most likely due to medieval and later plough activity, and lack of fieldwork in the area as soils, topography and proximity to Dere Street make both late prehistoric and Roman activity in the area highly likely, he said.

The wider area of the middle Tees valley surrounding Bolam contains significant evidence for both prehistoric and Roman activity. Two cropmark sites are known from aerial photographs to the north-east of the village and which currently have no identification, and these may represent evidence of now-buried occupation sites of later prehistory or Roman periods. A Roman marching camp is known as a cropmark from Sandforth Moor, less than a kilometre to the south.