THE Tory candidate for North East mayor has branded his Lib Dem opponent’s flagship policy “half-baked”.

Guy Renner-Thompson has questioned Aidan King’s proposal to build the country’s biggest onshore wind farm across rural Northumberland and County Durham.

Dr King, a junior doctor at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, has made the wind farm pledge the centrepiece of his mayoral election campaign.

READ MORE: First mayoral hustings kicks off election campaign

But, as the race to become the region’s new political figurehead hots up ahead of May’s election, Mr Renner-Thompson has cast doubt over whether it would be possible to deliver such a development across waste swathes of land between Newton Aycliffe, Barnard Castle and Hexham.

The Tory hopeful, who is a councillor in Northumberland, said: “Dr King has repeated his plans for Britain’s biggest wind farm across Northumberland and Durham, but we haven’t seen any detail, or whether he will consult with the communities affected. How will he buy the land? How will he connect to the electricity grid?

“Much of the area is part of the unspoilt North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Offshore wind farms are the way forward, they can be bigger and the wind is more reliable. I hope these half-baked plans never see the light of day.”

Last year, the Government tweaked its rules around onshore wind projects in an effort to boost efforts to transition towards renewable energy, easing a de facto ban that allowed schemes to be blocked if there was just one objection to them.

However critics have warned that ministers must go further, with industry body RenewableUK reporting that just one new wind turbine has gone live across England since the start of 2023 and that the planning system remains “stacked against onshore wind”.

Dr King, who last unveiled “I’ve got wind” as a humorous campaign slogan, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “My plan to build Britain’s largest onshore wind farm would transform our regional economy. It would provide an energy asset for future generations and help struggling farmers with a new revenue stream that will last for years to come.

“While the Conservative government has been willing to sit idly by as energy costs rise and our economy stutters, my plan would help reduce energy costs for residents in our region and get our flatlining economy back on track.

“Liberal Democrats have a track record of delivering the best deal for residents and the money generated from this scheme would lead to community investment that will benefit towns and villages across the North East.”

Also standing in May’s election are Labour’s Kim McGuinness, independent Jamie Driscoll, the Green Party’s Andrew Gray, and Reform UK’s Paul Donaghy.

After the start of hustings last week, the candidates are next due to meet on stage at Newcastle Civic Centre on Wednesday evening, March 13, for a debate organised by the One Million Women and Girls campaign.