NEIL Carmichael, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stroud, has hit back at a Northumberland action group who has called him a 'hypocrite'.

Controversy has been whipped up at Mr Carmichael's farm at Bavington Hill Head near Kirkdale, which he farmed for 10 years before moving south in 1999.

He has agreed to let RWE Npower erect four 125m-high turbines on land at the farm.

But his stance on renewable energy has been criticised by action group Credit (Campaign for Responsible Energy Development in Tynedale) which has been fighting a series of wind farm projects in the area.

Credit claims Mr Carmichael is happy for turbines to go up on his North East land while refusing to give support to proposals by Stroud-energy firm Ecotricity for eight 120m-high turbines at Berkeley Vale, Stinchcombe.

Karen Archbold, credit secretary, said: "Why does he think that what is good enough for Gloucestershire does not apply in Northumberland?

"After all, he is not going to have to live with the disturbance from the turbines here because he is 300 miles away."

But Mr Carmichael told the SNJ that he supported renewable energy and wind turbines – but not on or near Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

"The land at my farm is a disused quarry and far from an AONB," he said.

"I will not support turbines on or near AONBs but do support alternative forms of energy."