Neighbouring councils are waging war on controversial plans to build a wind farm over their borders. It comes as opponents are given fresh ammunition with a new report revealing that wind farms in England are not producing as much electricity as the Government hoped they would.
Nuon Renewables wants to erect nine wind turbines on farmland near the villages of Knighton and Bearstone.
The firm has already submitted a planning application to North Shropshire District Council to erect a temporary mast for up to three years to measure wind speed on the site.
But it lies close to Shropshire’s border with Staffordshire and less than a mile from the boundary with Cheshire.
Loggerheads Parish Council announced its plans to object to the measuring mast at a public meeting it hosted on Thursday, December 7 in Knighton.
Now Newcastle Borough Council has thrown its hat into the ring by objecting to the proposal, and Crewe and Nantwich are expected to follow suit.
A spokesman for Newcastle Borough Council confirmed the decision had been made by the planning committee on Tuesday, with objections on three grounds including the appearance of the mast.
She said: “The mast would negatively impact on the intrinsic character of the surrounding countryside and the landscape, including land in the borough of Newcastle.”
The spokesman added the council felt the application was not detailed enough to allow a proper visual impact assessment.
During the same meeting, Newcastle Borough councillors rejected plans for similar wind measuring devices to be installed at Maer Hills, just five miles away from the Knighton site.
The row comes hot on the heels of a Renewable Energy Foundation’s (REF) report that all wind farms in England are running at less than 30 per cent of their capacity.
And it revealed that inland wind farms were less efficient than those offshore.
Tony Ward, aged 56, who lives with his wife Tami, aged 52, at Bearstone Farm, half a mile from the proposed wind farm, said the report by the REF showed just how inefficient wind energy was.
He said: “It is a really relevant study.
“If we have to have wind farms, the place to put them isn’t inland, particularly not near people’s houses.”
But he said the Government had invested so much time and money in promoting wind farms as a major source of renewable energy that it would be unlikely to back down because of the study.
Dr Ward said: “I don’t think the study will make any difference to our making a case to stop the wind farm, but it gives us a moral victory and may perhaps persuade the planners this is not the right way forward.”
Dr Ward, who is director of the department of rehabilitation medicine based at the Haywood Hospital in Burslem, added the wind farm could have wider implications.
He said: “We have young horses and one doesn’t know what effect the wind turbines will have on them.
“I would not wish to put myself, my family and my neighbours at risk of things we just don’t know about.”
Roger Wytcherley, of action group Vortex (Veto on Rural Turbine Expansion), also welcomed the REF’s findings.
He said: “Vortex welcomes the findings because it adds strength to our campaign.”
Mr Wytcherley lives in Napley Heath, and his home overlooks the proposed site.
He added: “The frustrating thing for us is that wind power doesn’t actually work. The negative side completely outweighs the positive.”
Vortex is holding a drop-in session to raise public awareness at Norton-in-Hales Village Hall on Tuesday, from 7pm to 9pm.
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