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Wind turbine row blows up

A giant wind turbine taller than Blackpool Tower could dominate the skyline across Wolverhampton, it has been revealed.

The huge structure is planned to be installed in Essington to generate energy, with the news coming just months after plans for a smaller turbine in a villager’s back garden were thrown out amid widespread opposition.

Ibstock Bricks, the company behind the proposals, is looking to install a permanent multi-million pound wind turbine in the village which could be more than 170 metres high.

It has lodged plans for an initial 40-metre temporary mast to measure wind flow at Ibstock’s quarry site in Warstone Road for 18 months before then seeking to install its towering replacement.

Councillor David Clifft, chairman of Essington Parish Council, said residents were alarmed by the bid and feared a turbine would be both an eyesore and noisy. The village already has 28 mobile phone masts.

“We have been told by Ibstock that, if data supported the erection of a wind turbine on the site, a planning application would be submitted,” he said today. “We have been told it could be as high as 171 metres which is 14 metres taller than Blackpool Tower. That is the maximum height and 80 metres is the minimum.”

Stephen Hardy, head of property at brick-makers Ibstock, said it had identified four sites in the UK including Essington for a turbine.

“We’ve got an agreement with a wind operator to set up a temporary mast and measure the data and make absolutely sure there is consistent wind power at the sites and that turbines will work before we invest several million pounds,” he added.

A public meeting has been organised at Essington council chambers in Hobnock Road from 7.30pm on Tuesday.

Wind turbines are heavily used in Denmark and convert the energy of the wind turning its rotor blades into electricity.

By Victoria Nash

Express & Star

31 August 2007