A formal application to build a £24 million wind farm near Burton has been submitted to planners, it has emerged.
The latest stage of the bid to build eight 300ft wind turbines at Bagot’s Park, near Abbots Bromley, was revealed at a meeting of East Staffordshire Borough Council yesterday, when members approved a separate application to erect a second 70-metre-high weather mast at the site in Dunstall Lane.
Natural energy company Airtricity wants to erect the mast for an 18-month period to test the effect of surrounding woodland on wind flow to establish the overall suitability of the area as a natural energy resource.
However, planning officials warned councillors that they were only allowed to make a decision this week on the erection of the second mast at the site – even though the authority has now received a formal application to turn the land into a wind farm. The plans were unveiled in September last year, two years after a similar plan folded.
A report released by the authority prior to the meeting at Burton Town Hall, stated that permission had been granted to temporarily erect masts on the site since 2001, but previously they had not been higher than 50 metres.
In November, the authority approved plans to allow the initial 70-metre mast to go up – approximately a mile from the proposed new site.
However, the plan has angered villages, with a total of 24 letters of objection submitted to the authority – citing reasons including impact on wildlife, danger to aircraft, loss of land value and ‘because the second mast would set a precedent for the development of the site as a wind farm’.
The plan is also being opposed by Blithfield Parish Council, Marchington Parish Council and the Ramblers’ Association.
However, councillors who inspected the site earlier in the day dismissed the concerns of residents, and said they were happy for the mast plan to go ahead.
Trevor Hathaway said: “I looked at the view this morning across this land and the most obstructive thing I could see was the power lines, and I am sure that a mast would be far less obvious.
“It’s quite possible that its presence on this land for the next 18 months will prove that the area is not suitable as the site of a wind farm after all.”
A spokesman for the council confirmed that a planning application for a full wind farm on the Bagots Farm site had been received, but it was ‘in its early stages’ and no date for consideration by the planning applications committee had yet been fixed.
By Andy Done-Johnson
23 January 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding