Objectors say a second 70 metre-high test mast on the site of a proposed wind farm in Bagots Park is just not needed – and accuse energy company bosses of trying to wear down objections to their intended £24m scheme.
Two dozen residents lodged their opposition to the application for a second cylindrical, galvanised steel monitoring mast, known as an anemometer, on the rural site near Abbots Bromley.It comes just two months after the first was given approval by borough council planners.
The masts are part of the development proposals by Airtricity, which ultimately wants to construct a £24 million wind farm with up to eight 350 foot-high turbine, and says it needs to carry out measurements and tests on wind speeds and prevailing conditions.
Abbots Bromley Parish Council told planners: “We have concerns about the location of this tower and the potential impact on herons as well as further loss of visual amenity for users of the popular Staffordshire Way.”
And Blithfield Parish Council asked: “Why is there a need for a second mast when the first application, having been approved, is presumably correctly positioned?”
Local councillor Alex Fox said: “I can see no justification for this.
“Surely one mast is sufficient to check the quality of the wind supply?”
One resident claimed the application appeared to be ‘a tactic to induce objector fatigue’.
But borough planning officers said their advice was the same as for the previous mast – that it was slender enough not to have a big visual impact, and granting permission would not presuppose any decision about the full-scale wind farm.
A full application for that scheme has only just been received by the council.
“This proposal is in accordance with the Government’s technical advice,” planning committee members were told.
“Whilst it is acknowledged that the data from the monitoring equipment on the mast would inform the technical suitability of the site for the operation of wind turbines, any decision to grant temporary planning permission would not prejudice any decision that the council may subsequently make.”
The mast was given temporary consent for 18 months, subject to the council receiving details of the colour of the mast to reduce its visual impact, submission and approval of details of bird diverters, and a requirement to comply with protected species legislation.
24 January 2008
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