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College set to build 200ft wind mast  

A wind farm could be created on fields next to the M6 in the West Midlands after plans were put forward to start the ball rolling with a temporary mast.

The proposals could see a huge weather mast almost 200ft high installed on greenbelt land at an agricultural college in Penkridge, near Wolverhampton, for up to two years. The mast would be used to measure wind speeds as a test of just how suitable the site is for a permanent wind farm to be created at a later date.

Rodbaston College has applied to South Staffordshire Council for permission to put up the temporary mast, which measures 197ft tall.

The district council’s regulatory committee will be asked to give the all-clear when it meets next week and council planning officers have advised them to give permission.

Wind Direct will be erecting the mast on behalf of Rodbaston College.

A report for the regulatory committee states: “The proposal may have a minor impact on the visual amenity of the green belt.

“However, the level of impact, particularly to the character and appearance of the area, is reduced by the temporary nature of the proposal.”

The report also notes the proposal must be considered as separate to any potential wind farm development.

There are currently two other sites in the county being considered as potential locations for wind farms – the former Bleak House opencast mining site between Burntwood and Heath Hayes, and land at Bagots Park near Abbots Bromley.

Both proposals have attracted fierce criticism from surrounding residents, many of whom say the towering turbines would be a scar on the local landscape.

People living close to both sites have named noise, a negative impact on wildlife and a detrimental effect on property prices as reasons for their opposition.

The proposed mast at Rodbaston will be discussed at the meeting of South Staffordshire Council’s regulatory committee on Tuesday.

Express & Star

14 May 2008

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