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Fresh attempt to win wind farm approval

The company behind controversial plans for a new wind farm in East Staffordshire are offering residents a day trip to Scotland as part of a last-ditch bid to win support.

Ireland-based Airtricity is offering to take up to 50 Abbots Bromley residents on a visit to its Dalwinton wind farm, near Dumfries, on Saturday, June 14.

The coach will depart from opposite The Crown pub at 8am to start the four-hour drive to south west Scotland, and will be accompanied by company officials.

But protesters have accused the firm of launching another public relations stunt to win residents over.

East Staffordshire Borough Council leader Alex Fox, who is opposing the plan in his role as Bagots ward councillor, said the trip would not demonstrate how a wind farm would impact on the proposed Bagots Park site.

He said: “It really doesn’t matter what people think about a wind farm in Scotland, because this application is for a wind farm in Abbots Bromley, and the two sites are completely different.

“It is inappropriate to put eight wind turbines on the Abbots Bromley site, and that will remain the case, regardless of what people think of another farm elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, Crown ward councillor Robert Hardwick said the company would use the visit to push its own line forward.

He said: “As long as people remember why Airtricity are undertaking this exercise and go with an informed mind they may get something out of the visit.

“As to whether they will get a truly balanced view of the impact it will have on the environment and households that will be immediately affected by the Bagots Park Wind Farm proposal is doubtful.”

The plans for the company’s proposed wind farm currently hang in the balance after planning staff at the borough council revealed that they had been bombarded by letters both supporting and opposing the bid.

The trip is the latest bid by the company to win over Uttoxeter residents after previous efforts left bosses with egg on their face.

In March, Airtricity came under fire after its paid consultants became heavy handed with a couple who refused to sign their petition.

Then, in April, the company denied bank-rolling an eco-friendly website, despite it being registered to one of its own consultants.

By Andy Done-Johnson

Burton Mail