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Wind turbine plans ‘thin end of wedge’  

Credit:  Staffordshire Newsletter, www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk 12 August 2010 ~~

A penkridge parish councillor has warned the floodgates will open if two wind turbines are built at Rodbaston College.

Lancaster-based Wind Direct Ltd submitted an application for the turbines last year but it was refused by South Staffordshire Council’s regulatory committee in April this year.

Now the company has appealed against the decision in a bid to get the 415-feet turbines installed on land near the college buildings.

Some 42 people objected and the authority received a 51-name petition. Among their concerns are the fact that the land is in a conservation area and in the Green Belt, noise, health issues and the effect on birds and bats in the area.

Officers had recommended the application be approved but members of the committee rejected it.

One objector wrote: “The proposed wind turbines would be massive structures sited close to the canal and would dominate the view from it, towering over the canalside hedges and trees and visible along many miles of canal.

“The enormous height of these turbines would make them a dominant feature of the landscape prominently visible over many square miles of Green Belt, and it is hard to envisage any other structure that could have more impact on the openness of the countryside or more clearly constitute urban industrial encroachment.”

A report to the committee said: the application should be approved because “on balance the contribution the proposed development would make towards meeting national and regional renewable energy generation targets overcomes the detrimental impact of development of this scale and nature within the Green Belt where it is inappropriate development and because the renewable energy generation benefits also outweight the visual intrusion int the green belt and the character of the landscape”.

Penkridge Parish Councillor Bevan Craddock said: “They are going to affect the bats and there are lots in that area.

“It’s the thin end of the wedge. If they get permission there are bigger farmers who will be wanting them and the cumulative effect on birds and wildlife will be far worse than just having one or two.” Residents and other consultees have until August 31 to comment on the plans.

Source:  Staffordshire Newsletter, www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk 12 August 2010

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