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Blow for villagers as wind farm firm finalises plans  

Credit:  By Roger Houldcroft, Uttoxeter Post & Times, www.thisisuttoxeter.co.uk 13 September 2010 ~~

An energy firm has finalised a planning application to build a £30 million wind farm near an historic village.

SSE Renewables, formerly Airtricity, sought permission for a wind farm development at Bagot’s Park near Abbots Bromley and the Staffordshire Way footpath in 2008.

East Staffordshire Borough Council – which has already approved two wind testing masts at the site – had requested further information which the Reading-based company has now provided.

The authority is expected to consider the proposal, which will involve eight 110-metre high turbines, before the end of the year.

SSE bosses will hold two drop-in sessions to update neighbouring families next week.

Diagrams have been drawn up to show how the development will look and a project manager will be on hand to answer questions.

The plans have sparked protests from residents who fought off a similar scheme by renewable energy firm ABEnergy four years ago.

Roger Jarman, chairman of Abbots Bromley Parish Council, said: “I think it’s important for people to go and see what is planned.

“There are concerns. We will be making representations as a council.”

Mr Jarman said families in the immediate area were concerned about a number of issues including the visual impact and background noise.

He said: “They should be putting these wind farms where there is wind and that is usually by the sea.”

SSE Renewables claims the park could supply power to 10,000 homes – a quarter of East Staffordshire households. It states that the wind farm could generate £3 million for the local economy and 25 jobs during the construction process.

However, members of the Abbots Bromley And Marchington Woodlands Wind Farm Action Group remain adamant the countryside setting is the wrong location.

Mark Newstead, who formed the group in 2000, said: “It has been quiet about the scheme for more than a year but there is so much money involved we knew it had not gone away. It all comes down to subsidy chasing. Whether the testing masts show wind strength is high or not a company can be awarded vast amounts of money.

“In another 10 or 15 years I am sure the truth will out but until then it is up to groups up and down the country to keep hammering home the inadequacy of inland wind farms.”

Nigel Harman, who is against the scheme, said he would be attending the drop in sessions.

The 67-year-old, of Marchington Woodlands, said: “It had gone very quiet and we had hoped it meant there wasn’t enough wind so we were dismayed to find it is still going ahead with a full application.

“It’s going to be absolutely massive and ruin our chances of ever selling our houses.” However, East Staffordshire Alliance for Cleaner Energy which was set up to support the wind farm, believes residents should back the eco-project.

Mike King, of Abbots Bromley, said: “I can understand why people might be weary but I am afraid it is mostly because of this unfortunate not in my backyard syndrome.

“The application site is far enough away and will not cause enough disruption to our village for us to be concerned.”

The first surgery will take place at Marchington Woodlands Village Hall on Tuesday from 2pm to 8pm.

A further meeting will be held during the same times on the following day at Abbots Bromley Village Hall.

Source:  By Roger Houldcroft, Uttoxeter Post & Times, www.thisisuttoxeter.co.uk 13 September 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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