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MP enters wind farm debate with demand to give ‘right of veto’

An MP has joined the debate over plans for a controversial wind farm in a village near Uttoxeter.

Tory Michael Fabricant has expressed ‘caution’ concerning the proposed development in part of his constituency at Bagots Park near Abbots Bromley.

He has contacted Government ministers with a proposal for an exclusion zone in a bid to overcome the opposition of families in the area.

Mr Fabricant has written a letter to constituents in which he says: “Personally, I am always very cautious about the siting of wind farms and believe they are unacceptable if the overall environmental impact will be negative.”

At the suggestion of voters he has written to ministers at the Department for Energy and Climate Change suggesting the law is altered establishing an exclusion zone where residents within two kilometres of a proposed wind farm should have a right of veto with the planning application.

Mr Fabricant said: “While wind farms can provide a valuable source of natural energy, there are costs to the environment both in terms of the materials used to manufacture the windmills and cabling and the immediate effect on the local environment in terms of visual impact and noise.

“As with all policy matters, there needs to be a careful analysis of the pros and cons of any wind-farm project. I shall await the government’s response to the exclusion zone with interest.”

Opponents of the scheme, which has to be considered by East Staffordshire Borough Council, claim property will be devalued and fear the turbines could spark noise and health issues.

The applicant, SSE Renewables, the renewable energy development division of Scottish and Southern Energy, has dismissed the claims which it has described as “myths.”

It wants permission to install eight 110-metre turbines which it claims could supply power to 10,000 homes – a quarter of East Staffordshire households.

SSE states that the wind farm could generate £3 million for the local economy and 25 jobs during construction.

Ross Easton, from SSE Renewables, said: “We had mixed views at the drop-in sessions. We have had people for the wind farm and we have had people against.”

A company spokesman added: “The eight turbines being proposed will not have an effect on the micro climate.

“Current scientific opinion believes that only where there is a large number of wind turbines placed close together will there be an effect on the micro climate. This will not be the case for Bagots Park.”

The company has already held two drop-in sessions at Marchington Woodlands and Abbots Bromley Village Halls in an attempt to allay any fears of families.