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Wind farm scheme at Maer Hills runs out of energy

Plans to build a wind farm at a North Staffordshire beauty spot appear to have finally been abandoned.

Renewable energy company West Coast Energy has removed its wind monitoring mast at Maer Hills and announced it has no further interest in the site.

The news has been welcomed by members of the Maer Hills Protection Group, who successfully fought earlier plans for a wind farm at the site.

Newcastle Borough Council refused Claymoss Properties’ proposals to build four 400ft wind turbines in February last year.

And, while West Coast Energy won permission to retain the mast on the site for a further 12 months in January, it has decided against lodging any further application.

It is not known whether this is because the wind measurements at Maer Hills proved unpromising.

A spokesman said confirmed the mast had been taken down.

“We have no further interest in the site and we will not be pursuing any further plans,” he added.

The Maer Hills Protection Group has been fighting the proposals since they first emerged in 2006, through a series of events.

Claymoss’ planning application eventually prompted around 2,500 letters of objection from residents.

And chairman Alan Parton said members would welcome this latest victory.

He added: “The mast has been there since September 2008 and we finally saw it taken down last week. We’re very pleased. The place looks much more natural now.”

While Mr Parton was glad to see the test mast removed, he said he did not know for certain what the future held for Maer Hills.

But he said future developers would face a real battle in pushing through any plans for a wind farm.

He added: “I think Claymoss spent more than £1 million preparing their planning application, and their plans were refused.

“Anyone else willing to put in another expensive application would have to deal with the 13 reasons the planning committee gave for refusing the Claymoss plans.

“It is a small site and it is only 50 metres away from people’s homes, and so they’d have to deal with problems like that.

“So it might be better for these companies to look elsewhere in the country, or look at off-shore wind farms.

“Hopefully the Maer Hills site will be retained as managed forest now, which is all our group has ever wanted.”