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An application to build the first wind farm in the West Midlands has been lodged, prompting campaigners to step up their battle against the proposals.
Wind Prospect has applied into build six 126 metre wind-turbines in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside – and the firm has also applied to built an 80 metre anemometry mast on the Bradford Estate, near Brineton, to assess wind speeds before the turbines are constructed.
Stop the Turbines Action Group (Stag) says the project will ruin the historic countryside and the turbines, standing taller than Big Ben, will dominate the skyline for miles.
Wind Prospect put in its application on Decemer 13 but Tony Lendon, a spokesman for the group, said locals had been in limbo for 18 months waiting for the application to be lodged.
“It’s all happening now,” he said, “We’ve got something to stand up and fight now, it’s a case of getting on with it.”
Made up of a network of local residents from the surrounding villages, including experts in planning law and environmental issues, Stag has built a portfolio of evidence to fight the plans and now has until February 4 to present their 200 page document to South Staffordshire Council.
“Our conultants have to go through everything and we’re hoping to get support from all of the surrounding villages. We have a meeting at Church Eaton village Church on Wednesday And we’re meeting with parish councils.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of people and I think 95 per cent are against this. There will always be a few who a for it but most are against it.”
One of the main arguments put forward by Stag is the destruction of the countryside to build the six turbines. Included in the plans is a 1.5km access road to allow the construction and maintenance of the wind farm.
However with the anemometry mast due to take measurements for two years to assess the site, Mr Lendon said it wasn’t even known if the site was suitable.
“Things are still up in the air, they don’t even know if the site is viable. They say in their application it will be a vast intrusion into the countryside for the sake for the sake of 25 years.
“You can’t reinstate the countryside after 25-years, it will be gone forever. This is an old Saxon area, there are Saxon dwellings and lanes, there’s a lot here of historical interest.
“If they widen the roads, which are narrow and winding, then they’ll be gone forever.” Mr Lendon also said the fields in the area were alluvial flood meadows, home to more than 240 species of wild flowers including the rare snake’s-head fritillary.
He said: “This is the most northern site for these meadow flowers in Europe, they were discovered by William Pitt in 1784.’’
The fields, known as Mottey Meadows, received Natural England status a few years ago.
Wind Prospect said the local community would benefit from the project which would include an annual contribution of £24,000 To a Community Trust Fund.
Paul Grimshaw, development manager at Wind Prospect Developments Limited, said: “The project has been subject to detailed Environmental Impact Studies, which conclude that the site is suitable for a wind farm of this scale.
“Indeed, when considering proximity to houses, this site is one of the few in South Staffordshire that could accommodate a small wind farm.
“The UK is lucky enough to have a vast resource of wind energy and this proposal would make a significant contribution to onshore wind energy generation in the Midlands region.”
Plans are due to go before South Staffordshire planners before April.
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