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Campaigners join forces to protest at West Midlands wind farm plans  

Credit:  By Matt Lloyd, Birmingham Post, www.birminghampost.net 22 January 2011 ~~

Campaigners are gearing up to fight wind farm proposals at three sites in the Midlands.

Groups in Staffordshire and Worcestershire all say the locations of the developments are wrong and will cause significant environmental damage.

However the firms behind the applications in Brineton, near Shifnal; Haunton, near Lichfield; and Evesham, Worcestershire; say the sites have been carefully selected.

Tony Lendon, from the Stop Turbines Action Group (Stag) in Brineton has been campaigning for more than 18 months to stop the construction of six 126-metre turbines.

An application for the project, which includes an 80-metre anemometry mast, was submitted to South Staffordshire District Council by firm Wind Prospect last month.

Mr Lendon and his group have since held meetings to discuss fighting the plans and have appealed to local residents to oppose the application.

Mr Lendon said: “We’re delivering letters to all the local villages telling them what it’s all about and listing 12 points on planning grounds to oppose the plans.

“We also need to raise £20,000 to pay for our consultants.”

The campaigners claim the Brineton plans would see the destruction of open countryside dating back to Saxon times, and have a detrimental impact on nature reserve Motty Meadows, all for the sake of a 25-year project.

“For 25 years it will ruin the Saxon countryside forever more.”

Paul Grimshaw, development manager at Wind Prospect Developments Ltd, said environmental studies had been carried out and the countryside would be restored at the end of the wind farm’s life.

“We hope people who are made aware of the application will balance the national need for renewable energy alongside the localised visual impacts, and consider supporting the scheme,” he said. “The access road would take up to eight acres of land but this would be reinstated at the end of the operational period of the wind farm. During this time, the wind farm would be generating much needed renewable electricity.

“The bypass has been proposed so that the ‘straight mile’ can remain unchanged. This bypass could have the added benefit of reducing agricultural traffic along the straight mile once the wind farm is built.”

Mr Grimshaw said the company had looked at environmental issues when proposing changes to the access roads. He said widening of roads will be temporary as widened verges will be reinstated with topsoil and re-seeded.

“Extensive ecological studies show that the proposal will not have a detrimental effect on the Motty Meadows and the species that live there. These findings have been supported by the Environment Agency,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Vale Villages Against Scottish Power (VVASP) group welcomed a decision by Wychavon District Council to recommend refusal on the application to build five 126-metre turbines near Evesham.

The plans come before planners on January 27.

Rod Stroud, chairman of VVASP, said: “We are extremely pleased to hear of the council’s planning officer’s recommendation on the wind farm application.

“VVASP is not against wind farms as a renewable energy source but believes in the right renewable technology in the right environment.

“The Vale of Evesham is not the right environment for 126-metre wind turbines.”

In Haunton, Staffordshire, a decision on a four turbine plan by German firm Prowind is due to be decided on within weeks.

Campaigners this week handed a 700-name petition to Lichfield District Council opposing the plans.

Lynette Lewis, from Dunimere, a few hundred metres from the proposed wind farm, said the last 18 months had been a worrying time,

“It’s been difficult for the communities of Clifton Campville, Harlaston and Haunton but hundreds and hundreds of people have been united in opposition to this wind farm,” she said.

Source:  By Matt Lloyd, Birmingham Post, www.birminghampost.net 22 January 2011

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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