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Council to give wind farm plans short shrift  

Credit:  By Kathie Mcinnes and Alex Campbell, The Sentinel, www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk 23 April 2011 ~~

Campaigners have welcomed a council’s decision to shun the development of wind farms.

Staffordshire County Council has drawn up new policy guidelines, which will effectively mean no large-scale wind farms will be allowed on land owned by the local authority.

It comes after a series of community campaigns to try to block wind masts.

Families claim these developments risk blighting the landscape, create unacceptable noise levels, and are also an ineffective way to generate on-shore energy.

Now county councillors have decided to look at reducing the council’s carbon emissions through other means instead.

Steps could include fitting photo-voltaic panels to council buildings to tap into solar energy, installing bio-mass heating systems, and using hydro-power.

Keith Flunder, chairman of the Staffordshire Turbine Action Group, welcomed the stance.

He has been heavily involved in a campaign to stop Severn Trent putting up a giant wind turbine at Checkley sewage works, between Uttoxeter and Cheadle.

Although the company installed a wind testing mast there, it decided last year to shelve the turbines in the face of public opposition.

Mr Flunder said: “It’s great to see the county council taking on board our concerns.

“We want a different approach to renewable energy. Alternative technologies are out there.

“Wind turbines are incredibly ineffective. On top of that, it’s the impact they have on the landscape and the noise.”

The county council set up a policy advisory group last summer to consider exploiting wind power as the most cost-effective green energy. But new energy tariffs mean other technologies, previously considered too expensive, are affordable.

Gnosall and Doxey councillor Mark Winnington, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We have looked at wind power and have come to the conclusion that the electorate, as a majority, do not like wind farms.”

Deputy council leader Ian Parry, who represents Stone Rural, added: “The intrusion these things have on the landscape is undesirable and unacceptable. Without subsidy, they are not viable.”

Source:  By Kathie Mcinnes and Alex Campbell, The Sentinel, www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk 23 April 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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