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Talks on wind turbines plan

Bridgnorth residents are being urged to back wind turbines to provide future power for homes across the district.

Crida Community Wind is holding two public exhibition to discuss the possibility of installing two medium sized, 230ft, turbines on a ridge three miles west of Bridgnorth, between Meadowley and Chetton.

If the turbines were installed Sustainable Bridgnorth, which is backing the project, says it would produce enough electricity for 750 homes, saving 1,790 tonnes of CO2.

Bob Ensum, chairman of Sustainable Bridgnorth, said: “It has taken us a year to find out whether the project is viable and we’ve made the appropriate checks with the Ministry of Defence to ensure we don’t interfere with their radars.

“Now we have a viable project we want to see what people think of it. Obviously we are very keen on renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions, but this is the very early stages.

“I think people will be surprised when they see the plans for the first time, but even if everything went smoothly the first turbine wouldn’t be installed until 2014 at the earliest.

“We are some way from putting in the full planning application but we’d like to gauge people’s opinions now.”

Mr Ensum said one of the most attractive features of the project was its community dimension.

“There are three aspects worth highlighting,” he said. “There will be a community fund of £10,000 available annually; about £2,000 of this will be ring fenced for exclusive use of the local parishes in the vicinity of the turbines.

“The rest will be used for purely local, charitable purposes, to be defined by the locally based co-operative, who will independently own the project.

“There will be a community share issue of about £1.5million so the community wholly owns the installation and priority will be given to local people wanting to invest, with a minimum investment of £250 and a maximum of £20,000.”

Crida Community Wind – named after a local West Mercian chieftain, from Anglo-Saxon times – say the project would be much smaller than a commercial wind farm, fitting in with the landscape.

For the past year Sustainable Bridgnorth, which also supports local food, and waste reduction, as well as renewable energy – has been working on the project alongside Sharenergy Co-operative, based in Ludlow.

John Sale of Sharenegy said community-owned renewable projects were springing up all over the country, with Shropshrie leading the way.

“With Ironbridge power station due to close in the next couple of years, we need new, clean sources of power in the area,” he said. “Community-led projects like this are power for the people and owned by the people.”

The exhibitions will give residents the chance to see the location of the planned wind turbine, its visual impact, the feasibility studies already carried out on wildlife, noise, aviation and other technical issues, and learn about investment opportunities for the community.

The first exhibition is being held in Chetton Village Hall on Friday, July 8, with the second in Bridgnorth Town Hall on Tuesday, July 12. Both will run from 3.30pm until 8.30pm.