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Staffordshire wind farm plans back on track after appeal

Plans to build the first wind farm in the West Midlands have been given a boost after an application for a wind mast was granted on appeal.

Following a hearing with the planning inspectorate, firm Wind Prospect has been given permission to install a temporary monitoring mast at Brineton, Staffordshire.

An original application for the 70-metre mast was turned down by members of the South Staffordshire Council’s planning committee earlier this year.

The firm hopes the mast, which will remain in place for two years, will provide data to help with its plans to build a six-turbine wind farm at the site.

However campaigners believe the mast could prove their assertions the site is the second worst in the UK for wind speeds.

Paul Grimshaw, development manager at Wind Prospect, said: “We had a strong case for appeal and our application met both local and national planning objectives.

“We do understand applications like this can cause local concern. However, as acknowledged in the inspector’s report, the Government’s drive for renewable energy adds weight to the case for the mast as it will provide important information about wind speeds at the site.”

Plans for the six 120m turbines were also refused by South Staffordshire planners, with Wind Prospect yet to appeal.

A spokesman for the company said further environmental studies had been taking place and an announcement on the scheme would be made in the autumn.

Tony Lendon, chairman of the Stop Turbines Action Group (Stag), said: “This wasn’t a bolt out of the blue.

‘‘We are disappointed but not surprised. It’s not over yet and we’re still battling. The appeal for the turbine application will be a different argument.”

Campaigners argue the wind farm would cause damage to historic meadows, have a detrimental effect on wildlife and spoil the area’s natural landscape.