Delighted residents say they are relieved an appeal to install a wind turbine, which they described as a ‘monster’, has been thrown out.
People packed into a two-day inquiry to hear whether Seven Trent Water would be allowed to erect a 126-metre turbine at Burntwood Sewage Treatment Plant in Peter’s Lane.
The application had originally been unanimously refused by Burntwood Town Council.
Campaigners, who had spent hundreds of hours compiling their case ahead of the appeal, said the turbine would ruin the surrounding landscape and dent the local economy.
Company director Simon Pearson, who is vice chairman of Burntwood Action Group, told planning inspector Andrew Pykett that the broadcaster and renowned botanist David Bellamy had added his voice to the campaign.
Speaking during the meeting Mr Pearson said: “I took a phone call from David Bellamy who was so concerned about this appeal that he took time to phone me from on top of a mountain in Italy to offer his support.”
The turbine, along with an access track and control building, would have been located within green belt land. But Seven Trent argued that the loss of ‘openness’ would be limited.
Protesters feared that tourists visiting the area, famed for the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard, would be put off by the proximity of a wind turbine.
Speaking to the Mercury after the hearing Mr Pearson claimed that landowners who installed wind turbines were partly motivated by money.
Mr Pearson said: “I believe this planning application was really all about the subsidy Severn Trent could receive from it, in particular the constant payments and renewable obligation certificate payments available.
“We all pay for this madness in the form of higher energy bills, the economic benefits for the general public are not benefits at all, we are all economically worse off.
“I am relieved that residents don’t have to wake up every morning and look at something which is taller than the highest spire on our Cathedral. It would have been a monster.”
In a report released following the hearing, Mr Pykett said the impact on the environment could not be ‘successfully mitigated’.
A spokesman for Seven Trent said the company was now looking into alternative ways to generate renewable energy at the site. He said the turbine option was not driven by financial gain.
He added: “Although any financial savings would ultimately be passed on to customers by keeping bills the lowest on average in the country, financial considerations were definitely not the driver for our proposed wind turbine at our Burntwood Sewage Treatment site.”
The Government wants renewable sources, such as wind, to provide 15 per cent of the UK’s energy supply by 2015. But hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on subsidising wind farms each year.
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