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No objection by council in its screening opinion

A proposed giant wind turbine on Uttoxeter Quarry ‘would not be likely to have significant effects on the environment’, it has been ruled.

Staffordshire County Council made the judgement as it issued no objection in its ‘screening opinion’ on the proposals for a 285ft turbine in Spath, which means the applicants Aggregate Industries will not have to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment if it submits a full planning application.

In making the decision Mike Grundy, planning, policy and development control team manager at the county council, said the proposal would not be likely to have significant effects on the environment ‘by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location’.

However, Mr Grundy did say any application would need to be accompanied by supporting information to address a range of potential impacts.

These include the potential impact on air traffic as the site falls within the Marchington Civil Aviation Authority consultation area and close to the Needwood Civil Aviation Authority consultation area.

Also the potential impact on the proposed cricket pitch to be developed on the restored land when the quarry finally finishes its extraction would need to be addressed.

The ruling by the county council came as the Uttoxeter Wind Turbine Action Group held its first meeting last week as it battles to defeat the plans.

Despite the county council’s view the group told the Advertiser that the turbine proposals would ‘blight our environment’.

Chairman Tom Ollerenshaw, speaking on behalf of the group, said: “We do not speak for planning officers who have, of course, to follow strict planning protocol.

“We speak for the community. In addition you have heard, already, the strongly articulated views of elected MPs and elected councillors from Uttoxeter Rural Parish Council, Uttoxeter Town Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

“Further the Council for the Protection of Rural England and The Ramblers, among other bodies, have made their positions abundantly clear.

“In our long experience no issue, locally, has so united everybody in total condemnation of this misguided proposal.

“This proposal would blight our environment over an area of 100sq miles and reneges on promises to bequeath Uttoxeter a quiet haven to enjoy after suffering years of disruption from the quarry.” Mr Ollerenshaw added: “As Andrew Griffiths MP put it so well ‘Aggregate Industries has waved two fingers at the community’.

“The action committee which met earlier today has mapped out its plans to oppose any planning application made and is resolute in its determination.”