A group fighting a giant wind turbine proposed for Uttoxeter have stepped up their campaign by erecting a huge banner next to the site to urge others to join them.
Members of Uttoxeter Wind Turbine Action Group (UWTAG) have erected a banner, measuring 15ft long and 5ft high, next to Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath, where Aggregate Industries propose to put a 78m high turbine.
The banner was supplied and sponsored by Hardy Signs Ltd and the group said they hope it sends a loud and clear message to Aggregates Industries, who they claim have still not taken the real concerns of residents into consideration.
The sign signifies a step-up in gear for the campaign which has also seen a website set up at www.uwtag.co.uk and an increase in social networking activity.
Members said they were particularly taken aback by the amount of support from passing motorists during the siting of the banner and a photo-shoot with MP Andrew Griffiths, with residents tooting their horns and giving the thumbs-up.
UWTAG now also has concerns regarding the amount of turbines Uttoxeter will really get after an announcement on June 24 by Aggregate through the AGrenewables website.
They now intend to increase its activities in wind turbines to apply for multiple turbine installations on selected but unspecified sites across the UK.
Group member David Bown said: “Residents in nearby Barton under Needwood were shocked recently when Aggregates Industries applied for a massive 13.5 million tonnes extension to its Newbold Quarry. This would extend the workings for another 15 years.
“Even more shocking is that Aggregate Industries has now informed residents that – wait for it – it intends to build a wind turbine on the site as well. This came up at a liaison meeting under any other business.
“At the Uttoxeter Quarry Aggregate Industries was thwarted in its attempt a few years ago to extend workings even further to the north into a sensitive ecological area.
“With the announcement of its entry into windfarms residents must now question whether these single turbine applications are merely Trojan horses to open up more and more turbines as they extend the areas of sites.
“Aggregate Industries clear intention is to extend workings at Uttoxeter into perpetuity just as at Newbold pushing back even further into the future, the quiet haven promised to the people of Uttoxeter and area and continuing the inconvenience of a quarry for years to come.”
Tim Claxton, senior estates surveyor at Uttoxeter Quarry, said: “We have listened to the concerns of the local community – we have reduced the height of the wind turbine from 87m to 78m to reduce the potential visual impact.
“We would also like to reassure local people the proposal is for a single wind turbine. If it is approved it will not be the precursor for more.
“An application to extend Newbold Quarry has been submitted but this is a separate issue and we remain fully committed to our plans to restore land at Uttoxeter Quarry for leisure use. These plans are not affected by the wind turbine proposal in any way.
“Ultimately, our plans for the wind turbine are in line with the Government’s call for businesses and local authorities to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and save energy. It is our duty as a company to reduce our carbon emissions and we’re certainly not the only company doing this.”
The application will now be submitted to Staffordshire County Council in mid-July.
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