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Midland MEP Phil Bennion in row over wind turbines plan

A Midland Euro MP is at the centre of a row over the prospect of wind turbines going up on his land.

Opponents of the plan have urged Liberal Democrat Phil Bennion to hand over any profits he makes from the scheme to villagers who would be affected by the proposals.

Mr Bennion has admitted he received a one-off £6,000 payment from German firm Prowind for granting the company the option to work up proposals and seek planning approval.

And he said wind power fitted his “green philosophy”.

But Tory Matthew Ellis, a member of Staffordshire County Council, said Mr Bennion should donate the profits should Lichfield District Council approve Prowind’s bid for two 345ft high turbines on his land near Tamworth.

The firm earlier ditched proposals for four 420ft turbines at the spot.

Speaking after a public meeting on the issue Coun Ellis said: “The strong view continued to be that the race to litter the countryside was driven purely by financial gain and only partly by provision of renewable energy.

“I’ll be interested in Mr Bennion’s reaction to my call to donate all profit he receives, minus any costs he incurs, to communities affected.

“That shouldn’t be a problem if the money’s not the issue.”

Mr Bennion did not respond to the profit donation challenge but defended the proposal to site the turbines on his land.

He said: “My family farm continues to be run as a going concern, though I have contracted out the day-to-day operation.

“It is a diversified, small farm business where we also grow biomass crops.

“Local wind turbines in appropriate locations are another form of diversification which fits the green philosophy I have always believed in.

“Wind power will not only help us to save the planet but is now in line with the policy of all three major parties.”