Council chiefs have green lit plans to limit the location of wind farms to areas that would not damage Staffordshire’s rural landscape.
County councillor Mark Winnington, cabinet member for environment and assets, told a cabinet meeting wind farm applications should be refused unless they were able to demonstrate actual benefits to residents living close by.
“Staffordshire has some outstanding landscapes and architectural landmarks which cannot be compromised by large scale wind energy developments,” said councillor Winnington.
“We understand the need for renewable energy sources and that wind turbines contribute to lowering carbon emissions,” he said. “However they need to be in the right locations and have proper assessments and checks carried out during the planning process.”
He said it was also important wind farms were not located in areas where they would impact negatively on the economy, particularly the expanding tourist industry.
“The local economy and improving people’s quality of life are top priorities for the county council and we don’t want to see them negatively impacted upon as a result of wind turbine developments,” he said. “Staffordshire is a predominantly rural county and we do not want to see the industrialisation of areas through such developments.”
Additionally the council agreed, any large scale wind energy development – defined as a single turbine taller than 50m, two or more turbines taller than 30m, 10 or more turbines regardless of height and any development exporting power to the national grid at 33 kilovolts – should be located at least 2km from any residential area.
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