Residents have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to stop two giant wind turbines being built on their doorsteps.
An application for two 80-metre turbines at Criddon, near Bridgnorth, has been submitted which, if passed by the Shropshire Council planning committee, campaigners say could set a precedent for scores of other wind developments across the county.
If the application is granted, it would technically become Shropshire’s first windfarm to get the go-ahead as, so far in the county, only single turbine applications have been approved.
Residents from communities including Morville, Meadowley and Upton Cressett are claiming that the site is inappropriate and will destroy the character and heritage of one of Shropshire’s most beautiful areas.
Dr Chris Douglas, of Stop Bridgnorth WindFarm, said there are several extremely valid reasons why the application should be refused.
“Whether you are for or against windfarms as a form of renewable energy, some places are completely inappropriate as sites for windfarms and this is one of them,” said Dr Douglas, who lives at Morville.
“This is situated in one of Shropshire’s most scenic and tranquil corners which attracts thousands of ramblers, horse riders and tourists each year, and the economic repercussions could be terrible.
“Grade I listed buildings such as Upton Cressett Hall are located just a few hundred metres from the would-be turbines, and the impact on visitor numbers would be severe.
“There are also very real health concerns for those who would live nearest to them, and we can’t see how the site can be accessed by the developers without significant damage being done to the lanes and hedges.
“But as much as anything, the countryside here is spectacular and we must ensure that it remains that way.
“We will fight tooth and nail to stop this ridiculous plan and to make sure we protect the rest of Shropshire from these insidious developments.”
Concern has also been voiced in the Ellesmere area where several single turbine applications have been submitted to Shropshire Council. Residents are claiming that the cumulative effect of these single installation turbines would be of one giant windfarm. In 2008, North Shropshire District Council rejected an application for a seven-turbine windfarm which was planned for Lower Farm at Bearstone, near Market Drayton, in the north of the county.
Nuon Renewables had wanted to install seven 110m turbines. The Planning Inspectorate was called in after Nuon appealed against a decision by the former North Shropshire District Council to refuse permission for the windfarm, but the inspectorate agreed with the council and the plans were thrown out. The fears have been raised just as campaigners across the border in Mid Wales feel they are winning the war in the fight against wind turbine applications.
The wind industry has been dealt a number of blows in recent weeks, with communities set to be given extra powers by the UK Government to reject turbine plans and a report by a national newspaper saying each job in the wind industry is costing the taxpayer £100,000 in subsidies.