Plans to build a wind farm across a First World War battlefield where scores of soldiers from Burton and South Derbyshire died have sparked outrage.
Energy firm Innovent has proposed building up to 10 turbines – each reportedly twice the height of Big Ben – near the French town of Loos, in northern France.
The town was the scene of major British attacks in September and October 1915 in which about 50,000 British soldiers became casualties and 63 soldiers from Burton were killed.
Although some bodies were later recovered from the battlefield and buried, many had to be left where fell and now lie unmarked under French soil with no known grave.
Historian, and Stapenhill parish councillor, Malcolm Goode told the Mail ‘it would not be right’ for the turbines to be built on land where British soldiers remained uncovered.
He said: “Why build it there, is there not somewhere else they could go? That is sacred ground. After the sacrifice we made there it isn’t right.
“A lot of Burton men will be in that area and the vast majority of these soldiers have no known grave.
“Many have been buried in the cemeteries in the area but a great many still lie in those fields where the developers want the wind farm.”
The Burton soldiers who took part in the battle were part of the 46th North Midland Division which launched an attack on a German strongpoint known as the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
Mr Goode said: “Where they want to build is right over the Hohenzollern Redoubt which was such a hot spot in the battle.
“Anywhere in that area you will come across soldiers lying under the ground.”
Mr Goode added that soldiers from South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire were also part of the attack.
A spokesperson from Innovent said the company had taken the sensitive nature of the area into account and would pay for archaeological excavation to be carried out if the plans went ahead.
The spokesperson added that the exact number and location of the turbines had not yet been decided
It’s not the first time fears have been raised over development near the redoubt. In 2004 a French landowner was critised for dumping rubbish near the site.
A petition has also been set up to fight the current plans. To sign it go to www.mesopinions.com/petition/nature-environnement/projet-centrale-eolienne-entre-auchy-mines
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