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Turbine policy is sought by council

A parish council is to look into a policy for erecting wind turbines across the Staffordshire Moorlands which it claims could damage the rural area.

At last week’s meeting of Ipstones Parish Council members agreed to write to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning department asking for their policy on turbines.

The moves comes after councillor John Barks said he had been approached by several members of the public asking where the parish council stood on the issue.

Mr Barks said: “At the last meeting of the parish council it was agreed to write to the Moorlands council asking them to support the campaign for get the Churnet Valley registered as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

“We are saying we want the area protected, but it could be surrounded by wind turbines.

“When you are at Ipstones Edge you can now see two horrible turbines high on the top of Morridge. These can also been seen all across the Leek to Ashbourne Road.”

Chairman Andrew Stevenson said that if the parish council made up their own policy for the Ipstones and Foxt parish area, it would not stand up as the Moorlands council had the final say.

Councillor Patrick Stimpson said: “The Moorlands council have no policy. They never come back to anyone if you write to them.

“It is government policy for turbines, but this is the Staffordshire Moorlands where there is large areas of open countryside.

“I also think that the panels that are being erected on the roofs on several house look horrible.”

Mr Barks added: “There is a big supply of gas under the North Sea. Also we have got coal and the country is surrounded by water which could be made to drive water turbines.

“When you go to the Cotswold and Gloucestershire areas you do not see turbines, so why should the Churnet Valley and the beautiful Staffordshire Moorlands be surrounded by them.

“The turbines have a life expectancy of about 25 years. They will be expensive to take down and will be sold for scrap. But they could just stand there and rot.”

Parish councillors agreed that the district should be protected and agreed to write to the Moorlands council asking for a copy of the policy regarding the erection of wind turbines in the district.

A spokesman for the Moorlands council said: “The district will strive to meet part of its future energy demand through renewable or low-carbon energy sources,which could be through a variety of technologies, including wind power, solar energy or biomass, in line with current evidence which identifies the feasibility of these forms of energy. This will be achieved by supporting small and large scale stand alone renewable or low-carbon energy schemes, subject to the scale and nature of a proposal impacts on the landscape, particularly having regard to the Landscape Character Assessment and impact on the Peak District National Park.

“Also the degree to which the developer has demonstrated any environmental/economic/social benefits of a scheme as well as how any environmental or social impacts have been minimised including visual, noise or smell.

“The impact on the amenity of residents and other interests of acknowledged importance, including the historic environment; the degree to which individual proposals reflect current local evidence regarding the feasibility of different types of renewable or low-carbon energy at different locations across the District.

“In the case of proposals on greenfield sites, the council will expect that submissions first demonstrate that there were no alternative brownfield sites, which were reasonably feasible and viable, and acceptable in other respects.”