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Controversial turbine application is rejected

A controversial wind turbine planning application which attracted considerable opposition has now been rejected by planning authorities.

The wind turbine proposal for a 500-kilowatt wind turbine Spring Farm in Stone Road, Bramshall was rejected by East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee after facing opposition from action group Bramshall Against Turbines.

This follows a national announcement that government will give greater power to local communities on the decision of wind turbines in their area.

The final reasons cited for the rejection of the proposal were the concerns of local communities, impact on landscape as well as visual impact, potential of noise pollution and risk of harm to protected species in particular Great Crested Newts.

The turbine proposal, submitted by Hallmark Power Limited on behalf of the farm, was for a 74-metre turbine on land in close proximity to local business Ashcroft Park.

More than 1,000 letters of objection were taken to planning chiefs in May to oppose the proposals.

The report on the council’s decision states: “The proposed turbine would bring about the benefit of renewable energy generation and associated reduction in carbon emissions.

“However, the Ministerial Statement of June 6 makes it clear that the benefits of renewable schemes do not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities.

“On balance it is not considered that in this instance the benefits associated with renewable generation outweigh the harm to landscape character and detrimental visual impact of the proposal.

“Insufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate that the proposal would not unacceptably harm protected species, in particular Great Crested Newts, or their habitats.”

The Bramshall Against Turbines action group have said they will now go on to oppose the most recent turbine application submitted for another 500-kilowatt turbine on land south of Carry Lane, Lower Loxley.

David Brookes, former councillor and Lower Loxley farmer said: “I don’t think we should be encouraging the large commercial turbines which alter the landscape and do nothing except contribute to the landowner’s pension pot.”

Stephen Bate, of Hallmark Power Ltd, the team behind the new Lower Loxley turbine proposal said: “When we are looking at a potential site for a wind turbine, we assess the site to check whether it meets a number of criteria including; the impact on the character of the landscape, the impact on residential properties of noise and shadow flicker, as well as the ecology of the site.

“The technical team evaluate the efficiency of a proposed wind turbine, looking at things like wind speed to determine whether a turbine will be efficient.”

The Lower Loxley wind turbine application can be viewed at www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk with planning reference P/2013/00934