COUNCIL chiefs set to decide the future of a proposed giant wind turbine in Uttoxeter have made their position clear on what will be accepted.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet committee agreed wind turbines should not be located in areas where they would damage the county’s landscape or its economy.
The authority is set to decide the proposal by Aggregates Industries and AGRenewables for a 255ft (78m) wind turbine at Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath.
Cabinet member for environment and assets Mark Winnington told the cabinet meeting that wind farm applications, which consist of more than one turbine, should be refused unless they can demonstrate real benefits to people living in the areas around them.
He added the authority’s position on wind turbine applications should also include the recommendation that large scale wind energy developments should be 2km or further from residential areas.
The wind turbine at Spath will generate power for the Aggregates Industries quarry and could be used for sports facilities after quarrying has been completed.
Councillor Winnington said: “Staffordshire has some outstanding landscapes and architectural landmarks which cannot be compromised by large scale wind energy developments “Similarly we do not want to see them anywhere where they could have a detrimental impact on the local economy, particularly our ever-expanding tourism industry.
“We understand the need for renewable energy sources and that wind turbines contribute to lowering carbon emissions.
“However, they need to be in the right locations and have proper assessments and checks carried out during the planning process.
“Staffordshire is a predominantly rural county and we do not want to see the industrialisation of areas through such developments.
“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.”
David Bown, of Uttoxeter Wind Turbine Action Group which is battling to stop the turbine being built, said: “We welcome the helpful approach by the county council to provide clear guidelines for developers and Staffordshire residents regarding the siting of wind turbines, we will be carrying on our campaign to our scheduled plan and consider the application a decision for the councillors on the Staffordshire County Council planning committee to make.”
The full council report is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/w ind-energy.aspx