THE company behind plans for a controversial wind turbine in Uttoxeter has spoken of its disappointment at it being rejected but said a decision over an appeal has not yet been made.
Miles Watkins, Aggregates Industries director of sustainable construction, said he was disappointed Staffordshire County Council’s planning committee had rejected the planning application for a 255ft (78m) wind turbine on Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath.
However, he added they will be deciding ‘over the next couple of weeks’ if they will be appealing the council’s decision.
The application was joint with AGRewables to provide renewable energy to quarrying operations across the company, with the possibility of energy being available for sporting facilities when quarrying is completed.
Dr Watkins said: “We were surprised and disappointed to see the application turned down. As a country we’ve made a strong commitment to reducing our carbon emissions – targets we can only meet through use of onshore renewables.
“As a company we have a very clear commitment to sustainability.
“We were the first company in our sector to declare carbon reduction targets and the first to be carbon trust certified.
“Around Staffordshire we’re a major sponsor of local rural charities. This was a very straightforward application in line with national need.”
Dr Miles said the decision to build it in Spath was taken after assessing all the sites owned by the company of the countryside and aviation routes, along with various other constraints, and this was considered the best site.
The decision, he said, was taken as the company aims to reduce its carbon emissions.
He added: “Ultimately we all have the same goal – preservation of the countryside. Over the next decade a fifth of our electrical generation capability as a country will be taken offline.
“Onshore wind is the most affordable way of generating power at the levels we need. This is something that affects all of us.
“The committee on climate change has shown that using renewables could see average household bills per household £500 lower in 2020 than if we depend on other sources of energy such as gas. As a local employer we’re as vulnerable to rising energy prices as any household in Stafford.
“The energy that the wind turbine would have produced would have been added into the grid and then bought back by Aggregate Industries, helping us to bring our carbon footprint down too.
“Contrary to local publicity, this was a plan that attracted a lot of local support, as well as being wholly in line with national government policy.
“Without wanting to be too technical, we do have concerns about the grounds for rejection, and shared these concerns at the inquiry.
“We think the grounds for an appeal are compelling – and this is something that we’re now reviewing.”