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Wind of change on turbines signalled

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 26, 2013

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A NEW planning policy on wind turbines is being proposed for the Staffordshire Moorlands which could see members of local communities having a bigger say on the outcome of applications.

Leader of the district council, Sybil Ralphs, has written a letter to the Post & Times outlining her opposition to on-shore wind farms, which she stated were one of the most contentious planning issues of modern times.

Councillor Ralphs said: “I want the authority to write a completely new Staffordshire Moorlands Local Planning Policy on wind-farms. I want that policy to contain the following:

“That if the proposed siting of a wind turbine has the potential to adversely impact on the openness of the countryside, or is considered to be detrimental in any way to the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, then it must be refused.

“If an application for a wind turbine is opposed by the local community, then under the auspices of the Localism Bill, people’s objections must be sufficient reason for the application to be refused.

“This will shift the balance of power decisively to local communities; just as it should be.

“We will then work closely with Government, taking into account their current package of reforms.” Ms Ralphs said that Staffordshire Moorlands contains some of the most beautiful countryside in the whole of the UK and tourism was one of district council’s top priorities.

She added: “We actively encourage visitors to come and enjoy this fantastic area. How long will it be before lines of wind turbines are strung out across the hills and moors, ruining completely our countryside for both visitors and residents alike.”

Now campaigners against the erection of a 50kW wind turbine at Three Nooks Farm in Horton, which is due to go before district planners this Thursday, want the application to be withdrawn.

On behalf of the protesters, Roger Carter said: “We have strongly requested the removal of the planning application at Three Nooks Farm from the district council’s website and subsequently the council planning meeting.

“It is in direct contravention of Article 7 of the UN Aarhus Convention, which is part of the law of our land. Three basic questions arise from Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention.

“Have you been made aware of all the environmental issues, benefits, CO2 figures, and efficiency of the wind turbines in question? And been involved in consultation and decision making on these issues?

“Have you been informed of the potential health risks attached with wind turbines, consulted, and taken part in the decision making process?

“Have you been involved in discussions regarding the collapse of house prices in areas close to the siting of wind turbines, and have you been consulted and taken part in the decision making process?”

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