Call for re-think over turbine site

A major rethink is needed on wind turbines and potential sites for them should be added to the local plan, it has been claimed.

Green Party Councillor Julian Dean said Shropshire needs to bring forward potential locations for wind farms in a bid to boost renewable energy.

New government policy last year stated that planning applications for wind turbines should be refused unless they are for an area deemed suitable in the local plan.

Cllr Dean, member for Porthill, said no sites for wind development were put forward in the council’s recent preferred sites consultation.

It comes just weeks after the council announced plans to produce enough clean energy to power Shropshire and a fifth of the wider West Midlands.

Cllr Dean said: “The biggest issue for the world is energy production,  yet we now know how to harness wind, solar and other sources of energy more cheaply than old and dirty sources like oil, gas and coal. 

“What can be done locally? Well, it turns out Shropshire has the potential to produce enough energy from clean sources for up to a fifth of the West Midlands needs.

“We need new strategies and planning policies to encourage and facilitate renewable energy production. 

“This includes a rethink on wind power, where there is a need to have sites identified in the local plan if they are likely to succeed at planning. 

“No such sites were in the recent preferred sites consultation. Are there any in the pipeline that can be brought forward?

“Development sites can be required to produce a proportion of their own energy. The technology is straightforward, and getting better all the time, from photovoltaic with batteries, to ground source heat pumps and beyond.”

Cllr Dean added that the county also need to reduce energy use if targets are to be reached.

He said: “We don’t just need to produce clean energy, we also need to reduce energy use if we are to reach the targets. Again, we know how to do this. 

“Homes and workplaces can be built that produce no greenhouse gas emissions overall and this is also means virtually zero energy bills. 

“At the moment it costs about eight per cent more to build ‘clean’, and this will come down the more we insist on builders using this technology.”

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