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Crida Wind Co-op has decided to withdraw the planning application for 2 turbines.

We received a copy of the planning officer’s report late last week… just over a year after submitting our application. You can read it here. Unfortunately they have recommended the project for refusal and we have accordingly withdrawn it.

The report makes very interesting reading. The officers agreed with us that the turbines would create no unacceptable impacts on local residents in terms of noise, health effects, road access and property values, and that they would not cause problems for bats, birds, or other creatures or users of public rights of way. The officers report also drew attention to the unusual level of support for the project – it is very rare for more than a third of public comments about a a wind project to be supportive. The statutory consultees confirmed that the turbines would not pose a danger to aviation or to the view from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We were glad to note that English Heritage and Shropshire Council concurred that the effect on cultural heritage and landscape would be less than ‘significant’.

All in all the bulk of of the report backs up what we have been saying about the turbines. We do hope that some of the more outlandish fears expressed, and indeed stoked up, by others have been shown to be insubstantial.

However the report concludes that the impact on cultural heritage and landscape outweighs the benefits of the project in terms of renewable energy generation.

We don’t agree. We don’t think that a small amount of impact on the setting of historic buildings is a good enough reason not to build locally-owned renewable energy generation.

However under the circumstances we see that there is no realistic chance of approval at committee and have withdrawn the application. The planning system gives relatively little weight to the importance of carbon reduction and none to the desirability of community-owned energy, despite the emerging support for the latter in the Government’s Community Energy Strategy. We look forward to the day when public understanding of the dangers of climate change push the balance in favour of community renewable energy in this county and country – and we’ll continue to work to bring it forward.

The UK lags behind Europe and the West Midlands region lags behind all other UK regions in the development of renewable energy. We’re working hard on other technologies but wind – particularly onshore wind at medium scale owned by local co-ops – is one of the most effective and proven technologies and will undoubtedly be part of the eventual sustainable mix. You don’t have to look far for evidence that wind works – just look to Scotland which is closing in on 50% renewable electricity this year (most of which is now wind power) and where the Sharenergy-supported Dingwall Wind Co-op is now up and running – owned by 170 people, 90% of whom are local.

Sharenergy Co-operative and Sustainable Bridgnorth would like to thank the 300 local people who have supported us in public and the many others who have expressed support in person. We will be reconsidering all our options with Crida Wind  - including a possible altered application if this proves feasible.