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This section of the ActonBridge.Org website discusses a proposed 12MW wind turbine installation on Green Belt land at Aston, our neighbouring parish just across the River Weaver.

This is the text of the 3-minute speech delivered by Steve Pardoe, Vice-chairman of Acton Bridge Parish Council, to Vale Royal Borough Council during the meeting to discuss the wind turbine application on Thursday 30. November 2006.

Re : VRBC Planning Department ref 05-1059-FUM
Proposed Erection of four wind turbine generators etc
Aston Grange Farm, Aston WA7 3DG Cheshire
For : Tegni Cymru Cyf

You will remember that I spoke to some of you at Forest Hills last Friday. My main concern was safety, and also to remind Members that the present application affects communities beyond the confines of Aston Grange.

This development is not just a local issue. There are some many thousands of citizens of Vale Royal who live within the eight parishes which would be directly affected by it on a daily basis. As you know from your information packs, all eight of these parishes have objected to the application. All eight!

When the proposal was first made, Acton Bridge was prepared to consider it with an open mind. We invited the developers and members of the public to participate in our Parish Council meeting in September 2005, which Mr Richard Ellison kindly addressed; and the developers made a presentation and answered questions from the 40 or 50 local residents who came along. We were anxious that our formal response to Vale Royal should be as well-informed and as even-handed as possible.

The more research we did, however, the less we were convinced by the developer's arguments. Climate change is already happening, and will continue to happen, whether or not we invest in renewables of uncertain efficiency. What IS certain is that if the windfarm is built, there will be a 25-year blight on a priceless area of your Borough, which has no need of it. These turbines are roughly the same height as Blackpool Tower, and will be visible from half the county, and beyond.

Why should Vale Royal, and in particular the Milton Weaver Ward which is represented by Cllr Mrs Anne Hooker, be expected to accommodate all this industrial equipment, in the Green Belt and an Area of Special County Value? Over half of your Borough is made up of open land which has no such restrictive designations, and if on-shore wind energy is to be harvested at all, it should be in these less harmful places.

The loss of Amenity would be entirely disproportionate to the claimed benefits. Common sense tells us that there should be an element of proportionality in deciding whether "Very Special Circumstances" have been demonstrated. The only circumstances special to Aston are, as the applicant himself admitted at our meeting, that Aston Grange had been seen as a soft target, and that the selection process favoured what he described as 'low-hanging fruit'. Simple as that!

Vale Royal's own local plan calls for the preservation of the green belt, and that development should be guided elsewhere. What signals would the Borough Council be sending, if it permitted Inappropriate Development for no reason other than the opportunism of a German financier?


Editors' Notes

This adverse and now internationally-widespread publicity for Tegni Cymru Cyf, together with their German financier and Danish equipment supplier (and to on-shore wind energy development in general) is a direct consequence of their 'inappropriate' choice of site within the Cheshire Green Belt and Designated Areas in the Weaver Valley. Harming our village can seriously harm your business!

Network Rail found the same, when they and National Grid Transco took on Acton Bridge and Weaverham for a substation on another Green Belt site. Big mistake! They were defeated, and owing to the exposure of our web campaign they may find future such planning applications much more difficult. And as for Cellnet...

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