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126m wind turbine near Wolverhampton: 'Grotesque and monstrous' plans must be withdrawn, says Gavin Williamson MP

Staffordshire | News | Published:

An MP has called on an aerospace company to withdraw plans for a 'grotesque' and 'monstrous' wind turbine on the edge of Wolverhampton.

South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson said residents would be blighted 'for miles' and described the proposals at UTC in Stafford Road as a 'PR stunt'.

The plans would see a huge 400ft (126m) built at the engineering firm's site in Fordhouses and would be taller than the Victoria Hall student accommodation block in Culwell Street.

Mr Williamson said: "I think the plans are absolutely grotesque and monstrous, and would be a blight on the landscape for mile after mile around south Staffordshire.

"I think UTC should concentrate more on building aircraft components rather than trying to make their factory fly with this enormous windmill.

"A structure of this size is entirely inappropriate to be built on the edge of city and the rural area that surrounds it.

"I hope UTC will withdraw the plans.

"The company has fallen for this fad that a lot of corporate companies seem to have done in thinking that this will create good PR for them.

"There is no clear evidence of the economics of the scheme and rather than try to appease their owners in America they should consider the impact it will have on its neighbours, many who work for them."

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The turbine would be the height of 29 double deck buses.

It would tower higher than St Luke's Church in Blakenhall, which is 170ft (52m), and would only be 85ft (26m) shorter than the BT Tower in Birmingham, the second city's tallest structure.

A public consultation has been launched by CleanEarth, who are working with UTC on the project.

A joint statement from the firm's said: "CleanEarth, and UTC Aerospace Systems, welcomes the views of residents and stakeholders on their proposal to develop a single wind turbine at their facility at Stafford Road. Both parties are inviting residents and stakeholders to a series of consultation events in October so that a clear and transparent discussion about the proposal can take place, and people can have an informed view of the project.

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"If approved, the wind turbine will provide a renewable source of electricity to the Stafford Road facility, making a significant contribution to the substantial energy demands of UTC and helping to decrease the site's carbon footprint. The turbine will therefore help to maintain the businesses' role as a responsible global organisation committed to reducing their environmental impact. The 1.5 megawatt (MW) turbine will be situated behind the UTC Aerospace building, and is expected to produce over 4,300MWh annually. By not sourcing this power from non-renewable sources, UTC Aerospace Systems is offsetting 1,780 tonnes of carbon a year, which is equivalent to planting 3.2 million trees."

CleanEarth have said that noise and location concerns will be addressed at the consultation, with professionally drawn up images to show how the turbine will look being released within the next couple of weeks.

Consultations will be held at St James Church, in Taunton Avenue, Fordhouses on Tuesday, October 4 from 4-7pm and Fordhouses Methodist Church, in Winchester Road on Wednesday, October 5 from 10am-1pm. Residents can also emailing UTCProject@cleanearthenergy.com or call 01208 895576.

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