Severn Trent are causing controversy in Staffordshire with proposed plans to install a test mast to ascertain whether it would be a feasible site for the installation of full size wind turbines on the site of their sewage treatment plant near Checkley in the Staffordshire Moorlands. A meeting was held on Friday 6th March to enable residents living near to the proposed development site to voice any concerns and receive information from representatives of other communities where wind turbines have been installed. Local MPs were also present at the meeting.
Severn Trent’s corporate responsibility policy sees them making commitments to reducing the amount of energy they consume as a company, and their website states that Severn Trent
“is an energy intensive business, using large amounts of energy to pump and treat both sewage and drinking water.”
In addition, Severn Trent are working towards increasing the amount of energy used that is generated by their own activity. In 2007-08 they generated the equivalent of 17% of the total operating costs of the company, and state that,
“By 2013, we aim to have almost doubled our renewable electricity generation, covering 30% of our needs.”
Inevitably developments in this area are going to see Severn Trent installing more energy generation equipment including wind turbines and hydro technology. At the meeting on Friday, Severn Trent’s renewable energy development manager, Martin Dent, commented that the definitive site for the installation of the turbines has not yet been decided, and the proposed test mast they are seeking to install will be used to collect data over the next 18 months to inform the final decision.
Residents are concerned that the ultimate decision to install turbines at the site in East Staffordshire would impact on their homes and those of residents living within 5km of the site in the Staffordshire Moorlands by reducing property value, causing noise and ‘shadow flicker’ disturbances, and that the installation and look of the turbines would have a damaging effect on the local environment.