Wind turbine plans prompt policy rethink in Forest of Dean
An influx of plans for massive wind turbines has prompted council decision makers to explore a bespoke policy to deal with them.
Parts of the Forest of Dean are among some of the UK's prime sites for the giant masts, raising fears the area could become overrun with them.
An 86.5-metre turbine is up and running in St Briavels and an identical project is planned in Alvington, with the planning application for that due to be discussed soon.
Three more planning applications are expected to be submitted for turbines at Nurshill Farm in Lydney, Plusterwine Farm in Woolaston and another in Tidenham.
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Last April, plans for an 86- metre high mast on the edge of Coleford were rejected.
And council chiefs held a public question and answer session in Coleford last night to help shape a new policy which could dictate a special criteria any planned turbines must meet.
A key part of the policy will centre around the proximity of the turbines to houses.
Woolaston- based Resilient Energy is behind most of the existing and forthcoming plans for turbines, and was a partner in the St Briavels scheme.
Director Andrew Clarke said: "I hope they are sensible and pragmatic about it, the Government advice has been to try and view them positively.
"People who think the Forest will become a wind farm – it won't.
"There are so many protected areas that we can't go near, I think if you worked it all out there would be maybe 10 sites wind turbines could go and that would be it."
Councillor Brian Robinson, cabinet member for planning policy at Forest of Dean District Council, said: "We know issues like wind turbines are very important in our district.
"We are keen to take on board what the community says and through opening up our Planning Portfolio Support Group meetings to the public twice a year residents will be able to see the issues we are talking about and put questions to the group. "In any change to policy the council builds on the existing planning guidelines in the core strategy and local development plan.
"Formal public consultation is carried out before policy is changed. This group is more informal and by opening some meetings to the public people will be able to see how we operate in forming our ideas."