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On-shore wind is vital key

Readers' letters | Published:

I write with regard to the front page article ‘Energy plan to create 1,000 low-carbon jobs’ (July 6), which reported on the ‘ambitious new energy strategy being unveiled for the region’ by the Marches LEP’.

In addition a conference ‘will bring together business, local government and community groups involved in creating the clean energy and low carbon economy transition in the West Midlands’.

It would be churlish to criticise this initiative but it certainly raises a few questions.

I participated in the Telford stakeholder workshop in late 2017, which led to the Energy Strategy being adopted around May 2018. It was due to be launched shortly thereafter, subsequently postponed to October 2018 and is now happening well over a year after it was adopted.

The strategy has several ambitions including ‘renewable electricity to meet 50 per cent of local demand by 2030’, which raises the question regarding our other energy uses for transport, industry, commercial and domestic heating.

An interesting question relates to our dependence on diesel trains, with electrification a remote prospect. Herefordshire’s wind resource could supply some 32 per cent of Total Energy Demand, similarly for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, dwarfing the potential from solar power.

This has been known since March 2011 when the West Midlands Renewable Energy Capacity Study was completed for Telford & Wrekin Council, shared with all the West Midlands councils.

A key weakness being ignored to date is that government policy effectively prohibits on-shore wind yet no visible effort has been made by our local authorities or elected representatives to change this policy. Effectively we’ve sat on our hands for a decade. I’m looking forward to positive engagement.

Robert Saunders, Apley

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