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Churnet Valley Protection Fund

SMDC Planners still working hard to support Lodge development at Moneystone Quarry’

Please see the minutes below of three meetings held between SMDC and HOW Planning representing the developers.

Attachment 2 – Meeting minutes 161018

Attachment 3 – Meeting minutes 141118

Attachment 1 – Meeting minutes 111218


Moneystone Quarry – Appeal Hearing by the Planning Inspector

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council refused permission for Laver Leisure to develop a 250 lodge holiday camp at Moneystone Quarry.   Laver Leisure lodged an appeal.

An appointed Planning Inspector from Bristol is to hold a public hearing to determine the appeal. The hearing is to be held at the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Offices at Stockwell Street, Leek, starting 10am Tuesday 7th November 2017.    The hearing is likely to last 7-8 days.

Local community members are to speak at the appeal hearing along with key pressure  groups and organisations opposing the scheme, including parish councils.

You have an important individual right to make representations at the hearing. 

The Inspector has agreed that if any member of the public wishes to speak and who attends at 10 am 7/11/17 and asks to speak, the Inspector will allocate a time and date for them within the timetable.

Anyone who wishes to make representations should attend at the start of the appeal but need not stay and can return at their allotted time.


Decision Day – Be There – Thursday 15 Sep 2016

SMDC Planning Applications committee are due to sit on Thursday (15/9/16) to hear SMD/2016/0378 the re-submission of their application to develop Moneystone Quarry into a huge leisure facility. Please all come along and show how much this means to you. The meeting commences at 2pm at Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek ST13 6HQ. Looking forward to seeing you all there.


A ‘new’ planning application number SMD/2015/0220 has been made to SMDC by the same applicants whose earlier application SMD/2014/0432 was rejected by the planning committee on the 26th. February 2015.

At the time of this posting the application which is shown on the SMDC planning website had not been validated, no fee was shown and seemingly no case officer had been appointed.
Because of the complete dearth of any other documentary evidence at this time it is impossible to say how, if at all, application 0220 differs from 0432.
It is abundantly clear that there must have been consultations between the applicants and Officers of SMDC.
You might want to ask about those consultations and inspect the documentation.
The application on the SMDC website mentions both the new application SMD/2015/0220 and the defeated application SMD/2014/0432.
As the time to appeal the refusal of 0432 has not yet expired and it remains open to the applicants to appeal to  Government Planning Inspector the refusal of 26/2/15 and because the application form exhibited on the SMDC website makes reference to both application numbers you are entitled to see the details of any renegotiation between Planning Officers and the applicants because they are relevant to both any prospective appeal and the difference, if any, between the old and the new applications.
You are entitled to use the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to request the disclosure of information that will or may assist you in deciding what if any representations you might wish to make.
Please remember that as this is a new application any representations you made before will NOT necessarily be considered by Planning Officers in the new application, so if you wish to comment please send in your comments again to cover the detail of any amendments made to the earlier application.
As soon as WAG is able to uncover the detail of any changes to the application it will circulate them so it will pay to keep checking the WAG website.
Please also be aware that there is nothing to stop a planning officer determining SMD/2015/0220 under delegated powers.
WAG would regard any such attempt as a gross denial of democracy.
You may wish to discuss this possibility with your District Councillor who has the power to demand that the application is ‘called in’ so that it is decided by the whole Planning Committee.
Whiston Action Group

Green energy costs ‘far higher than ministers admit’

 Centre for Policy Studies report claims that renewable energy is on course to be “the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern British history”

Wind power could not deliver energy security, a new report suggests<br />

“The costs of intermittent renewables are massively understated,” the CPS argues. Photo: ALAMY

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Emily Gosden

By , Energy Editor

7:00AM GMT 18 Mar 2015

Comments27 Comments

The true cost of wind farms and other green power projects is far higher than ministers have admitted, a new Centre for Policy Studies report claims, claiming renewable energy will be “the most expensive policy disaster in modern British history”.

Scrapping the UK’s green energy targets in favour of gas-fired power plants would save consumers £214 a year by 2020, the report suggests – despite ministers’ insistence that the total impact of the policies will be only £141 per household by then.

Wind and solar farms rely on subsidies to be economically viable and the costs of the subsidies are charged to consumers through so-called ‘green levies’ on energy bills.

“The costs of intermittent renewables are massively understated,” the CPS argues, accusing ministers of an unstated policy objective to deliberately “hide the full cost and operational implications” of green power.

As well as subsidies for the wind and solar farms, the CPS report points to the need for dozens of backup power plants to keep the lights on when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

New wind farms are being built to help tackle global warming

Ministers have been forced to offer additional payments to gas and coal power plants because the intermittent nature of wind and solar power “wrecks the economics of conventional power stations”.

“To keep the lights on, everything ends up requiring subsidies,” the CPS says.

The costs of new cabling to connect up wind farms in remote parts of Britain and far off the coast are also not properly reflected in current assessments, it says.

The “patchwork of interventions” is an unduly costly way of keeping the lights on, the report argues.

It suggests that if ministers want to keep to their green energy targets they should renationalise their construction, so avoiding the need to subsidise private companies to build them for profit. Nationalisation would save consumers £92 a year by 2020, it estimates.

Ministers are backing a vast expansion of green energy under plans to help tackle global warming.

Under EU rules, the UK is required to generate 15 per cent of its total energy – including heat, power and transport – from renewable sources by 2020. In practice, this means 30 per cent of its electricity will need to come from renewables.

Official Government estimates, published last year, show that a typical household now pays £68 a year in green levies to subsidise renewable energy projects and to fund carbon taxes – about 5 per cent on an annual gas and electricity bill of £1,319.

By 2020 minister, the estimates suggest, such levies will hit £141, or 11 per cent of an annual bill of £1,319.

This includes the costs of more wind and solar farms being built and carbon taxes rising, as well as the Government’s estimate of the costs of the new scheme it is introducing to subsidise conventional power plants as backup for intermittent renewables.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy Climate Change said: “The figures in this report don’t add up and ignore the urgent need to cut our carbon emissions. We are making sure we can keep the lights on, cut carbon emissions and keep bills down for consumers.”

Government to slash subsidies for large scale solar farms

The government has unveiled proposals to limit the subsidies paid to large solar farms from next April.

Owners of installations bigger than 5 megawatts (MW) will have to compete with other renewables for financing.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (Decc) says it wants to encourage the development of smaller scale and community energy production.

Campaigners have condemned the move, saying it will undermine investor confidence in the renewable sector.

The government wants to draw a close to the current system two years before it was projected to end.

Many parts of Southern England have seen a boom in solar power generation in recent years. There is currently enough photo-voltaic installed capacity to power 620,000 homes.

Land owners have been encouraged to switch to “solar farming”, thanks to a subsidy regime that can earn them around £1,000 per acre per annum for up to 25 years.

The government proposals highlight concerns that this switch to solar is happening far too quickly. They are worried that by 2017 there will be more solar energy being produced than the UK could afford.

Cash fight

Now, in a move that has been trailed for some time, it is set to bring forward a change to the way that solar producers receive financial support.

Under existing regulations, PV installations are subsidised through the Renewables Obligation system.

This “one way” mechanism means that generators get paid regardless of any changes in either the price of electricity or their costs of production.

The government is clearly signalling that it prefers mounted solar panels to ones on the ground

If these costs of production drop, as has happened to solar power over the past four years, there is no way for the government to claw back any of the subsidy.

The government now wants to end this system two years early and make solar installations larger than 5MW compete for subsidies under a new method called “contracts for difference“.

Under the Decc proposals, large scale solar farms would have to fight for cash with what the government calls “established technologies” including onshore wind, energy from waste with combined heat and power and big hydro-electric installations.

Up in the air

The proposals also clearly show a government preference for solar panels to be placed on top of industrial buildings rather than on the ground in fields.

Tariffs paid for building mounted solar panels would decline at a slower rate than for ground mounted panels according to the plans.

Community-owned schemes though will benefit under the proposals, with the government suggesting that the size of solar or onshore wind projects that can benefit from feed-in tariffs be doubled to 10MW.

Solar industry sources though were unhappy at the changes outlined.

“This policy proposal will undermine investor confidence in the entire UK renewable energy sector, by removing at a stroke the short and medium-term policy certainty required for major project investments,” said Seb Berry from Solarcentury.

“Large-scale solar is already significantly cheaper than offshore wind and will be competitive with onshore wind by 2017. In deliberately setting out to strangle the growth of cheaper solar from 2015, Secretary of State [Ed] Davey can no longer claim that government policy will deliver the most cost-effective mix of technologies by 2020.”

Campaigners were also upset, claiming that the government has completely underestimated the potential of renewables.

“Every time a renewable energy technology starts to do well it gets hit by a wave of Government uncertainty, which pushes up costs and threatens jobs and investment,” said Alasdair Cameron from Friends of the Earth.

“Attacking large-scale solar parks, while doing almost nothing to boost rooftop systems, is another sign of this Government’s piecemeal approach to policy making. Solar power is cheap, popular and essential for tackling climate change and energy security.”

Helping to Protect the Churnet Valley