National Trust launches Wenlock Edge petition

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The National Trust has launched a petition against proposed plans for Wenlock Edge in Shropshire.

Edge Renewables wants to buy the three quarries there to chip wood from sustainably managed forests for renewable energy biomass incinerators.

The National Trust, which also wants to buy the quarries, said noise and lorries would harm the site of special scientific interest.

About 70,000 people visit Wenlock Edge each year, the organisation said.

The trust already owns 12 miles of land on Wenlock Edge, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and has said it would provide climbing activities and canoeing, while letting the quarries fill up with plants and animals, should it acquire the land.

'In wrong place'

Marcus Haliwell, from the National Trust, said it was "a very special place" and the organisation wanted to "safeguard the site and consolidate our ownership".

"Renewable energy is actually something we support wholeheartedly - it is just that it is in the wrong place," he said.

The land is currently owned by Aggregate Industries, which runs it as a quarry.

A spokesman said it had received purchasing bids from the National Trust and Edge Renewables.

No planning application from the National Trust has been submitted to Shropshire Council.

Simon Lloyd-Jones, from Edge Renewables, said they had submitted a planning application to the council to change the site to a renewable energy business.

He admitted there would be an increase in the number of vehicles and an increase in noise from chipping the wood but added that it would not be done at weekends.

He said: "You need a very good open area, an area that has a very good wind basis though it and you need sun to dry the wood.

"It's a screened area [in the quarries] so any noise would be restricted - there's not a lot of other areas where we can do this."

The council said the application would not go before committee until November at the earliest when any petitions could also be submitted.

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