West Midlands Friends of the Earth gave a cautious welcome to the announcement in May that Harworth Power are conducting a preliminary 'scoping study' into a potential site for the region's first wind farm, at Bleak House, the site of a former open-cast coal site in South Staffordshire.

It should be stressed that this study is only the first formal stage of an Environmental Impact Assessment, and a formal Planning Application will have to be submitted and approved before any turbines can be erected.

It is essential that local people's views are heard as part of this scoping study so that they can reap the maximum benefit from the long term operations of the wind farm. We would welcome an educational and visitors' centre alongside this scheme to realise the wind farm's potential as a tourist attraction. The region's engineering and manufacturing sectors also stand to gain if a proportion of the components for this development could be produced locally.