Wind farm proposal set for rejection by Carmarthenshire planners

November 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

LlanllwniThe common land is mainly used for sheep grazing

Plans for a 21-turbine wind farm are set to be rejected despite falling in an area outlined for wind energy projects.

The development by renewable energy firm RES would see 127m (400ft) high turbines generating 48.3 megawatts.

It falls within one of seven areas of mid and south Wales chosen in 2005 by the Welsh government for such schemes under a policy known as Tan 8.

Carmarthenshire planning officials have recommended the proposals are refused.

Planning committee members have made a visit to the site, known as Bryn Llywelyn, at Llanllwni, Carmarthenshire, ahead of making their decision later.

The proposals are for the 21 turbines to be site over around 3,450 acres (1,397 hectares) of crown-owned common land mainly used for sheep grazing about nine miles (15km) north east of Carmarthen.

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Analysis

It will be interesting to see if Carmarthenshire councillors accept the advice of their planning officers and refuse permission on environmental grounds despite allowing several other wind farms in the county.

Councillors affiliated to the main parties would, in effect, oppose what their political hierarchy supports.

The Welsh government will not comment on individual cases but cannot be pleased when local authorities go against the national policy of encouraging this form of renewable energy, as it will hit both Welsh and UK renewable energy and lowering carbon emission targets.

It again raises questions about energy investment in Wales and lack of clear leadership.

RES UK will be disappointed and has said it will appeal.

Another wind farm application could be on the cards at Brechfa Forest in the New Year. Appeals can work.

Further west, RWE npower will re-apply in January for permission to build a wind farm on Mynydd y Gwair near Swansea, after several years of opposition locally and at council level against the idea.

The council has received a total of 370 letters of objection, a petition containing 237 signatures as well as objections from a range of community, heritage and environmental groups, including the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas raised “concerns” after receiving 10 letters of objection while and Mid and West Wales AM Nick Bourne said more wind turbines would “desecrate” the landscape.

Dyfed-Powys Police objected on grounds that it could lead to an increase in crime and disorder.

The report noted: “Previous experience suggests this could be from the labour force moving in or from direct action by protesters of the wind farm.”

However, it said police concerns could be mitigated with measures including the developer contributing to the cost of policing.

The council has received three letters in support of the plans, which said the turbines would bring jobs, contribute towards carbon reduction, generate funds for the local economy through a community benefit fund and were a “sufficient distance” from homes.

Officials are recommending the scheme is turned down as its scale, siting and prominence would “result in demonstrable harm to the landscape character, visual, ecological and historical qualities” of the area.

They also said the likely energy generated by the turbines would “not outweigh the significant adverse effects on local environmental quality”.

Tan 8, or Technical Advice Note 8, established seven strategic areas thought to be suitable as sites for developing wind energy on a large scale.

The Welsh government wants the UK government to devolve powers over large-scale energy generation projects.

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