A Welsh local authority is considering using the Human Rights Act to fight plans for wind farms in the area under the Assembly’s TAN 8 policy on renewable energy.
The Assembly has announced seven strategic areas in Wales where large-scale wind farms will be concentrated and two of these are centred on Neath Port Talbot.
Now Neath and Port Talbot County Borough Council is considering legal action to resist the plans.
The authority is concerned that if the huge offshore Scarweather Sands wind farm goes ahead off Porthcawl, it could have wind farms on its hills and seafront area.
The council made strong representations to the Assembly when consultation on the draft TAN 8 policy was carried out and is extremely concerned that its genuine concerns were ignored by the Assembly.
Of the two areas identified in Neath Port Talbot, the one in the Pontardawe area extends from the Felindre/Garnswllt area of Swansea across the Dulais Valleys to the western side of the Vale of Neath.
The other in the Glyncorrwg area extends from the eastern sides of the valley across the Afan Valley and Afan Forest Park into Rhondda Cynon Taff. To the south it sweeps along the hills above Port Talbot and extends along Mynydd Margam and into Bridgend.
A Neath Port Talbot Council spokesman said, “This clustering of wind farms across the valleys of Neath Port Talbot will represent 38% of all the new capacity planned for Wales.”
Council leader Derek Vaughan said yesterday, “While the original proposals have been revised, the TAN 8 policy is largely unchanged.
“The Assembly has allocated land for wind farms with limited public consultation. This is contrary to the open government principles the Assembly say they are signed up to, it ignores the proper process for examining land-use proposals through public inquiry and appears to be a breach of human rights.
“The council also strongly believes that the concept of strategic areas is wrong and that the policy of dispersal followed elsewhere in the UK should continue to be pursued in Wales.
“Concentrating in a few strategic areas such as Neath Port Talbot will lead to wind-farm dominated landscapes and there is a real danger that this could damage the local economy, have a detrimental effect on tourism and hinder much needed investment.”
By Robin Turner, Western Mail
18 July 2005
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