The company behind plans to bring the UK’s tallest wind turbines to the upper Afan Valley has revealed a measure of public support for the project.Gamesa wants to put up 14 turbines 603ft tall at Glyncorrwg and on the Gelli mountain, near Croeserw.
It has yet to apply for planning permission, but a consultation on the proposed 63MW Llynfi Renewable Energy Park has produced some interesting results.
The figures came to light after Labour’s Assembly candidate for Aberavon, Brian Gibbons called on the firm to substantiate its claims that most people in the area supported its proposals for a wind farm there.
A Gamesa spokesman revealed more than 12,500 residents had been invited to a series of exhibitions on the scheme. Further drop-in consultation surgeries were held to which 2,500 residents were invited.
He said: “From the initial consultation, I can confirm that we have received 127 completed comment forms, which represent less than one per cent of those local residents personally invited to attend the consultation events.
“At this moment in time, of the 127 returned comment forms, 63 per cent support the development of wind power, with 45 per cent specifically supporting the Gamesa proposal.
“The remainder of the respondents expressed no firm view either way, had no opinion, or opposed the proposal.”
Dr Gibbons said he was aware the people of the upper Afan Valley recognised global warming was a pressing issue and measures needed to be taken to address the problem.
But he said: “However, this is some way off saying they are supportive of Gamesa’s proposals.
“While wind energy will undoubtedly be part of our future energy mix, the proposals put forward by Gamesa are totally unacceptable due to their scale and proximity to local communities.
“The public feedback I have received strongly echoes that.”
The Gamesa spokesman said the company was looking at how it could take on board issues raised during the consultation.
“We’re still trying to work out a final design before putting in for planning,” he said.
By Bede MacGowan
12 April 2007
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