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Assembly calls in wind farm plans  

A baffled wind farm boss say he fears for the industry after plans for a wind farm at an Amman Valley beauty spot were called in by the Assembly.

David Williams, chief executive of Eco2, said he was struggling to understand why Assembly chiefs have asked for another look at the plans for the £35 million wind farm at Mynydd y Betws, in the Amman Valley.

The plans had been passed to the Assembly by Carmarthenshire Council in June.

Opposition groups have been celebrating the news.

But Mr Williams said: “We are trying to understand the request by the Assembly, but we are confident any environmental concerns can easily be addressed.”

He said the plans were sound, had local support, and would benefit the community.

He warned: “Now they are being called in – what hope is there for the rest of the industry?”

The planned wind farm is set to comprise 16 turbines – each 110 metres.

Local wind farm objectors said the Assembly was right to act.

Bruce Anderson, spokesman for the Betws Mountain Preservation Group, said: “We weren’t sure they were going to call the plans in.

“We are extremely pleased they have been.”

But Mr Anderson sympathised with council planners, claiming they were under pressure to give the plans the go-ahead because Wales had to meet its renewable energy targets.

He said: “This need over-rode any others.”

His group opposed the application, first submitted in June 2005, saying the site was common land and contained potentially unstable peat bogs and mine workings.

Nick Bourne, AM for Mid and West Wales, praised the Assembly Government for recognising the strength of local opinion.

He said: “It is clear that local environmental considerations were outweighed by Assembly targets for renewable energy when the plan was first approved.”

His Conservative Party has demanded a review of the Assembly’s renewable energy policy.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson has admitted that wind farms would not contribute as much electricity to Wales’s overall renewable supply as had been planned.

This is worrying the industry.

“We are surprised and disappointed,” said Charles Anglin, of the British Wind Energy Association.

“We believed the approval of this scheme by Carmarthenshire Council was an example of the Tan 8 policy (Assembly’s renewable energy policy) working well in practice.

“We cannot understand why this decision has been thrown into doubt.”

Evening Post

26 October 2007

Betws Mountain Preservation Guide (BMPG): bmpg.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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