Anti-wind farm campaigners who cheered as plans for four towering turbines in the Afan Valley were thrown out have been warned: it’s not over yet.
The company behind the proposal for Mynydd Corrwg Fechan, overlooking Glyncorrwg, said it intends to appeal to the Assembly over the decision.
Renewable energy firm Eco2’s director of projects Chris Williams said: “We are naturally very disappointed and a little confused by the decision.
“The wind farm lies within a strategic search area (SSA) identified by the Assembly for wind farm development, and has received no objections from statutory consultees.
“If this project had been approved, it would have been a positive step forward in reaching the Assembly’s onshore renewable energy targets.
“Because of this, we are still determined to see this project develop and will appeal the decision, because it comes at a time when the need for wind energy is of utmost importance if the Assembly is to achieve its 2010 renewable energy target.”
At 125 metres, the turbines would have been some of the UK’s biggest, 34 metres taller than those at nearby Ffynnon Oer and around three times the height of the Ferris wheel currently towering over Swansea.
Eco2 said the turbines would have generated up to 12 megawatts – enough electricity to power nearly 7,500 households in the area.
But Neath Port Talbot Council planning officers suggested the amount of energy they would have produced meant it was not worth ruining the landscape to put them up.
Head of planning Geoff White also warned that approving the Eco2 turbines might make it more difficult for other, larger wind farms to go up in better, less intrusive places within the same SSA, which also includes land in Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Members agreed and refused the application – a move warmly welcomed by Glyncorrwg Action Group, which was set up to fight the scheme.
Almost 300 letters of objection were sent in, as well as a 1,238-name petition.
Group spokesman Bob Slater said: “The majority of people in the village were against these ugly industrial wind turbines.
“For the small amount of energy produced, this wind farm would have had a drastic effect on the landscape and on people’s quality of life.”
The group is now gearing up to fight off Gamesa’s plans to put up four even bigger, 603ft high turbines half a mile from the village.
“We already have a wind farm in our backyard at Ffynnon Oer; we think it is unjust that Neath Port Talbot is being used as a dumping ground for so many projects other areas don’t want,” added Mr Slater.
By Bede MacGowan
13 December 2007
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