Applause filled the council chamber last week as councillors emphatically rejected plans for a controversial Afan Valley wind farm.
Councillors on the planning and development control committee voted to refuse permission for four wind turbines to be built on Mynydd Corrwg Fechan, near Glyncorrwg.
Members of the Glyncorrwg Action Group, who had campaigned against the wind farm, packed the public gallery and broke into spontaneous applause as the unanimous decision was announced.
The proposals, submitted by Cardiff-based Eco2, would have seen four 410ft (125 metres) turbines built on the site, with each turbine having 45 metre blades and generating up to 3MW of electricity.
Head of planning Geoff White said in his report: “This development would create unacceptable impacts upon the character and appearance of the countryside which are not outweighed by the benefits of providing renewable energy.”
Mr White said that, on that basis, the application should be refused.
Local member Glyn Rawlings moved that councillors accept the recommendation.
“I welcome the recommendation,” he said. “The voices of the people have been received.”
Coun Jane Jones, who represents the neighbouring Gwynfi ward, went further.
“I hope the refusal of this application will set a precedent for other applications,” she said.
Rhos councillor Paul Thomas dismissed this, saying: “That’s an unfortunate statement.
“I don’t think we should be setting precedents when we take decisions on wind farms.”
But he added his support, and expressed concern about the amount of wind farms being built in the area.
“I think the correct decision has been made in this instance,” he said.
“We’ve spent the last two years trying to modify the TAN-8 so we take our fair share.
“We will take our little bit but we cannot be allowed to be burdened with the 38 per cent suggested.”l Developer Eco2 has announced that it is to consider appealing the decision.
Chris Williams, Eco2’s director of projects, said: “We are naturally very disappointed and a little confused at the decision not to recommend our project.
“We are still determined to see this project develop and will appeal today’s decision, as it comes at a time when the need for wind energy is of utmost importance if the Welsh Assembly is to achieve its 2010 renewable energy target.
“Without projects like Glyncorrwg and the Mynydd y Betws windfarm, which was recently called in after a positive decision by Carmarthenshire, these targets will be missed.”
Action to appeal the decision is expected to be announced soon.
by Matt Nicholls, Port Talbot Guardian
20 December 2007
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