Wildlife organisations in Radnorshire have expressed concerns about how much of an impact a new wind farm development will have on the region.
Surveys conducted by NUON UK Ltd – who last week submitted proposals for a 17-turbine wind farm near Llanbadarn Fynydd – reveal there could be a “significant risk” to Radnorshire’s red kite population, even claiming there could be several collisions annually.
The company believes the installation of the windfarm will make a “significant contribution” to Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) renewable targets.
It has applied to the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for consent to construct and operate the windfarm as the energy production exceeds the limit of 50 Megawatts.
Powys County Council (PCC) have also been asked for its comments on the proposals and has until the beginning of April to respond.
The site, 2km north of the Radnorshire village, is expected to generate an electrical output of 51 MW which the company claim will be enough to supply the average annual domestic electricity needs of almost 30,000 households.
Permission is being sought for the windfarm to be operational for 25 years, after which the site could be fully restored.
The company claims if given the green light the wind farm would contribute up to 59.5 MW to provide 70 per cent of the Strategic Search Area’s targeted capacity, which is in line with WAG targets.
The company’s own surveys, however, indicate the possibility of a significant impact on the Radnorshire red kite population with a potential for collisions.
If granted permission, the site could be operational before the close of the year.
Tony Cross, of the Welsh Kite Trust, said: “There are concerns.
“With the expected considerable growth of windfarms in the area in the near future there needs to be continual monitoring of the effect wind farms are having on the environment.
“Once up and operating there are very little surveys undertaken and we have emphasised the importance of post-construction monitoring.”
Despite this Mr Cross said there was a “healthy population
” of red kites in the area and only four birds had been killed or injured by turbines since windfarm developments had begun shooting up in Radnorshire.
Julian Jones of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust also raised concerns for the great crested newt, the most important population of which in all of the UK resides in Bwlch Y Sarnau, near Llanbadarn Fynydd.
“The great crested newt is legally protected and there is a very large population near this proposed development site.
“Obviously we’re very concerned that this population is not affected in any way.
“We hope measures will be put in place to protect the newts.”
Copies of the application and supporting documents may be inspected at PCC’s Planning Services, located at the Gwalia in Llandrindod Wells, from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm.
18 January 2008
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