Plans for two large windfarms in rural Denbighshire were yesterday snubbed by officials – despite Parliamentary orders to increase renewable energy production across the UK.
Among the reasons cited were fears the removal of trees might lead to flooding, noise pollution and a possible adverse effect on tourism.
Denbighshire councillors were advised by their own planners to give the green light to two windfarms totalling 29 turbines.
But the county snubbed both plans – and went firmly against their officers’ advice.
The decision comes despite the same committee agreeing last year there should be windfarms on the exact same spot.
One plan, by Brenig Wind Limited, would have seen 16 turbines up to 100m tall being built on land east of Llyn Brenig.
And 13 wind turbines, up to 125m tall, would have been built by Tegni Cymru Cyf at Gorsedd Bran, near Nantglyn.
For both plans, 18 councillors voted against, four voted for and there were two abstentions.
The proposal may now go before a full council meeting, where the planning committee’s decision could be overturned.
Huw Smallwood, managing director of Corwen-based Tegni Cymru Cyf, said: “I can’t understand why they have done this.
“We have done everything correctly and worked with the Environment Agency to alleviate concerns about flooding.
“This is the same committee that, only last year, approved Interim Planning Guidance calling for windfarms in exactly this area. And yet the same people have gone and rejected this.”
Mr Smallwood said he did not yet know if he will appeal the decision.
Eryl Vaughan, managing director of Brenig Wind’s partners Windpower Wales Ltd, said: “Denbighshire does not have a great record of backing windfarms, and others have been refused only to be granted on appeal.
“It is a shock, especially given they backed a policy saying windfarms should be in this exact location. Both these plans were in that location.
“Members of the public will have the right to laugh at their decision. It is not over by any means – there are more considerations than the opinions of one small planning committee.”
Nantglyn councillor Paul Marfleet said: “It is a victory for common sense. If you plaster the area with wind turbines, it becomes an industrial site.
“This sends a very clear message to the Assembly and to Westminster that local politicians want to determine local planning decisions made on local issues, and not be dictated to from elsewhere.
“However, residents are very aware this is unlikely to be the end of the matter.”
Clwyd West AM Darren Millar said: “I very much welcome this decision.
“That said, there is still a chance that this decision could be challenged on appeal, which makes it all the more important those with concerns about the development continue to lobby their elected representatives.”
Earlier this week, energy experts claimed new EU climate change targets would see the UK having to produce 40% of its electricity from green sources within 12 years.
That would see the amount of wind turbines on land increasing four-fold.
By Roland Hughes
24 January 2008
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