Applause greeted the rejection of a planned extension to a Llanharan windfarm that would have lasted for 25 years.
The application called for 11 new turbines, some reaching a height of 86 metres, to be added to the 20 already on the hill to the north of Brynna.
Civil engineer Hugh Smallwood told Taf Ely Development Control Committee how the turbines would generate enough electricity to power thousands of Welsh homes and contribute towards the Welsh Assembly Government’s renewables targets.
He promised: “Some £20,000 will also be put into a trust fund (each year) for the use of the local community for the duration of the windfarm.
“We only received two letters of objection to the scheme following our period of public consultation.”
But a presentation by Brynna resident Elizabeth Cole, who lives only two kilometres from the proposed site, claimed that the application contravened the council’s own planning regulations relating to nature conservation and landscape value.
She said: “This is a special landscape and conservation area. Furthermore the existing Taf Ely windfarm is due for demolition in five to 10 years.
“How can a new 25-year planning application be considered an extension to one that is due to be gone in five years?
“It has also been said that there were only two letters of objection, well the public meetings for this application were held two years ago, and none of them were held in Gilfach Goch.”
Speaking in favour of the application, Coun Mike Powell stressed the environmental benefits of wind power and warned that the application would most likely be passed if it went to appeal at the Welsh Assembly Government.
Both these points were refuted by councillor Aufron Roberts, who questioned the factual basis of global warming and the economic viability of wind farming.
She said: “There weren’t scientists around a thousand years ago to tell us whether the earth is going through a cycle of temperature change.
“And I’d like to know how much energy it takes to produce one of these turbines and when it will start paying itself off?”
The application was rejected with only three councillors, Mike Powell, Richard Yeo and Vivian Williams, voting in favour.
by Matthew Thomas, Pontypridd Observer
27 March 2008
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