The next stage in the Welsh Assembly Government’s drive to increase renewable energy to combat climate change has been reached today [Tuesday, 1 April], First Minister Rhodri Morgan has announced.
In October the First Minister announced that preferred bidders would be invited to sign agreements which would allow them to seek planning permission for the construction of wind farms in areas of Assembly-owned woodland.
These areas are within woodland managed by the Forestry Commission and located within Strategic Search Areas (SSA). The Strategic Search Areas were published in TAN 8, the Assembly Government’s guidance for renewable energy in 2005.
Three companies have now signed agreements with the Welsh Assembly Government which will allow them to seek planning permission to develop wind farms in the woodlands which are managed by Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) on behalf of the Assembly Government. The signing of the agreements is the result of a rigorous process conducted by FCW to identify the most suitable companies.
As well as their ability to contribute towards the Assembly’s renewable targets, the process considered the extent of community and wider economic benefits being offered by each bidder along with the potential impact of the programme on the management of the woodlands.
The successful companies are:
* NPower in SSA A, Clocaenog Forest
* Nuon in SSAs E, Pontardawe and F, Coed Morgannwg
* ScottishPower Renewables (an Ibedrola Renovables SA company) in SSA B, Carno North
If a company gets planning consent, they will be awarded a lease to enable the development to take place.
The First Minister said:
Climate change is the biggest challenge we face in the world, and Wales will play its full part in tackling it. Wind energy is a renewable energy technology that is commercially viable and Wales is ideally suited to harness wind energy.
That is why today’s announcement is so significant because it demonstrates that Wales is determined to play its full part in the important battle against climate change. The process we have followed with this scheme is designed to ensure that local communities, as well as the nation as a whole, reap the maximum benefits from these ambitious proposals.
All the proposed developments will be subject to the normal independent processes of planning approval.
FCW is continuing to work with potential developers in the remaining SSAs described in TAN 8 and aims to announce the completion of further agreements shortly.
Source: Welsh Assembly Government
2 April 2008
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