Controversial plans to site the biggest wind farm in England and Wales on land south of the Heads of the Valleys road have taken a major step forward.
Neath Port Talbot Council, on whose land many of the 84 giant turbines will be placed, is being recommended by its officials not to object to the project by Swedish owned energy firm Nuon.
The turbines will be among the highest in Europe, standing at 475ft tall, higher than the London Eye and the Second Severn Crossing.
The recommendation not to object comes despite Aberavon MP Hywel Francis siding with local objectors to the scheme and local AM Dr Brian Gibbons calling for a public inquiry.
A total of 107 individual households have sent letters of objection and a petition has been signed by 47 people. Neath Port Talbot Council’s planning committee, which will discuss the application today, will be told those against the development have 136 separate grounds of objection.
The turbines will dominate the Afan Valley village of Glyncorrwg.
The turbines are too high and will dominate the skyline for miles.
The tourism which has built up in the Afan Valley, including mountain biking, bird watching, hiking and fishing, will be badly hit.
Wind turbines are unreliable sources of energy, the proposal could have a devastating effect on local communities for a relatively small energy return.
If approved by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the wind farm could be up and running by 2012-13.
It is expected to generate up to 300MW of energy for the National Grid and the Welsh Assembly Government meet its renewable energy targets under climate change obligations.
A report by Neath Port Talbot Council planning officials says: “The conclusions are that this wind farm will provide substantial benefits through the potential for locally manufactured towers made from steel or concrete and instigating a procurement programme that favours local sourcing for all aspects of the construction and operation phases of the wind farm.”
However, the report says there will be “significant visual effects”.
Nuon said: “We will support the retention and creation of around 300 jobs during the construction phase and 50 permanent jobs thereafter.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding