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Giant wind farm one step closer  

Credit:  WalesOnline, www.walesonline.co.uk 11 January 2011 ~~

What could be the biggest onshore wind farm in England and Wales has come a step closer today after Neath Port Talbot councillors decided not to object to the huge project.

Swedish-owned energy firm Nuon wants to site 79 wind turbines each nearly three times the height of the 169-ft Nelson’s Column on land south of the Heads of the Valleys road in South Wales.

The planned Pen y Cymoedd wind farm would stretch between Aberdare and Neath on land south of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road.

Many of the turbines would be above the Afan Valley village of Glyncorrwg where mountain biking, hiking and fishing are starting to make an impact.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change will have the final say on the proposal but if Neath Port Talbot Council’s planning committee had lodged an objection this afternoon it could have triggered a public inquiry.

Councillors voted 17 – 15 not to object.

Afterwards teacher Rob Slater who heads the Glyncorrwg Action Group opposing the plans said if the wind farm went ahead it would be “an environmental disaster” for the Afan Valley.

The turbines will be seen from Cilfrew, Resolven, Tonmawr, Margam Country Park and other spots around South Wales.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, also consultees, are to give their views soon.

Nuon says it will pump millions of pounds a year into the local economy over its 25-year life, through initial building work, ground rents and other payments to communities.

The wind farm would generate about 300mw of electricity for the National Grid, helping the Assembly Government meet renewable energy targets under its climate change obligations.

Local AM and former minister Brian Gibbons has called for a public inquiry into the plans and Aberavon MP Hywel Francis is backing objectors concerned that mountain biking, hiking and fishing in the Afan Valley would be badly hit by the project.

Source:  WalesOnline, www.walesonline.co.uk 11 January 2011

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