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Betws Mountain wind farm fund ‘not enough’

A £3.5million community compensation fund, due to be set up by developers as part of the Betws Mountain Wind Farm, has been branded “not enough” by Ammanford community leaders.

The money, which is expected to see a £1million up-front payment followed by £100,000-a-year for 25 years, is to be paid by Irish state utilities firm ESB, which has been granted a licence to erect a 15-turbine wind farm on the mountain.

Work on the 350-foot turbines at the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm is expected to begin within three months despite growing opposition to the project.

Residents have been warned that the turbines will be visible from as far away as Llandybie and Brynaman.

The fund, which will be distributed through a trust made up of locally-elected members such as town councillors, has been criticised by one community leader.

“Personally I do not think it is worth it,” said Ammanford county councillor Hugh Evans.

“It is difficult to put a figure on all the inconvenience and noise as well as the things you cannot see.

“How they have worked it out I do not know.”

However, Cllr Evans, who opposed the plans at County Hall, accepted that with the project given a green light the communities affected would benefit from the compensation fund.

“At the end of the day I appreciate the money that is coming into the area,” he said.

Cllr Anthony Jones of Llandybie said the money would be a welcome boost to the local economy.

“The money coming has got to be good for the valley and discussions will have to be held with the developers,” he said.

“All the communities in the area could potentially benefit from this community fund.”

An ESB spokesman said: “For us it is all about being a good neighbour.

“We want to make sure this money, which we feel is quite a lot, is going to the right places.”

ESB is to hold a series of community information roadshows today at Glanaman and Ammanford, tomorrow at Pontardawe and Betws and on Friday at Gwaun cae Gurwen.