Residents in the Upper Swansea Valley are being encouraged to protest outside a planning meeting on Tuesday to prevent their communities from becoming gridlocked by huge lorries.
The newly formed Communities Acting Together group fear a new wind farm on Mynydd y Betws, behind Rhydyfro, being built by Cambrian Renewable Energy Ltd, will see vehicles more than 50 metres long and weighing 150 tonnes clogging up the A474 through Pontardawe and up towards Cwmgors.
Opponents said such loads would delay emergency services, damage the route, lower property prices and potentially cut off communities if one stretch in particular, Gelligron Hill, which has had subsidence trouble in the past, collapses.
Around 60 concerned residents attended a meeting on Thursday in Llan Community Hall, near Pontardawe. Campaigner Geoff Moore told them: “There will be a demonstration outside Neath Port Talbot’s planning committee meeting in the Civic Centre, Port Talbot, on Tuesday at 2pm.
“We are going to try to get as many people there as possible.”
Fellow campaigner Ron Williams added: “We are going to make a stand for people of this area and hopefully make them think again.”
Mr Williams added: “The turbine farm has been passed, however they want to bring the vehicles and component parts in through Neath Port Talbot.
“The disruption is going to be severe.
“Some of those vehicles are 60 metres long and with the turbines onboard will weigh around 150 tonnes. We don’t think the roads will stand up to the strain, especially Gelligron hill, on the way up from Pontardawe, which has had problems in the past.
“They also say that they will be able to allow the emergency services past on the straight bits, but from Tesco the nearest straight is three miles away.
“These vehicles will be going to the site more than 500 times a week,” he claimed.
Mr Williams also said he believed it could have an affect on property prices and advised residents living on the route to check their insurance.
“I believe it is going to affect the properties. It is known that when these wind farms are built property values drop by up to 40 per cent,” he claimed.
A Neath Port Talbot Council Spokeswoman played down the increase in traffic.
She said: “Although the contract for the wind farm is over 12 months, the increase in traffic on the A474 at the height of construction would be a maximum of 2.5 per cent over a six-week period.
“During the rest of the contract period the additional volume of traffic would be below this figure.
“The A474 is a primary route and has been used to transport abnormal loads over the years.”
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