A firm planning on transporting massive wind turbines through the Swansea Valley has been told to “go away and think again”.
More than 40 placard-waving members of the public attended a meeting of Pontardawe Town Council to hear details of how 75 abnormal loads, some as long as 49 meters and weighing as much as 138 tonnes, will be transported from Swansea Docks, through Pontardawe and Rhydyfro to Mynydd y Betws, near Cwmgors.
While Irish electricity firm ESB has been granted planning permission for the 15 turbine wind farm by Carmarthenshire Council, it has yet to be given the rubber stamp to transport the huge loads by road through Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
Councillor Mike James told ESB representatives at the town council meeting on Monday night: “It’s not our wind farm, as far as the planning application was concerned it was Carmarthenshire’s, take them through Carmarthenshire.
“Unless you can convince these people that you can do this safely we can cause you so much grief. I suggest you go away and think again.”
Fellow Pontardawe and Neath Port Talbot councillor Linet Purcell also vowed to oppose any route through Pontardawe.
She said: “It appears to be just this town council that is standing up for the rights of the people.”
The main grounds for objection is the damage an estimated 420 heavy goods vehicles a week could do to the highways especially the Gelligron Hill stretch between Pontardawe and Rhydyfro.
Previously part of the carriageway, which sides a steep drop, collapsed and required a multi-million pound repair.
Resident and campaigner Marion Comaskey threatened a human chain to block any traffic diverted through the Cefn Llan estate, saying: “When Gelligron collapses again we are at risk from speeding cars. We will not allow it.”
Speaking for ESB, Oisin Bergin, said: “We are aware of the previous collapse (of Gelligron Hill) and have discussed it in detail with the council.
“The council is more than happy that the roads are sufficient to carry the loads.”
Another fear is that such large loads could delay emergency services vehicles.
However Mr Bergin said: “There will be sufficient room in a number of areas for emergency vehicles to pass.”
Carmarthenshire Council spokesman Ron Cant said: “Geographically, the suggestion to re-route through Carmarthenshire is impracticable.
“Physically, Carmarthenshire’s only working harbour at Burry Port is wholly unsuitable as it based in a tidal estuary and wind farm energy goes into the national grid for the mutual benefit of all.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding