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‘Traffic exceeds access limits to wind farm site’

Campaigners fighting plans for a wind farm above the Swansea Valley say the number of construction vehicles accessing the site far exceeds the limits outlined when the controversial scheme was given the go-ahead.

Members of the Communities Acting Together group have been monitoring the coming and goings for the new wind farm in Mynydd y Betws, above Rhydyfro, since work began.

The dogged residents camped at the site entrance have been photographing every lorry, van and digger and recording the time they arrive and leave since work began – and in some weeks they say the amount of traffic movement has been more than double those given by developers in the planning application.

The projected number of vehicle movements per week in the application was 580 – but in one week residents say they logged almost 1,400 vehicles going to and from the site.

Ron Williams, from Communities Acting Together said: “We have people outside the site from 7am until they finish work in the evenings.

“The numbers we have collected are very different from those in the planning application.

“We warned Neath Port Talbot Council that the job could not be done on the figures provided – we feel that they are very dismissive, it could appear that they are treating us contemptuously.”

So far the work on the wind farm has been focused on building an access road from the A474 – but eventually lorries up to 150ft long and weighing 140 tonnes will be visiting the site carrying blades and turbines from Swansea Docks through Pontardawe and up Gelligron hill – a situation residents have described as a “nightmare”. While Carmarthenshire Council granted planning permission to Cambrian Renewable Energy for the turbines, access to the site had to be allowed by Neath Port Talbot.

Geoff White, head of planning services at Neath Port Talbot Council, said the local authority was looking at the residents’ figures along with those submitted by developers.

He added: “Following conclusion of that assessment we will be in a position to confirm whether or not the vehicle movements are in accordance with those predicted under the planning application.

“We will therefore reserve our position until this assessment has been completed.”

A spokesman for Cambrian Renewable Energy said the firm had kept the council fully informed of the number of vehicles movements and that the company was “fully compliant” with its planning conditions.