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Power company under fire over turbine scheme

County planners have criticised a wind farm developer for failings during its public consultation.

Members of Carmarthenshire Council’s planning committee were looking at the way an energy company dealt with people about its plans for 28 turbines on land to the east of Alltwalis.

The project is called Brechfa Forest West and the developer is RWE Npower Renewables.

At the meeting last week, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth councillor Linda Evans said: “In my opinion as the local member (councillor), I can say sincerely the consultation has not been done fully.

“I know local people will consult directly with the company in relation to noise and access.

“We were not told want the access was and that is on of the most important things to do with that development.

“If this company wants the community to work with them, they must come to the community.”

The decision for planning permission for the wind farm will not be made by Carmarthenshire councillors because it is too large.

Instead it has been submitted to the Government’s Infra- structure Planning Commission (IPC).

As part of the IPC process, the councillors met last Tuesday to decide their response on how well the public consultation has gone so far.

Planning officer Richard Jones submitted a report to the councillors on the officers’ observations.

He said: “We’ve been told that feedback from local residents has not been dealt with effectively.

“The council considers there is a failure on the part of the developers for local people to put forward their ideas and have a role in the proposals.”

Head of planning Eifion Bowen added that it was ultimately up to the IPC to decide if Npower had completed the consultation successfully.

He said many areas, such as publicity, public notices and meetings had been completed satisfactorily.

Other areas of concern raised by the officers however include that the Ministry of Defence was not listed as a consultee;

letters were not sent to residents further than five kilometres away; it was not clear if comments from Carmarthenshire Council had been included in reports sent to the IPC; no evidence of talks with Statkraft about access through the Alltwalis wind farm and

Npower had not done enough to assess the impact on tourism.

The councillors agreed amendments to the report and voted to send their comment to the IPC.

The IPC will rule by December 2 if it accepts the application from Npower.