The largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales has been given approval to be built in the picturesque countryside, despite campaigners condemning it as “ugly”, “inefficient” and “intrusive”.
The 76-turbine farm, which will be among the highest of its kind in Europe, will now be developed on a mountainside at Pen y Cymoed in South Wales.
The £300m project, which is the latest in a line of proposals protesters have campaigned against since 1994, has been supported by the UK’s energy minister Charles Hendry and approved, despite accusations it will be a “blight on the countryside”.
The development, by Swedish company Vattenfall, is expected to generate more power than any other wind farm in England and Wales and at 475ft will be taller than the London Eye.
It is predicted to generate 250 mega watts of power per year – the equivalent of powering 200,000 homes – and will inject £1bn into the local economy within 25 years of operation, according to the company.
Campaigners, who have portrayed their long “fight” against the developers as “one of David against Goliath”, have now said the proposal will be “detrimental” to the area’s future after they learned it could be constructed as early as next year.
A spokesperson for the Glyncorrwg Action Group said: “”This ugly, industrial wind farm development is totally unfair and it would ruin our landscape and our hopes to develop tourism.
“This proposal will be detrimental to our future, short-term gain will lead to long term losses of our beautiful landscape.
“Wind farms are ugly, inefficient and will spoil the wild beautiful areas around the village.”
Dr Brian Gibbons, former Welsh Assembly Member for nearby Aberavon, said: “I have said since seeing the plans for this windfarm some time ago that it is too big and far too intrusive to our local communities and in particular to the village of Glyncorrwg”.
The planning committees of Rhonnda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot Council did not object to the scheme.
Piers Guy, Vattenfall’s head of onshore wind development in the UK, said: “The project will see Vattenfall investing in a £3 million local habitat restoration project and a community fund that will provide guaranteed funding support for regeneration of more than £55million over the next 25 years.”
The wind farm will be the largest in England and Wales in terms of energy produced. The current record-holder is understood to be Scout Moor wind farm in Lancashire, which produces 65 mega watts of power with 26 turbines.
The decision comes just weeks after Prime Minister David Cameron called for more wind farms to boost British industry.
In a speech to energy ministers, he said more renewables must be built to keep the lights on while “protecting the planet for our children and grandchildren”.
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