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New plans submitted for controversial Mynydd y Gwair wind farm  

Credit:  by Chris Kelsey, WalesOnline, May 31 2012 www.walesonline.co.uk ~~

A renewable energy company has confirmed it will submit new plans for a controversial wind farm after its previous scheme was blocked by the Court of Appeal.

RWE npower renewable says it will present a revised planning application for the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm north of Swansea later this year.

The new plans will include the removal of three turbines in response to concerns over the possible impact on an area of peat within the development area.

Project manager Gwenllian Elias said “significant efforts” had been made to address planning and community concerns that were raised during the planning process last year.

She said: “We’re quite aware that there’s continued speculation surrounding the site, and that’s why we’ve been keen to make our intentions clear as early as we can.

“The revisions within the proposals are backed by additional studies we’ve undertaken to further review environmental impacts, viewpoints, and to redesign the turbine layout to minimise impacts.

“Following this work, we remain convinced that this is a good site for a wind farm. It is well designed, within a designated TAN 8 area, remote and with excellent wind resource – and all of this was acknowledged in the public inquiry in 2011.”

The proposed wind farm site is on common land around nine miles north of Swansea. It is in one of the Tan 8 areas identified by the Welsh Government as being most suitable for large-scale wind farm development.

RWE npower says that, once fully operational, Mynydd y Gwair would make “an important contribution” to the Welsh Government’s targets of delivering low carbon energy from renewable sources.

It is expected the revised proposal will include 16 turbines instead of the original 19, each up to 127m high to the tip of the blade. The wind farm could potentially generate up to 48 megawatts of electricity.

Miss Elias added: “Mynydd y Gwair would be a reliable, low carbon source of electricity for Wales.

“And it could also offer new business opportunities for local firms, while presenting nearby communities with the chance to bring to life important local projects through an associated community benefits fund.

“We will be looking to work closely with local communities in the future, to investigate how best to deliver these benefits, should our application be successful.”

In March the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling in favour of the wind farm development.

The High Court in July 2011 had rejected the Welsh Government’s decision not to approve the wind farm because of the impact it would have in peat bog habitat in the area.

But the appeal court judges agreed with the planning inspectors that the wind farm should not be allowed because of “the harmful effect of the proposed development on the peat bog habitat.”

RWE npower says it is working closely with Welsh Government and the South Wales and Swansea business communities to ensure opportunities likely to emerge from wind farm development and operation are realised in Wales.

Two weeks ago the company hosted a major supply chain event in Swansea, with around 200 South Wales businesses attending.

The announcement on the new proposals comes as plans to build a separate £3bn wind farm in the Bristol Channel were scaled back by the company.

RWE npower renewables yesterday said it had agreed to reduce the number of turbines from 417 to 278 after holding a public consultation on the proposed Atlantic Array wind farm, which was originally the size of the Isle of Wight.

Campaigners have claimed the move will result in bigger turbines.

Meanwhile, a National Assembly committee has called for tougher noise guidelines to protect wind farm neighbours.

As reported in yesterday’s Western Mail, the Petitions Committee has called for faulty wind turbines to be switched off at night and for the introduction of buffer zones to protect nearby residents.

Source:  by Chris Kelsey, WalesOnline, May 31 2012 www.walesonline.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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