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Protest group fails to block farm plan for 60-metre wind turbine

Planners have backed a farmer who wants to build a 60-metre wind turbine near on his land – despite objections from people living nearby.

Anthony Thomas, of Nant y Gelli, applied for planning permission to Carmarthenshire Council.

The site is on a hilltop to the northeast of his farm, which is reached by a lane off the A484 between Cynwyl Elfed and Cwmduad.

In a statement to the county planning committee last Tuesday, he said: “I am a dairy farmer first and foremost and this was only thought of to generate my own electricity.

“This project certainly won’t make me a millionaire but will help one of a dwindling number of local farms in the area.”

Speaking against the application, neighbour John Spencer said: “It will be a dominant feature in the landscape for all the properties around.

“Our property is 100 feet below the site so in effect, this turbine is going to be 300 feet tall. It will be clearly visible from our front door and all the windows at the front of our house.

“Is this an acceptable price to pay?”

Carolyn Smethurst, of the anti-wind farm Brechfa Forest Energy Action Group, added: “This is going to have a huge impact on the area.

“The turbine is too big, too noisy and too close to dwellings.” Cynwyl Elfed county councillor Irfon Jones backed the objectors, saying: “The committee can see why there’s such opposition against this massive thing.

“I still believe there should be a buffer of 1,500 metres rather than 500.”

Turning to the committee, he added: “Would you like to wake up in the morning and see that. I don’t think so.”

Councillor Terry Davies said he sided with the farmer.

“We are all aware of the situation we find ourselves with the recession which is going to last a few more years,” he said.

“The agricultural industry is forced to diversify.

“On that basis I would find it very difficult not to grant permission.”

Councillor Tyssul Evans added: “As someone who’s been in the agricultural industry, I can never blame any farmer who is looking to diversify to improve their livelihoods.”

The committee asked if granting permission would set a precedent and the county’s head of planning, Eifion Bowen, said: “No, not in any way. Because one turbine has been granted it does not mean others will follow.”

The committee voted, ten in favour in planning and five against, and permission was granted.