William Powell, Shadow Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, has criticised the Welsh Government for its continued failure to listen to the concerns of local residents over wind farm noise and its almost entire rejection of a cross-party NAW Petitions Committee report into the control of noise from wind turbines.
William Powell, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales and Chair of the Petitions Committee, said:
“It is highly regrettable that the Welsh Government has once again decided to ignore the voices of Mid Wales residents and reject many of the modest and common sense recommendations of this report.
It is important to stress that this report’s recommendations are neither anti-wind nor pro-wind. The effectiveness of on-shore wind energy, and its place in the future Welsh energy mix, is not at issue. However, such developments must be based upon a policy of meaningful public engagement and delivered with the support of their surrounding communities.
Responding to local concerns regarding a wind farm in Carmarthenshire, this report recommends that minimum distances of 500m be established as buffer zones between the location of farms and noise sensitive developments. It also suggests that regulations be amended to ensure that acceptable noise levels be lower at night than during the day and that faulty turbines be turned off until repaired to avoid unnecessary noise. Unfortunately the Welsh Government decided to reject all of these genuine concerns.
Finally the report highlighted the need for a meaningful consultation with people who live close to turbines so that their experiences can help shape developments. While accepting this in principle, the Welsh Government clarified its position by stating that its target audience ‘will be local authority planners, environmental health officers and applicants [energy companies]’. None of these are local residents and communities and this once again highlights the way the Welsh Government is continuing to ignore their legitimate concerns and simply carry on regardless.”
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