People in Ammanford have been taken by surprise at the sight of giant wind turbines arriving on the horizon.
This is the claim of county councillor Deian Harries, who said residents had not expected the 15 hulking structures to arrive on Mynydd y Betws so soon.
“People have been in for a shock,” said Mr Harries after the first 150-tonne lorry had made its way from Swansea Docks to the mountain. “They did not expect the turbines to arrive now and it’s taken everyone by surprise.”
The company behind the build, ESB, said it had made every effort to inform people of the schedule, printing thousands of flyers and advertising in newspapers.
But a company spokesman said most publicity had been focused in the Swansea Valley, through which the turbines were being transported, not Ammanford.
“They are not going to be erected immediately,” he said. “So the focus is on the journey, transporting the abnormal loads.”
Vehicles of up to 50 metres long and weighing 150 tonnes have begun using the A474 to travel to the site, which overlooks Ammanford on the border of Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire.
The massive turbine parts will be delivered between now and October. After that, people in Ammanford can expect to see the monolithic blades pop up on their skyline. The company said the wind farm would be completed and plugged into the grid at some point in the first quarter of 2013.
“The exact date of completion will depend on the weather,” Mr Fellows added. “We cannot put them up while it is windy.”
The Mynydd y Betws wind farm has divided opinion in the town: some people, like Mr Harries, have described it as “sacrilege”, while others welcomed the multimillion-pound community fund ESB have promised. The project is one of several planned or in construction in Carmarthenshire, as well as an offshore development lined up in the Bristol Channel. But it has not been without its problems.
When the plans were first announced, residents in the Swansea Valley formed the Communities Acting Together, objecting to the prospect of the parts of the turbines being driven through their tiny communities.
They claimed such loads would delay emergency services, damage the route, lower property prices and potentially cut off communities if one stretch, Gelligron Hill, which had subsidence trouble in the past, collapsed. The police, however, have given their blessing to the transport plan.
Furthermore, earlier this year, freelance archaeologists claimed they had found a 5,000-year-old “stone row” on the site.
This was rejected by ESB’s own archaeologists, the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, and the work continued unhindered.
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