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Council opposes windfarm plans

Powys County Council is to formally object to three large wind farm applications that will be decided by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The council’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday that it would object to applications for wind farms at Llanbrynmair, Llandinam and Llaithddu. The decision is likely to trigger a public inquiry on the applications.

More than 200 protesters waved banners outside County Hall in Llandrindod Wells before the start of the meetings.

RenewableUK Cymru said the council’s decision would come as a blow to many local businesses that stood to benefit from the developments.

A meeting of the full county council was held before the cabinet meeting and expressed the view that the three applications should not be supported because of the unacceptable impact on the highway network, the unacceptable landscape and visual impact of the applications, the detrimental effect on tourism and other economic factors, the unacceptable impact/insufficient information on biodiversity (including hydrology), insufficient information on noise impacts (Llandinam and Llaithddu), and the detrimental impact on interests of cultural heritage (Llanbrynmair and Llandinam).

After considering reports, the cabinet voted to object to the three applications.

Reasons for objection included unacceptable impact on the highway network, landscape, biodiversity, cumulative impact of development and the potential impact on tourism and the economy and National Grid connections.

Full details for the objections will be confirmed later.

Both meetings were broadcast live on the internet because of the level of interest.

“Unfortunately due to technical difficulties beyond our control live coverage was lost for a short period but the full debate will be available on the council’s website shortly and will remain available for sometime,” said a spokesperson for the council.

These applications for developments with energy outputs above 50mw will now be determined by the DECC. The county council is a statutory consultee. The county council is the planning authority for all applications below 50 mw.

Dr David Clubb, director of RenewableUK Cymru, said: “Onshore wind has already demonstrated that it can bring significant benefits to the local economy and environment. The decision by Powys County Council will come as a blow to the many local businesses that stood to benefit from these developments.

“Contrast this with the recent approval of schemes in South Wales which has led to a high level of activity amongst suppliers who are gearing up to meet demand.

“Onshore wind can generate job opportunities and habitat improvements for local communities and we will continue to work with the Welsh Government and local businesses, communities and councils to ensure that the benefits to Wales are maximised.”