A giant wind turbine opposed by hundreds of residents faces being halted – by a colony of bats.
The application for the 200ft turbine at Ty Gwyn, Penmynydd, which would have hit the landscape close to the scenic Menai Strait, received nearly 370 letters of objection.
Now officers have recommended its refusal – citing the proximity to bat habitats and visual impact on the landscape.
It is down to be debated by councillors next week although the applicant yesterday said it was also now in the appeals process with the planning inspectorate due to the failure by the council to determine the application within the statutory timeframes.
Another application for a 150ft turbine at Tre-Ifan, Brynsiencyn, is also recommended for refusal over visual impact and its proximity to ancient monuments.
Anti-turbine campaigners say the tide is turning against large on-shore single turbines and windfarms that threaten to blight the Anglesey countryside.
Campaigner Mairede Thomas said: “I think that people are the most important but ultimately I will accept help from anyone, including bats.
“The Welsh Government has put together some more planning guidance on historic and natural environments and landscapes. I think this has started to filter through now to planning officers as shown here and this is good news for ourselves.
“I think things are starting to move in the right direction on this issue and I am very pleased with these recommendations.
“My fingers are now crossed councillors listen to the recommendations.”
The council’s ecological advisor and the Countryside Council for Wales raised concerns about the proximity to a hedgerow used by bats and advised moving the turbine but the agent for the applicant, Windberry Operations, said this was “unlikely”.
Studies have shown a fall in bat activity close to wind turbines with the flying mammals killed by fast moving blades – prompting new guidance on the safe distance from turbines to bat habitats.
Reductions in bat populations have a knock-on effect on farmers as they eat large numbers of crop-damaging insects, reducing money spent on pesticides.
On Facebook, Susie Braisdell said: “As humans we have a duty of care to protect the wildlife and the ecosystem as we all know if you have an imbalance in the ecosystem it causes extreme problems elsewhere.”
The planning report said the developer had not shown there would not be an unacceptable impact on bats. Planners also objected to the plans over concerns on its impact on Pentraeth Forest and the coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The 150ft turbine at Brynsiencyn, which had nearly 600 letters of opposition, is also marked for refusal.
In this case it is the visual impact and also the proximity to the Trefwri standing stone and Pont Sarn-Las hut group.
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