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Mynydd y Gwair wind farm: Plans go before Swansea council  

Credit:  BBC News | 7 February 2013 | www.bbc.co.uk ~~

Plans for a controversial wind farm at a beauty spot near Swansea will go before councillors later.

There has been considerable local opposition to the proposals at Mynydd y Gwair in Felindre, with claims turbines will spoil the area’s natural beauty.

Last year Appeal Court judges in London overturned an earlier decision allowing a 19-turbine plan.

Energy firm RWE N-Power Renewables has resubmitted its proposal and reduced the turbine numbers to 16.

The company said the 48 megawatt (MW) project would provide energy for nearly 25,000 homes.

It involves building the 16 turbines, the tips of the blades measuring some 400ft (121m) tall, on a 1,200ft (365m) high hill overlooking the Bristol Channel.

Gwenllian Elias of RWE N-Power Renewables said the site had been chosen because Mynydd y Gwair was within the Welsh government’s strategic sites under the TAN8 policy for large scale wind development.

“And also it’s a very windy location, so we’ll have some very positive energy results,” she told BBC Wales.

“The proposed wind farm will actually create the equivalent energy needs of nearly 25,000 homes on average a year.”

The proposals for Mynydd y Gwair have been the focus of a long running dispute.

The Open Spaces Society has renewed its call to Swansea council to reject the latest application for the site.

It claims the wind farm will destroy the “magnificent stretch of unspoilt common land”, eight miles (12km) north of Swansea.

The society’s general secretary Kate Ashbrook said: “The proposed development would rip the heart out of the common.

“Mynydd y Gwair is a breezy upland close to urban centres.

“It is of huge importance to local people for informal recreation -wild country on their doorstep.

“The public has the right to walk here and commoners have rights to graze their animals. It would be vandalism to site 16 wind-turbines on this land.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, local farmer Glyn Morgan, chairman of action group Save Our Common Environment (Socme), said the energy firm’s plan was “destruction at a grand scale”.

“It’s a living, working landscape where the farmers depend on the common to graze their animals out on to,” Mr Morgan said.

‘Entirely suited’

“It is an important human and wildlife resource. We’ve got three walking clubs that have been set up in the area to go onto Mynydd y Gwair to enjoy the vista and the views.”

The company said it would look to replace common land and it wanted to work with the commoners throughout the development “to minimise any impact that the project may have on them and their livestock”.

The original plans for Mynydd y Gwair were rejected by Swansea councillors after it emerged the original 19 turbines would rise to a height of up to 127m (416ft).

It led to a public inquiry, which again rejected the plans, before a High Court judge agreed to the proposals in July last year.

However, the Appeal Court then blocked the development in March last year.

The court said it recognised that a wind farm would be acceptable on the current site, if harm to the peat land could be avoided.

The company said the updated design with the revised plan was “entirely suited to its location”.

Source:  BBC News | 7 February 2013 | www.bbc.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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