Plans for 32 wind turbines at a Denbighshire beauty spot have been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
RWE npower renewables confirmed this week that they have completed the much anticipated Clocaenog Forest windfarm application.
It comes just weeks after they were given permission for 28 turbines measuring 475ft (145m) in Brechfa Forest West, South Wales.
The company, which operates onshore windfarms in Germany, Spain, Poland, Netherlands and Italy, sent its plans last Thursday by courier to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), which is the independent body that decides applications for ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects’ such as this.
PINS now has 28 days – until April 25 – to check the documents have all been completed in the correct format, a process known as ‘validation’.
“This is broadly an administrative stage until it announces whether or not to accept (validate) the application and in no way an endorsement of the application or an indicator of approval,” said Mark Flemming, PR officer for the Wales branch of RWE npower renewables.
Once this has been done the formal consultation process will begin and the public
will be able to see further details of the plans and submit their views.
“We have a duty to inform people that the application has been validated, and to explain in detail what they need to do next to remain a part of the planning process,” said Mr Flemming.
“We will be doing this through a variety of measures, including a community wide newsletter to over 13,000 people; online; through press notices and newspaper ads; letters to stakeholders, etc. At this stage, PINs will also set up a website for the project.”
At this point people must register if they are to be allowed to take further part in the planning consideration process and details on how to do this will be circulated locally, and via the PINS website, once the application has been validated.
RWE npower renewables has been working on the proposals for the Clocaenog Forest windfarm since 2008 and says “dependent on the final installed capacity, the windfarm has the potential to generate between 64-96MW of energy from renewable sources, equivalent to the domestic needs of up to approximately 40,800 average UK households”.
Fierce opposition to the turbines has already been raised with concerns including that the windfarm will have a negative impact on vegetation and wildlife and that the felling of trees to make way for the turbines will cause flooding.
There are also fears about the impact construction traffic will have on surrounding roads.
Anti-windfarm campaigner Mike Skuse, who lives near Ruthin, said: “It is essential that everybody registers their interest when they are invited to do so.
“The time has arrived at last, after so many years, when this appalling scheme will be decided.
“Let’s not just lie back and let big money walk all over our countryside.”
RWE npower renewables says it has been “working closely with ornithologists and ecologists to produce a habitat management plan which will be implemented with the agreement of Forestry Commission Wales”.
The company has also said it is keen to work with businesses in North Wales to ensure the windfarm aids the economy.
It says if it is successful with its application it intends to offer a community benefit package which “could be worth up to £480,000 each year that the site is operational”.
A report by RWE npower renewables adds: “In addition to the community benefits package, and subject to gaining consent, we also propose to offer an Economic Development Package .
“This will be worth around a further £288,000 in each year that the site is operational (subject to final installed capacity).
“This package will be designed to benefit the communities closest to the windfarm, particularly by supporting local economic development activities.”
An economic study commissioned by RWE npower renewables estimates that construction of the windfarm could potentially generate up to £22 million in Wales as well as up to 30 full times jobs during construction and 22 additional jobs during operation, with “at least three of these jobs likely to be directly employed by RWE npower renewables”.
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