TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams has hit out at Denbighshire’s decision to confirm approval for a large wind turbine within a protected beauty spot.
In an unusual move, the county council’s planning committee was asked to review an earlier decision to green light the 150ft on- farm turbine at Marian Mawr, Cwm, Dyserth.
But earlier this month the committee stood by its original decision despite widespread concerns over the impact on the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Now the AONB’s joint advisory committee has taken the “unprecedented step” of asking the Welsh Government to call in the application for further review.
Iolo Williams, a committed wind energy opponent, added his voice to the furore, labelling the decision an “absolute disgrace”.
“What ramifications will this have for other AONBs and even National Parks?” he said. “Surely, those idiots on the council can work out that “Outstanding Beauty” in AONB doesn’t mean wind turbines!?”
Councillors in favour of the 50kW Endurance turbine said renewable energy was an essential element of farm diversification and rural resilience.
The applicant, Aled Morris, runs a 300-head dairy herd and he hopes the income will offset Marian Mawr’s £19,000 annual electricity bill.
Opponents fear the decision will set a precedent: while wind turbines already exist in the AONB, they are much smaller at between 9m and 23m .
Critics are alarmed at the potential impact on AONB tourism, with the turbine lying just 700m from the Offa’s Dyke.
Karen Roden, of STEMM, said councillors had “let the genie out of the bottle”.
Her group is campaigning against ScottishPower Renewables’ plans for a 25-turbine windfarm on Mynydd Mynyllod, at 145 metres the tallest planned in Britain.
She said: “How can anyone state that this part of the AONB is of less scenic value than say, for example, the limestone escarpments near Llangollen, or the slopes of Moel Famau?
“They are all within the AONB, and therefore, all equally at risk.”
Iolo Williams has also added his name to a petition against wind farm development in Powys, his home county.
A 39-week public inquiry into plans to build five windfarms in Powys will start in Welshpool on June 4.
It will also consider National Grid’s power line proposals, which will connect a new substation at Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, to the national network at Lower Frankton, near Oswestry.
The exact line of the power line, some of which will be carried by overhead pylons, will be announced in the autumn.
Objectors plan a rally on June 4, starting at 9am, from the town hall to the Royal Oak Hotel where the inquiry is being held.
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