Controversial plans which will see some of the tallest wind turbines in Wales built have been approved.
A planning application for 12 wind turbines at a height of 475ft (145m) in the Brechfa Forest near the scenic village of Abergorlech was heard by Carmarthenshire council’s planning committee on Tuesday afternoon.
A report by the local authority’s planning officer had previously recommended the scheme was passed.
It said: “Insufficient evidence has been submitted or exists to prove that the proposal will directly impact and result in significant adverse harm to the economic well being of the local tourism sector.”
Members from the council’s planning committee visited the Brechfa East site today where they were met by a large number of protesters.
Members of the Brechfa Forest Energy Action Group were also in attendance at County Hall during the afternoon’s decision session.
Speaking on Monday, Caroline Evans, co-ordinator for the action group, said: “Our problems really started in 2005 when the Welsh Government created their Tan8 note, essentially identifying seven areas of Wales suitable for large-scale wind farms, of which the Brechfa Forest was one.
“Tan8 areas are, by their very definition, geographic landscapes where nobody lives and where there is no discernible natural beauty.
“We obviously disagree with that, but we can’t do anything about it.”
Today she said: “We are obviously devastated with the decision but feel that important elements of our argument against the proposals could not be considered by councillors as they were in contrary to Tan8 and therefore tied the hands of the council.
“We will therefore now be seeking legal advice with a view to challenging the decision.”
The first application heard for the area, the Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm for 28 turbines, was controversially granted by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey in March.
Its size – more than 50 megawatts, powering the equivalent of up to 39,700 homes – meant the decision lay with the UK rather than Welsh Government, while the Brechfa East project, at a capacity of less than 50MW can be determined by Carmarthenshire County Council.
Both applications were made by RWE Npower, while plans for a separate 21-turbine wind farm in Llanllwni by renewable energy firm RES were rejected by planning officials in November 2012.
RES subsequently lodged an appeal for the Bryn Llywellyn application which was heard recently.
A decision is expected from Carl Sargeant AM in the New Year.
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