Residents who have campaigned for nine years to save a Neath mountain from wind turbines say their fight is not over.
Councillors in Neath Port Talbot have turned down a planning application which involved five wind turbines, with a maximum blade tip height of 126.5metres, built at Mynydd Marchhywel, between Rhos and Cilfrew.
However, despite the news, campaigners from March Hywel Protection Group, who claimed the development would have been visible from the Gower – 15 miles away – say they will continue their fight.
Group chairman Simon Boex said, like many other schemes which are rejected, the developers could appeal.
“Whatever they do we will continue to try and protect a superb piece of open access mountain, which is right in the heart of the communities of Neath and the Swansea Valley,” he said.
He said the group was very pleased “common sense was displayed” by councillors.
He added: “Mynydd March Hywel can be seen from many places across the county and beyond and protecting the landscape and skyline from huge wind turbines, each more than a third the height of the ridge they would stand on is important.
“I hope this decision sends a message to the developer and others that boundaries and guidelines are not arbitrary obstacles and need to be respected.”
Almost 600 people voiced their concerns about the development, although Neath Port Talbot Council also received 63 letters of support of the wind farm.
Developer RES UK & Ireland said it expected the project to inject around £1.4 million into the local economy during development, construction and the first year of operation.
RES project manager, Chris Jackson, said they were “astonished” that the project had been rejected.
The application had been recommended for approval.
“RES has consulted extensively with local people throughout the development phase and we proactively responded to concerns about the scale of development by reducing the scheme from 11 to five turbines,” he said.
“At a time when electricity bills are being inflated by global gas demand and the UK is closing down many older and inefficient power stations, the decision to reject a well-designed renewable energy scheme like Mynydd Marchywel Wind Farm is frankly bizarre.”
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