August 29, 2014

Wind turbine plans for Llanaelhaearn divide village

Straeon Perthnasol | BBC News | 29 Awst 2014 |

Plans for a wind turbine in a Gwynedd village have divided the community with some people claiming they have been ostracised for opposing the scheme.

The application for a 67-metre (219 ft) wind turbine in Llanaelhaearn, near Pwllheli, is recommended for refusal by Gwynedd councillors on Monday.

Supporters claim the turbine could generate nearly £3m profit over twenty years for a poor community.

But council officers say it would be an “alien feature” harming the landscape.

The scheme is being proposed by four farmers and the Antur Aelhaearn co-operative, on farmland on the eastern side of Moelfre hill.

Dr Carl Clowes, who chairs the turbine project, said: “Llanaelhaearn is still one of the poorest areas in Wales as regards fuel poverty and a lack of affordable housing for young people.

“With this project we can inject money to rejuvenate the community. One hundred per cent of the profit from the turbine will come to the Antur and 20% will be used for fuel poverty.”

The backers claim profits from the scheme could be re-invested to create 26 jobs and finance a nursery, school improvements, a history centre, village shop and other benefits.

However, opponents including Natural Resources Wales and historic monuments charity Cadw have pointed out that the turbine would be close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and several historical landmarks including the Tre’r Ceiri Iron Age hill fort.

Some residents told the BBC their opposition to the scheme has led to such ill feeling that some families have removed their children from the village school.

In a report to Gwynedd council’s planning committee, officers recommend the project be refused, saying it would have “a substantial harmful effect on the open feeling of the area” by creating an “alien and oppressive feature” for local residents.

The report adds that any promised community or economic benefits would not overcome the “substantial harmful effect” of the development.

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