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Campaigners: Mynydd windfarm fight will carry on

A campaign group against proposals for wind turbines on a Neath mountain, say they are now ready to start their second fight.

Neath Port Talbot Council refused an application from RSE to build five turbines on Mynydd March Hywel in February.

But RSE, whose turbines would have a maximum blade tip height of 126.5metres, have appealed against the decision.

There is set to be an inquiry with a Welsh Government planning inspector later this year.

Now members of the Mynydd March Hywel Protection Group have held the first of a series of meetings with the public.

They’ve been allowed, under rule six of planning regulations, to put their case to the inspector as an “interested party”, said chairman Simon Boex.

The first meeting was held in Crynant, with members of the group from the Dulais Valley village taking the meeting alongside Mr Boex.

Gwyn Thomas, who lives near Cefn Coed Colliery Museum, opened the meeting and thanked everyone involved so far for their help, including the councillors who refused the application. “Through their work and opposition, we managed to win round one of this particular event,” he said.

“But it’s not over.

“Round two is just around the corner.”

An application for 12 turbines was first submitted to Neath Port Talbot Council in 2007.

But in 2012, another application for the five turbines was instead submitted – with the group continuing the fight.

Now campaigners are asking the public of the Dulais, Neath and Swansea Valleys to come forward with their memories of times spent on the mountain, in a bid to try to win the appeal, and keep the rejection of the application in place.

The team is also appealing for people to help them with fundraising ideas, to pay for a barrister and expert witness for the inquiry.

Mr Boex said: “We have raised £12,000 so far, but we do need around £25,000 to pay for it all.”

The group, which already has some paid up members, is calling on people in all the affected communities – from Onllwyn to Cilybebyll – to join for a fee of £20, which will go straight to the campaign fund.

One resident at the meeting said he had already paid £20, but would happily pay another £20 in a bid to “get something done”. Mr Thomas warned those at Crynant Community Centre that the approval of the application would create a “circle” of wind farms on mountains across the region.

“The Pen y Cymoedd development in the Afan Valley will be the biggest number of turbines in Europe,” he said.

“There are also plans for around 10 turbines in the Maes Gwyn area (between Glynneath and Onllwyn), and also at Hir Fynydd.

“We are starting to see it creep down the valley, you can see it up in Onllwyn and even down in Briton Ferry.”

The group has previously claimed that the turbines would be seen from as far away as Gower.

Further meetings will be held in Bryncoch on October 6 and in Rhos on October 8.

In Swansea, a controversial scheme to site 16 wind turbines on a beauty spot was passed by councillors, subject to conditions.

The plan for the turbines, which will have a maximum height to blade tip of 127 metres with a hub height of 80 metres, at Mynydd y Gwair was approved in March this year.

To join the Mynydd March Hywel group, or send your memories, email marchhywelprotectiongroup@gmail.com