The company behind the controversial Mynydd y Gwair wind farm planned near Swansea hopes the project will soon be back on track after submitting a new application to deregister common land at the site.
In July the Welsh Government rejected a previous application by RWE Innogy UK, instead backing a planning inspector’s ruling refusing the company consent to offer alternative land in exchange for the deregluation of the common land.
Now RWE Innogy has submitted a revised application which it says seeks to address in detail the issues raised during the previous inquiry.
The project already has planning permission from the local authority and an offer of a subsidy from the UK Government under its contract for difference renewable energy projects funding support mechanism.
If approved, common land consent would finally enable the construction of the 16-turbine, 48MW project to go ahead.
A spokesperson for the project said: “We’ve taken on board the Planning Inspector’s report and the issues raised by the Minister in respect of our previous common land application. We have also since added additional, replacement land.
“We have a tremendous opportunity at Mynydd y Gwair to build one of the lowest costing, low carbon energy technologies, and to attract over £8.2m of investment into the South and south west Wales area.
“With both Mynydd y Gwair and other renewables projects in the city region, Swansea could demonstrate an incredible commitment to renewable energy and helping tackle climate change, while economically benefiting both its business and local communities. We’re really hopeful this latest submission addresses what the Welsh Government needs to finally unlock the opportunities that are ready and waiting.”
Elgan Morgan, representation manager at the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, added: “We are pleased to see that RWE has taken account of the concerns raised during the initial application and are submitting a revised application to get the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm built.
“The South Wales Chamber of Commerce is a firm supporter of renewable energy projects, for both the economic and environmental benefits that they bring. We would like to see more renewable energy projects coming to fruition so that Wales’ energy needs are secured, but, crucially, so that we can unlock the economic potential of the projects too.
“To ensure that this happens, we would call on as many businesses as possible, especially those in the local area, who will benefit from supply chain opportunities, to come forward and support this application during the consultation period. It’s important that the voice of business is heard in the debate.”
An independent economic study found that if built Mynydd y Gwair wind farm could typically create up to 104 jobs during each year of its construction, and be worth around £8.5m to the local economy. Ongoing operations and maintenance could account for a further 19 jobs and £1.2m per year into the Welsh economy.
In addition, the wind farm could unlock a £240,000 annual community investment fund, potentially worth up to £6m over the project’s operational lifetime, for the local community to prioritise and invest, for example in new skills, supporting employment and addressing other key issues.
The new application requests permission to substitute areas of existing common land with similar land, compensating for land required to facilitate the construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed wind farm.
A 28-day consultation period will follow the publication of the notice, providing a further opportunity for local representations to be made about the project to Welsh Government. Copies of the application forms and supporting documents will be available at Ammanford and Pontarddulais libraries.
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