November 2, 2015

Government inspector rejects twin wind turbine plans

John Phillips | South Wales Argus |

A government inspector has turned down an appeal to build two wind turbines in Blaenau Gwent.

Airvolution Energy Ltd planned to put up of two 2.3MW wind turbines with a maximum blade tip height of up to 131 metres and a substation in Hafod-Y-Dafal, Cwm.

The turbines would have been built less than a mile away from Abertillery on a site of interest for nature conservation which also encroaches on land identified as a mineral safeguarding area with some commercial potential.

The company launched an appeal after Blaenau Gwent council rejected their application in July 2014.

Welsh Government inspector Kay Sheffield dismissed the appeal in September after a site visit this summer.

The inspector found the turbines could harm the visual amenity of the area, as well as prejudice extraction of a nationally important mineral reserve.

“The proposed turbines would be capable of making a contribution to national targets for renewable energy,” said Ms Sheffield in her ruling.

“Whilst this carries weight in support of the appeal, I do not consider it sufficient to outweigh the conclusions I have reached that the development would prejudice the deliverability of the preferred area and the extraction of a nationally important mineral reserve, have an unacceptably adverse effect on the landscape quality of the area, and would cause a significant level of harm to visual amenity.

“In relation to the balance to be struck between the desirability of renewable energy and landscape protection, I conclude that in this case the balance is not in favour of the appeal.

“For these reasons, and having had regard to all other matters raised, the appeal is dismissed.”

Blaenau Gwent councillors were given details of the appeal at a meeting at the Ebbw Vale Civic Centre last month.

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