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Inspectorate backs Towy Valley wind turbine decision  

Credit:  Carmarthen Journal | January 29, 2016 | www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk ~~

An appeal to overturn a rejection over plans for a 74-metre wind turbine in the Towy Valley has failed.

Carmarthenshire Council refused planning permission last July for the turbine overlooking Nantgaredig village on land in the Cefn Abbey area – on land north of Blaenpibwr overlooking Nantgaredig village.

Developers, Carmarthenshire Energy Ltd and Seren Energy Ltd, appealed to the Welsh Planning inspectorate over the decision.

However the refusal decision made by the council has been upheld by the inspectorate.

The county council found in July that the turbine did “not satisfactorily address environmental and cumulative impacts and is not acceptable within the high quality historic designated landscape of the Towy Valley at the location”.

Residents had raised a catalogue of concerns including noise, light flicker created by the turning blades, proximity to properties and devaluation of homes, along with disturbance to wildlife.

Carmarthenshire Energy, said previously the scheme would have tied into reducing fuel poverty across the county by feeding money generated back into the local area.

While Seren Energy said fears over the impact on the valley were

This week in a published report, Hywel Wyn Jones of the Welsh Inspectorate speaking about turbine said that while it had merits in terms of the economy and not harm local conservation areas – the nearest of which is at Llanddarog – the visual impact would be an issue from some areas.

The report said: “There are viewpoints such as from Whitemill and from Paxton’s Tower where the proposed turbine would significantly increase the impact already created by the presence of the Nantycaws turbine in terms of introducing large, moving structures into the landscape.

“From most other viewpoints the turbine will be seen as sufficiently distant from other turbines to avoid any unacceptable cumulative effects.

“I find that the visual impact of the proposal within the immediate locality would be harmful. Moreover, the turbine would appear as unduly prominent and discordant from within extensive parts of a section of the Tywi Valley.”

He added: “The scheme would introduce a new vertical feature on the same side of the valley as Paxton’s Tower and its park.

“Taking into account the relationship of this asset to the valley I consider that the effect of the scheme on the setting would be adverse, albeit relatively minor.”

Concluding Mr Jones said: “The appellant suggests that the anticipated operational life of the turbine is 25 years after which the effects of the development would be reversed. I acknowledge that this would limit the extent of harm, but I consider than the anticipated operational life represents a considerable period of time over which such effects would be experienced.

“I acknowledge that the scheme has successfully avoided most of the potential constraints on developments of this nature.

“I have also taken into account the significant benefits of the scheme which I have already described. “However, these considerations do not outweigh the harm that would arise in this case.”

“I have reached my findings on the scheme’s unacceptability without taking into account in the overall planning balance the deficiency that I have identified in the assessment of the potential impact on listed buildings.

“I consider that there is a realistic potential of harm to the setting of listed buildings in the wider locality which firmly counts against the scheme.

“Having taken into account all matters raised, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”

Reacting to the decision, Caroline Evans, Co-ordinator of the Carmarthenshire Against Rural Turbines network, stated that: “This is a decision of common sense.

The proposed wind turbine would have a negative visual impact and its close proximity to Paxton’s Tower, Dryslwyn Castle, the National Botanic Gardens and the Special Landscape Area of the Tywi Valley were inappropriate.

“It would also have been visually very close to the similarly sized existing wind turbine at Nantycaws.”

Carmarthenshire Energy, chairman Neil Lewis, has spoken of his disappointment of losing the appeal.

He said: “It was a tough process and obviously people love the Towy Valley, as do I being a local boy from Llandeilo.

“I’m not sure through the environmental argument outweighs the need to fight fuel poverty.”

“At the end of the day those against wind turbines won this one and we came in second place.”

“It is disappointing because we are more than being about building a wind turbine.

“The aim was to have a scheme to benefit the community, to see the profit ploughed back into it and tackle fuel poverty which is very much what we are all about.

“Despite the 30 or so objections there was double that in support of the scheme.

“We are built on volunteers and a lot of effort went into preparing the plans, a lot of evenings and weekends.”

Mr Lewis said if the plans for the turbine had gone ahead it would have seen profit spent within the area for 25 years.

He added that as has been shown particularly in Scotland, community wind projects can generate significant income streams for the communities in which they are in, namely, increasing the sustainability and quality of life in their communities.

“People essentially take ownership of a turbine like the one we planned and they benefit from it.”

Source:  Carmarthen Journal | January 29, 2016 | www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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