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Work on controversial wind farm set to start next month despite objections  

Credit:  By Chris Peregrine | South Wales Evening Post | January 10, 2017 | www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk ~~

The company behind a wind farm on moorland to the north of Swansea is planning to start work on the scheme next month despite a continuing row over an access road.

RWE Innogy UK said construction of 16 turbines at Mynydd y Gwair in Felindre would last until second half of 2018.

But opponents, some of whom have been fighting the development for 25 years, are adamant that no consent is in place for an access road off the A48 at Bolgoed Road, Pontarddulais.

They have written to Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths and Swansea Council for clarification.

The company insisted that consent was in place for the scheme.

Ioan Richard, Mawr ward member on Swansea Council, disputed that.

“Works on any common land for which consent from the Welsh Government has not been obtained would be unlawful,” he said.

“If it is proposed to construct an access road on that piece of land not released from the common, then either an application for consent under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 or a further section 16 application to de-register the land would be required.

“They cannot proceed with this until they do the work properly and lawfully and complete the site of the access lane. We have been fighting this for 25 years. It is brilliant news. The work will take a long time, by which time they may lose their subsidy. This will delay the scheme considerably.”

Brigitte Rowlands, secretary of West Glamorgan Commoners’ Association, said she had written to the minister and the council for clarification and was awaiting responses.

“It is about a 70 metre long access road which is part of the scheme,” she said. “But they have made a simplistic error. They will have to deregister the land. If they have made a schoolboy error there, what faith can we have in the scheme? Hopefully we are going to have that land for a bit longer.”

But RWE Innogy’s project team is satisfied everything is good to go.

“All consents required are in place,” said a company spokeswoman.

She said that it was looking to start work next month in what would be a scheduled 20 month scheme.

The row over the access road reared its head last July after the developer was given Welsh Government approval for the project.

Opponents then claimed that any celebrations were premature because of the road issue.

The firm had already been given the necessary planning consent for the controversial proposal at Mynydd y Gwair in Felindre by the council, but needed the go-ahead to exchange common land to make it viable.

Then the Welsh Government approved RWE Innogy’s common land applications to facilitate the construction and operation of the 33.6MW wind farm.

The final decision, announced by Ms Griffiths, followed the recommendation of an independent planning inspector who led a public inquiry into RWE Innogy’s application earlier last year.

Source:  By Chris Peregrine | South Wales Evening Post | January 10, 2017 | www.southwales-eveningpost.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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