A wind turbine could soon be built in the Valleys that would be higher than Wales’ tallest building, despite fears over planes flying into Cardiff Airport.
The proposals for a single wind turbine have been pushed through by Rhondda Cynon Taf council planners subject to an agreement being reached with the airport, after it was revealed it could cause an “aviation risk” to landing planes.
Standing at 126m to the tip of the blade, the development would be built at Graig Fatha Farm in Coedely, near Tonyrefail , and would power over 2,000 homes.
If built, it would stand higher than the Tower at Meridian Quay in Swansea.
According to the report, the turbine is close to a “change in airspace boundaries”, which would affect planes coming into Cardiff Airport from the easterly runway from the east, west and north.
The airport has raised a “holding objection”.
It said if the turbine was built, it would make air traffic controllers’ jobs more complex, and they would experience a “significant increase in workload”.
But according to Pauline Jarman, a member of RCT planning committee, as long as the planning director and the airport can come to an arrangement, which could mean fitting technology to the turbine that communicates directly with the airport, development could begin in six months.
The report concludes: “The proposed development is acceptable in principle, though in view of the aviation risk issues and, in the event of members being minded to support the development, further discussion is required with the applicant to secure proposals and mitigation that adequately address the potential aviation risks.
“It is suggested that the applicant is advised that they should seek to resolve this outstanding issue within six months of this committee date and members resolution.”
The application, submitted by CleanEarth, was discussed by RCT planners at a committee meeting on Thursday, and one of the reasons for it to be provisionally approved by members was the number of turbines already in the area.
The report’s assessment of the surrounding land found there are already 30 wind energy schemes in a 23km radius, with 10 operational, nine consented and 11 in the planning stages.
That includes the nearby Pen y Cymoedd wind farm , which is situated between the Neath and Cynon Valleys – a 76 turbine development reaching up to 145m in height, which was officially opened last month.
The world’s biggest wind turbines – the Burbo Bank Extension, are off the North Wales coast, measuring a huge 195m in height.
It’s on a site currently used for agriculture, and 28 letters of support were received by the council in support of its construction, with just one received in objection.
In terms of its visual impact, the report says the development could be seen on the “upper slopes and ridges” around Tonyrefail, although that vegetation, other development and landform would obscure the views.
From Coedely, the development would only be visible “from gaps in enclosures” around the housing, and that at worst, it would have a “medium” impact. Similarly, the impact from Gilfach Goch was seen as “medium low”.
Other surrounding towns are on “lower slopes”, and so the impact would not be as severe, the report said.
It added that it would not create a “wind farm” landscape even when viewed together with other turbines in the area, and it will “not incur any shadow flicker on any of the nearby properties”.
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