Plans to build a 130-metre tall wind turbine on a field in the Gwent Levels near Newport have been recommended for approval, despite “significant concerns” over the proposed development.
Applicants Clean Earth want to build the turbine in a large field off Rush Wall Lane near Redwick.
The development would produce enough low carbon electricity to power around 2,390 houses every year, with a proposed lifetime of 30 years.
Planning officers have recommended the application is given the green light by councillors when they meet to decide on the plans on Wednesday.
But opposition to the plans has been voiced by both Gwent Wildlife Trust and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), as well as Redwick Community Council and four individuals who have penned letters of objection.
Gwent Wildlife Trust says the proposal is “likely to cause significant adverse impacts to the biodiversity of the development site”, including the “UK-nationally important” Gwent Levels SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
The Trust raises concerns the development will impact on the habitats of otters, water voles, bats and others.
Similar objections have been raised by the NRW which says it “continues to have significant concerns.”
Among its concerns are how a new section of track will be built and its potential impact on existing reens.
“It is still unclear what the full impact of the scheme will be on the features of the SSSI,” a statement from the Welsh Government regulator says.
The community council has also raised concerns over aspects such as the scale of the turbine and its impact on heritage assets including Redwick village conservation area.
Letters of objection highlighted worries that the turbine could frighten birds and livestock, as well as raising concerns over its visual impact.
But 15 “semi-proforma” letters have supported the plans.
Supporters say the site is suitable for wind power, far from homes and that wind energy is clean and sustainable.
A report ahead of next week’s meeting says the key benefit is the delivery of low carbon electricity.
“This is a very significant benefit,” the report says.
The turbine would have three blades on a rotor of 100m in diameter, along with a crane pad, access track and switchgear housing units.
Underground cabling would also be required inside and outside the application site.
Planning officers say the recommendation to approve the development is made “on narrow balance.”
“Overall it is concluded that the benefits of the scheme narrowly outweigh the identified harms primarily because the enhanced emphasis within national policy on the overall acceptability of renewable energy schemes,” the report adds.
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