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Powys: Hendy Wind Farm update for planning committee

Powys County Council (PCC) has been within minutes of forcing work to stop at the controversial Hendy Windy Farm.

Gwilym Davies, professional lead development manager at PCC, briefed members of the planning committee on the situation after Cllr David Price (Independent – Llanafanfawr) asked for an update.

In recent weeks protests have been taking place at the site near Llandegley as the developers look to build one of the turbines as quickly as possible.

Developers Njord Energy are supposed to be only allowed to work on “steel fixing works”.

Angry confrontations have taken place there and protesters have criticised PCC for not enforcing planning law and stopping development.

Mr Davies said: “A stop notice had been prepared over the concrete base and we were ready to serve it only to be told by NRW (Natural Resources Wales) that the risk (of pollution) was acceptable.

“We are not frightened of taking action, but need evidence and we need to take informed decisions.

“We are very disappointed that they (developers) are doing this in breach of the planning conditions.

“While that is said we need to make sure that we are complying to statute.”

Mr Davies outlined that PCC had been working with other partners on the wind farm issues.

The latest issue is over the building or widening of a new access to the site for abnormal sized loads.

Mr Davies said that the developers have now secured leases for private land and have started building the access.

When developers were told they would need a planning application PCC was informed this would be done retrospectively.

Mr Davies added: “There were reports of (concrete) spill from lorries coming towards sites and the lorries have now been told to have their chutes pointing up once they have deposited their concrete to avoid spills.”

Many of the issues have been noted and passed on to NRW according to Mr Davies.

A dead otter found nearby has also been referred to Dyfed-Powys police for investigation.

Cllr E Michael Jones (Indpendent – Old Radnor) said: “I find it very difficult how they can do all the work on the A44 while the ordinary applicant has to consult with everyone.”

A spokesperson for Hendy Windfarm said: “We absolutely reject any suggestion that we have acted unlawfully.

“There are a small number of people who are seeking to prevent us from going ahead and are misrepresenting the situation for their own ends.”

In October 2018, Lesley Griffiths AM, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, overturned previous decisions by PCC’s planning committee and planning inspectors to reject the wind farm.

She considered the benefits of delivering renewable energy should outweigh the impacts of the scheme on landscape and visual amenity.

The judgment of a judicial review on the ministerial decision is expected soon.