A new wind farm in Neath Port Talbot has been granted planning permission.
The development between the Afan and Llynfi Valleys will see 11 wind turbines installed, with a maximum blade height of 145m.
Similar plans for the Foel Trawsnant site in Bryn – around 2km from Maesteg – gained planning approval in 2017 but were then amended, leading to the latest application which sees a reduction in the number of turbines from 13 to 11 but an increase in the maximum tip height of turbines from 120m to 145m.
The renewable energy development company Pennant Walters Ltd submitted the plans for the wind farm, which is designed to operate for 25 years – after which time, a condition is imposed to ensure the land is fully restored to its original condition.
The electrical output of the proposed wind farm is anticipated to be up to a maximum of 33MW, able to supply the equivalent of the domestic electricity needs of around 20,000 homes.
Neath Port Talbot Council officers said there were 83 residential properties which could experience significant effects to their visual amenity.
They said four letters of objection were received with complaints that there were already too many turbines planned for the valley and the beautiful area was being spoiled by “inefficient, ugly machines”.
The site lies within the Foel Trawsnant Special Landscape Area.
Concerns were also raised about shadow flicker – when rotating wind turbine blades periodically cast shadows through openings such as the windows of neighbouring properties.
However, officers said they did not consider the number of turbines to be overbearing on residential visual amenity and that mitigation measures could be put in place to switch off turbines during conditions when shadow flicker may occur.
They said the project’s contribution to the target for wind energy production outweighed the significant landscape and visual impact of the turbines.
The majority of the land is currently used for grazing livestock – a use which officers said could continue after the wind farm was built.
Councillors at the Neath Port Talbot Council planning committee on Tuesday, September 24, unanimously approved the plans subject to conditions which includes a community fund being agreed, expected to be up to £165,000 a year.
A 12-month construction programme is expected which includes the substation and control building, on-site underground electrical cables and stone site access tracks.
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