Fears have been raised that wind and solar farms could “sprout up like mushrooms” on Anglesey if new planning measures are adopted.
The Welsh Government is consulting on its draft National Development Framework which will set the national priorities, through the planning system, from 2020 to 2040.
If adopted the proposed zones will be identified in over a dozen areas – including a 65 square mile area of central Anglesey for “large scale wind and solar energy generation.”
According to the Welsh Government the strategy has been designed to avoid such developments within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – of which large parts of the island’s coast have been designated.
But fears have been raised by a campaign group that it would result in wind turbines up to 250 metres high being presumed to have planning permission.
“Just as we thought we had got rid of the National Grid with their plans for 100 50m metal towers, along comes our own Government with plans for turbines up to 250 metres high,” said Cheryl Weaver of Anglesey Says No to Pylons, which campaigned against National Grid proposals for a new network of overhead pylons to connect the now postponed Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant to the main network near Bangor.
“I’ve been told they could fit as many as 70 of them in the area they have chosen, and while we must have renewable energy I can’t believe this is the best way of doing it.”
She added, “The Government are consulting, or say they are, but are doing absolutely nothing to let people know it’s going on.
“I think they know it’ll kick up a fuss so are keeping it low-key.”
Anglesey is already famous for its windmills, once boasting more than any other county in Wales, with 49 of the traditional kind once standing.
Meanwhile the Rhyd y Groes windfarm, near the banks of Llyn Alaw, opened in 1992 with 22 wind turbines on site. Replacement turbines, up to 79 metres high, were later approved in 2016.
The island’s AM was clear any applications would still require planning permission and that the identification of areas suitable for onshore wind developments were based on turbines of “up to 250 metres.”
“I’m a renewables enthusiast but I find it remarkable that whilst identifying onshore wind opportunities there’s no mention of our offshore capacity, for which there is much more public support – both for offshore wind, and in terms of marine/tidal energy generation,” added Rhun ap Iorwerth.
“I will be pursuing the matter and making concerns known.”
A spokesman for Anglesey Council said it would be responding to the consultation in due course, with responses being sought until November 1.
Pam Lee, spokesperson for the Anglesey branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, said: “The Government likes to give the impression that there will be sensitive planning guidelines, but as we’ve seen in Powys where ministers overruled both the local authority and the Planning Inspectorate, once things like this get approved planning applications just get rubber stamped.
“We have to stop this now or in 10 years’ time Anglesey will just look like a giant pin cushion!”
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