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Plan to increase height of contentious wind turbine proposed on Gwent Levels

Plans have been lodged to increase the height of a proposed wind turbine on the Gwent Levels near Newport, which has already been described as the “tallest manmade structure” in the area.

Newport council’s planning committee approved plans for the 130 metre tall turbine on a field off Rush Wall Lane near Redwick by a single vote in January, despite the application drawing objections from residents, councillors and environmental agencies who claimed it would adversely impact the landscape.

But now fresh plans have been lodged to increase the height of the approved turbine to 150 metres.

Applicants Clean Earth Energy say increasing the height would produce “significantly more renewable generation than the original consented turbine, contributing to the UK’s renewable energy and climate change goals.”

It is claimed the wind turbine will generate enough renewable electricity to power 2,292 homes in Wales – significantly more than other operational turbines in the area.

The development would also bring a carbon saving of 65,674 tonnes over its 30-year lifetime.

Under the plans the turbine will be operational for 30 years, after which it will be removed and the land reinstated to its original condition, unless a fresh application is made.

Local authorities have been asked by the Welsh Government to give greater weight to the need for renewable and low carbon energy when considering such applications.

But concerns over the previous application were raised by organisations including Gwent Wildlife Trust and Natural Resources Wales about the impacts on wildlife.

The area is a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI), which the Trust says is of national importance, though the applicants say the development will bring “no significant impacts.”

Llanwern Conservative councillor Martyn Kellaway previously said the turbine would be “the single tallest manmade structure in the area by far.”

But Clean Earth Energy claim the extra 20 metres of height will only bring “a very slight increase” in the visibility of the structure.

In the application, it says it will be “very difficult to perceive this change in height” and that “at distance” the development “would still easily go unnoticed in the view.”

The new application is expected to be decided by Newport council in the coming weeks.