Plans to increase the height of a proposed wind turbine – which will be the “tallest manmade structure” on the Gwent Levels near Newport – have been approved.
The planned wind turbine on a field off Rush Wall Lane near Redwick will now be 150 metres high, 20 metres taller than in an original planning application which was approved.
The applicants say the increased height will enable a “dramatically increased” low carbon generation to serve Magor Brewery.
Council planners narrowly backed the scheme for approval in January, based on its renewable energy benefits, but they also noted “clear concerns relating to the spread of turbine development on the Levels.”
Robin Johnson, representing the applicant, said the increase in height will increase turbine generation by 44 per cent and result in a reduction in carbon dioxide of 72,000 tonnes over the lifetime of the 30-year project.
He also claimed the scheme has public support and that there would be “no material impact” visually.
“The modification will support local jobs and job security,” he told a city council planning committee meeting.
“It will generate a significant amount of additional renewable energy.”
Councillor Val Dudley said she would back the plan, but voiced disquiet over the applicant adding to previous plans.
“It is easy to come back and ask for a little bit more of this and a little bit more of that, and I wonder how far is it going to go,” she said.
And councillor Jason Jordan raised questions over the plan supporting energy for a business outside of Newport.
But planning officer Geraint Roberts said he would consider Magor Brewery as a local employer, adding that the turbine does not have to serve a local need anyway, under policy.
A planning report said harm from the development to the Gwent Levels, a Special Landscape Area, has “substantial weight.”
“There are clear concerns relating to the spread of turbine development on the Levels and a move towards producing a view influenced, or even potentially dominated by, wind turbines within this part of what is a locally protected landscape,” it said.
However the renewable energy benefits were said to outweigh such concerns.
The meeting heard that shadow flicker – the flickering effect caused when rotating turbine blades periodically cast shadows – is not considered to be an issue for the development.
But a planning condition will ensure that if there are complaints, action will be taken which could include turning the turbine off when it is sunny.