Councils officers in Conwy want the local authority to object to plans for more giant turbines to be built off the coast of Llandudno.
RWE Renewables is leading the development of Awel y Môr – a sister project to Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm.
It would sit to the west of Gwynt y Môr with the turbines potentially 332 metres tall around 10km off Llandudno and Colwyn Bay.
There would be between 57 and 107 turbines, depending on the size of turbines chosen.
A special meeting will be held by Conwy council’s planning committee next Thursday to decide what the response of the local authority will be – with any final decision made by UK Government.
It comes at a time of huge concern about climate change with fears about rising sea waters and changing weather patterns – with Llandudno particularly vulnerable to future flooding.
UK Government is committed to delivering 40gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 as part of its Net Zero ambitions.
A Preliminary Environmental Information Report(PEIR) presented to the council found that “in the case of the Great Orme and Llandudno, the PEIR considers that the development would have a low impact on the tourism economy in the short term, reducing to negligible in the longer term”.
But officers recommend the council makes an objection to the proposed Development Consent Order.
These were the reasons given:
1: First, the proposal would result in a significant detriment to the character of the seascape and coastal views, due to the scale of both the individual WTGs and the extent of the Awel y Môr array as a whole, the proximity to and impacts upon the settings of the Great Orme Heritage Coast and other coastal landscape features, and the cumulative effects with existing offshore (and potential future onshore) wind farms.
2: Second, it is unclear whether the conclusions of the Tourism and Recreation Chapter of the PEIR give sufficient recognition to the demographic profile of visitors to Conwy, and of Llandudno’s distinctive character as a ‘traditional’ resort, and whether other projects studied are comparable with the Awel y Môr development, in terms of their sensitivity of their locations, the magnitude and significance of their impacts, and cumulative effects.
3: Third, the proposal would result in a detriment to the setting of heritage assets in Conwy, including (but not limited to) Llandudno Conservation Area and Llandudno Pier. Furthermôre, a reduction in visitor spending could reduce the frequency and quality of maintenance of the built fabric, which would, over time, adversely affect the character and appearance of the conservation area and the features of special architectural and historic interest of the listed buildings.
4: Fourth, in the absence of clearer mitigation proposals, the proposal could result insignificant adverse impacts on residents and visitors, particularly from construction noise and vibration.
They said: “In light of these concerns, officers consider that the proposal cannot be supported, and recommend that the Council makes an objection to the proposed Development Consent Order.”
Despite warnings about Gwynt y Môr prior to construction of the wind farm there is no evidence that it has affected the town’s tourism sector since completion in 2015.
RWE Renewables recently told a Parliamentary Select committee: “With a likely capital budget of c.£1.5-2 billion, if consented, Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm in North Wales(the extension to the Gwynt y Môr project) is a once in a decade opportunity for Wales.
“Awel y Môr is Wales’ only commercial-scale offshore wind project that will be delivered in the 2020s and with it we, along with our partners, are determined to ensure that Wales has a stake in the next phase of the UK offshore wind growth story.
“This project is scheduled to be the largest single renewable energy investment in Wales in the next decade and is critical to Wales achieving its renewable energy and decarboninsation targets. Awel y Môr needs local and national political support to ensure it has the best chance of success.”