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Beauty spot access needed for struggling council’s windfarm plan

04 Jan 2024 4 minute read
Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar. Image: Visit Wales

Councillors are to consider a proposal by an energy firm to allow access across a popular beauty spot for a proposed wind turbine development that would generate a healthy income for them and the equivalent amount of energy for the entire population of the county.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, January 10, councillors will discuss entering into an “option agreement” with EDP Renewables who want to develop a windfarm on Mynydd Bedwellte.

EDP Renewables (EDP Renováveis) is a renewable energy company registered in Oviedo, Spain and is headquartered in Madrid

To be able to carry out their works, EDP need access across Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar.

Lucrative deal for council

While the scheme, which proposes from eight to 12 wind turbines, is mostly on land in Blaenau Gwent, part of the site crosses into Caerphilly County.

The proposal is in the early stages of development, if EDP are eventually successful the report explains that Blaenau Gwent council could make £100,000 a year.

Proposals classified as DNS mean Blaenau Gwent council is a consultee rather than decision-maker, with the Welsh Government deciding the application.

Inspectors at PEDW (Planning and Environment Decisions Wales) will look at all the information provided in the DNS application and eventually give advice to the Welsh Government on what decision to make.

A Welsh Government minister will then announce the decision.

In her report, regeneration and community services director Ellie Fry said: “EDP Renewables have identified a site south-west of Parc Bryn Bach as being a suitable location for wind farm development.

“The site is in third party ownership and is within one of the pre-assessed areas for wind energy identified by Welsh Government.”

The turbines would be 180 metres in height to their tips and Ms Fry said that “surveys” are under way to decide where and how many should be built at the site.

Most direct route

Ms Fry said: “In order to facilitate the development EDP are seeking access across the park for the delivery of large wind farm components for example turbine blades and tower sections, the laying of cables along the route and access for future ongoing maintenance.

“There are a few access points for the development, but the park is the most direct and has less impact on existing road infrastructure.”

Ms Fry explained that the route is from the park entrance and follows the roadway in a south westerly direction.

The road then meets an old airstrip and from there new track would need to be built up to the development area.

The decision is vital to the project as the firm “need to demonstrate” in their proposal how they will access the site.

Ms Fry said: “Once planning is forthcoming the finer details of the financial benefit to the council will be negotiated and terms agreed.

“In terms of a rental for an easement, the council could realistically be receiving an annual sum in excess of £100,000 per annum.

“In addition to any monetary value for the access rights, the community will benefit from the wider benefit fund which on current projections will give a total value of around £250,000 per year.

“Over the lifespan of the project this will equate to over £10 million.”

Ms Fry added that the Aneurin Leisure Trust, which runs the park facilities, is “in agreement” with the proposal and would be seeking to benefit from the community fund.

EDP lodged its pre-submission documents which were published (under Caerphilly County) on the PEDW website in November.

In October last year the company held a series drop in consultation events in Tredegar and Ebbw Vale.

EDP claim the development could create enough electricity for 67,000 homes – which roughly equates to the entire population of Blaenau Gwent.

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6 months ago

Does anyone actually check whether the promised level of returns are achieved in practice ? Successive councils and other bodies have spent decades cleaning up the mess left across South Wales after an extended period of industrial pollution and destruction. Now we have a new wave of profiteering corporate hoods rocking up with big ideas. And guess what ? They want to carve up the landscape, both virgin and recovered land just so they can make a big buck and move on to the next wave. Makes looting and pillaging seem almost civilized.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Well said.

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