Planning application submitted for giant wind turbines despite local opposition
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Two wind turbines up to 125m tall could be built north of the Brechfa Forest in Carmarthenshire.
A company called Energiekontor UK is behind the proposals for Mynydd Pencarreg, near Rhydcymerau.
It already has planning permission for two 100m turbines, notwithstanding many objections from people in the area.
Energiekontor UK’s latest planning application to Carmarthenshire Council said the 125m turbines could be built without unacceptable change to the character of the landscape or to the views enjoyed by people living nearby.
Referring to a residential visual amenity report carried out on its behalf, Energiekontor UK’s planning statement said: “The assessment concluded that there would be no effect on the living standards of individual properties, such that any of these properties would become an unattractive place to live when judged objectively and in the public interest, as a result of the addition of the proposed development.”
It added that the two nearest properties to the turbines were not expected to experience significant shadow flicker from the spinning rotor blades.
Energiekontor UK said there were 29 wind power schemes within 15 km of the proposed Mynydd Pencarreg development – 15 operational, 13 approved but not built yet, and one in the planning phase.
It stood by its visual amenity and landscape conclusions, taking into account the cumulative impact of the other schemes.
The Mynydd Pencarreg application site, it added, was not within any designated or protected land although a site of special scientific interest lay just over half a kilometre to the east.
‘Limited ecological concerns’
The statement said the two turbines would make a positive contribution towards national renewable energy targets and that there were “limited ecological concerns relating to the proposed development”.
A new access track of around 1km would be needed to access the site.
There were many objections to Energiekontor UK’s previous application for 100m turbines, which was approved by the council in 2016.
A year later the authority turned down the company’s bid to extend the turbines’ height by 25m, but this decision was overturned on appeal by a Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector.
A local resident then challenged this appeal decision unsuccessfully in the High Court, before taking the matter all the way to the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal upheld the challenge, resulting in the quashing the planning inspector’s appeal decision because it was “beyond her powers”.