Public asked to have say on plans for eight 508-foot-high wind turbines
Twm Owen, Local Democracy Reporter
Up to eight wind turbines could be built on upland in south Wales, with the public being invited to have their say on the plans.
The Mynydd Llanhilleth wind farm – between Pontypool and Abertillery – is a revision of the plans previously put forward and consulted on in July last year when it was proposed to erect 12 turbines.
The turbines would be 155 metres – or 508 foot – from their base to the top tip of the blade.
Developers Pennant Walters, which describes itself as Wales’ largest home-grown renewable energy developer, said it has taken on board comments from the previous consultation.
Its director of environment and sustainability, Meryl Lewis said: “Community involvement is a key commitment for us, so we’re keen to hear feedback on the detailed proposals. We had some really valuable feedback from our previous consultation events, which has helped shape the final plans.”
The proposed site is east of Llanhilleth, Aberbeeg, and Six Bells, and west of Pontnewynydd and only part of the land has already been assessed as suitable for wind development. It is also planned to locate two of the turbines, and tracks leading to three, on Mynydd Llanhilleth Common.
Most of the site is within Torfaen, with its western part in Blaenau Gwent, however a final decision on the planning application, which will follow the consultation, will be taken by the Welsh Government agency, Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW).
A second application will also have to be made to the body to cover the work on common land and a plan to replace the land used.
PEDW decided the application as the turbines would generate over 10 megawatts of power and are considered to be of national significance.
The developers estimate the turbines could produce up to 34MW, which it says is enough to power approximately 21,500 homes.
It says the wind farm would help meet the Welsh Government target that the country generates 70 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2030.
As the firm is based in Wales, and owned by Rhondda Cynon Taf-based parent Walters Group, it also counts towards a target for one gigawatt of renewable electricity capacity in Wales to be locally owned by 2031.
There is also a target for local ownership and the developers say its plans will benefit the area, through a community benefit fund, shared ownership and using local suppliers.
The site would be accessed from the British Road/Farm Road, which is off the B4246, in Talywain and to the east of the site with the turbines located further south on the higher ground.
The access would also be upgraded to accommodate construction traffic and the developers say their plans wouldn’t prevent plans for the redevelopment of the derelict British site but those plans could also benefit from an improved junction.
A report on the use of 6.7 acres of common land says this will be replaced with 10 acres of land, currently fenced off, as compensation and while access would be limited during construction, and to the footprint of the turbines, the land will reinstated for use as part of the common.
According to planning documents, prepared for the applicants, the project would provide 41 equivalent full time jobs during construction and four from its operation and says spending in Wales associated with construction would total £9.6 million.
It also says there would be no significant impact on the nearbly Blaenavon World Heritage Site.
A seven-week consultation period has opened, and the developers will also be holding public exhibitions on the proposals at Llanhilleth Miner’s Institute, Meadow St, Llanhilleth, Abertillery, from 2pm to 7pm on Thursday December 8 and at Garndiffaith Community Centre (Millennium Centre), Top Rd, Garndiffaith, Abersychan, at the same times on Friday, December 9.
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