Wind farm plans paused until 2024
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
Plans for a wind farm development in Blaenau Gwent have been put on hold for the next three months.
In August, Cenin Renewables lodged plans with the Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) to build five wind turbines with a maximum blade tip height of 180 metres, as well as an on-site sub-station underground cables and associated works at Manmoel Common.
The site is near Ebbw Vale with part of it over the border in Caerphilly County.
The proposal is classified as a Development of National Significance (DNS), which means both Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly council are consultees rather than decision makers, with Welsh Government planning inspectors deciding the application.
The pause comes after councillors received documents from PEDW and the Welsh Government confirming that the consultation for the wind farm had been “suspended until the New Year.”
The council’s planning officer, Joanne White said: “They (PEDW) have requested further information from the applicant and have stopped the clock.”
She added that PEDW had also asked for more details from Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly County and to “work together” on planning conditions that could be placed on the development if it gets approved.
In the correspondence to Blaenau Gwent and all other interested parties, PEDW has said that the process of dealing with the Manmoel DNS was paused on September 22 because of a “formal request for further information” and will re-start on December 29.
As part of the DNS process, councils need to produce a Local Impact Report (LIR).
Development and estates service manager, Steve Smith confirmed that the LIR had been submitted “on time” for this proposal.
The LIR is Blaenau Gwent’s opportunity of feeding into the process, by explaining what they think PEDW should take careful note of when deciding the application.
This is a factual document that just explains whether the impacts of DNS proposals are anticipated to be positive, negative, or neutral.
In their 131-page LIR, Blaenau Gwent has raised concerns and believe the proposal would be “negative” for the area.
Blaenau Gwent council said: “We have reviewed the submitted information relating to the current proposal and anticipate that the impacts of the development as a whole would be negative, with concerns raised that the application lack sufficient information to allow full and reasoned assessments with regard to biodiversity, cultural heritage, private water supplies and minerals.
“In this respect additional information is required before we can provide a review of how these works would impact on these subject areas.”
They add that these issues need to be “considered” before the application is decided.
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