Posted: Wed 24th Apr 2024

Disappointment as Welsh Government approves windfarm plans in Blaenau Gwent /

A SENIOR Blaenau Gwent councillor is disappointed the Welsh Government approved plans for a windfarm in Blaenau Gwent.
Last month the Welsh Government gave the go ahead to allow Pennant Walters Ltd to build eight wind turbines with a maximum tip height of 180 metres at Mynydd Carn y Cefn between Abertillery and Cwm.
The proposal dealt with by Welsh Government planning inspectors as a Development of National Significance (DNS).
They advised the then climate change minister Julie James MS – who is now the Cabinet Secretary for housing, local government, and planning – to approve the development and the announcement was made on March 11.
As a DNS application Blaenau Gwent were a consultee and not a decision maker.
The council fed into the process by submitting a Local Impact Report (LIR) which said the development would have a negative impact on the county borough.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Tuesday, April 23 councillors were told of the ministerial decision.
Planning officer Helen Hinton said: “The outcome of the report indicates that there is and will always be a local impact.”
She said that the decision had been made in the interests of the “greater good and the national requirement” to secure renewable energy sources and reduce the need to use fossil fuels.
Committee chairwoman, Cllr Lisa Winnett: “I disagree with the findings of the inspector and minister.
“I still stand by our report and the harm it can have on the area.”
Councillors thanked staff for the work they had done on the application which included giving the council’s views at a hearing on the application which was held last summer.
Cllr Winnett said:  “They did us proud in that hearing speaking up for Blaenau Gwent, they really put our case forward for us, it was a lot of work, time, and effort.
“That’s why I am disappointed with what minister has come back with, because we had a very strong case to show it was detrimental to our borough.”
Ms Hinton told councillors that the council would now need to work with the Pennant Walters on discharging the 36 planning conditions attached to the planning permission.
Cllr David Wilkshire said that his “concern” is what would happen after the windfarm is built and to whom could residents suffering from “ongoing issues” take their concerns?
Ms Hinton said:  “The responsibility for complaints lies with us.
“It will be for us and our team in terms of ecology and environmental health to deal with any matters going forward.”
She added that she was concerned about the effects of noise and “shadow flicker” given how close the wind turbines would be to homes.
Councillors noted the decision and report. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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