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20/05/2014

Welsh wind farm marathon on its last lap

Words: Roger Milne
Wales wind farm

The UK’s largest ever wind farm public inquiry is now in its final stages.

The Principality’s longest ever planning hearing has been considering proposals for five onshore wind farms and a 132kV connection to the power grid in Powys, Mid Wales.
 
The Mid Wales (Powys) Conjoined Wind Farms Public Inquiry began last June.
 
Today (20 May) the hearing begins to hear final submissions before the year-long proceedings come to an end, possibly by Friday (23 May).
 
Under consideration have been proposals for up to 600 megawatts of new capacity earmarked for sites identified under the Welsh Government’s controversial TAN 8 policy as suitable in theory for green power projects.
 
Initially, Powys County Council and thousands of residents opposed the schemes, arguing the turbines and pylons would disfigure the landscape and have an adverse impact on tourism.
 
The council originally opposed all the proposals but has now announced it is prepared to drop its objections to some of the schemes provided access arrangements are changed and the number of pylons reduced.
 
Since each of the onshore wind farm schemes are over 50 MW, the fate of the proposals lies in the hands of the UK energy secretary Ed Davey, who will determine their future after he has received the recommendations of the planning inspector holding the inquiries.

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