Protest call over Mynydd y Betws wind farm road fears

Meeting at Cwmgors Concerned local residents say they fear the road cannot cope with heavy traffic

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Residents who fear roads serving a planned wind farm in Carmarthenshire will not be able to cope with large lorries needed during construction are calling for direct action.

About 100 people attended the public meeting in Cwmgors near Ammanford.

Building work on the 15 turbines at the Mynydd y Bettws wind farm is due to start in the next few weeks.

Neath Port Talbot council said the road could cope, and the wind farm operator said safety was its top priority.

The wind farm lies on the border between Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot. Carmarthenshire council dealt with the planning application and Neath Port Talbot with site access.

Monday's public meeting heard that the villages along the A474 from Pontardawe to Cwmgors could be affected by thousands of heavy goods vehicles transporting spoil from the site, and concrete to the wind farm.

Some at the meeting at Cwmgors rugby football club said they would consider taking direct action to stop lorries using the A474.

'Lack of consultation'

Construction timetable

  • October 2011: Access track construction start.
  • November 2011: Substation construction start.
  • February 2012: Excavation of turbine bases and crane pads start.
  • September to October 2012: Completion of civil works and substation.
  • October 2012 to January 2013: Delivery and erection of turbines.
  • February to March 2013: Commissioning of turbines.
  • April 2013: Operation of turbines.
  • Source: Cambrian Renewable Energy

Geoff Moore, one of the organisers of the meeting, asked for "volunteers to demonstrate" when the work begins.

Coun Arwyn Woolcock, who represents nearby Brynaman and Tairgwaith on Neath Port Talbot council, said he "fully supported the campaign", adding there had been a "lack of consultation".

He warned that heavy goods vehicles and lorries carrying turbine parts could block emergency service vehicles trying to get to the scene of an incident in the area.

Another campaigner, Dai Davies, said "seconds are important in an emergency".

Safety top priority

According to the operator Cambrian Renewable Energy the wind farm will generate enough electricity to power about 23,800 homes.

It said it would work with the council and police who will escort abnormal deliveries to ensure minimum disruption.

The construction process was expected to result in a temporary increase in traffic on the A474 of 2.5% on average from the existing levels.

"Safety is our top priority, and Cambrian Renewable Energy is committed to ensuring that the construction process occurs with minimum inconvenience to the local community," a spokesperson said.

"Suitable traffic management measures will be put in place to achieve this.'

Neath Port Talbot Council said it raised concerns over the visual impact of the turbines.

A spokesperson said: "In relation to the proposed access, the council have, in the determination of the planning application, considered the traffic issues in relation to the use of the access during both the constructional and operational phases.

"[Councillors] concluded that the traffic movements associated with the development would not have a detrimental effect on highway safety."

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