Appeal court backs Swansea wind farm plan block

Wind farm Appeal court judges ruled that the current wind farm plans would damage peat habitats

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A power company has been ordered to rethink plans for a wind farm on a peat bog north of Swansea.

The Mynydd y Gwair plan in Felindre would have become Wales' tallest onshore wind farm.

Appeal court judges in London overturned an earlier decision allowing the 19 turbine plan, and ruled in favour of the Welsh government.

Planning inspectors wanted the turbine plan rejected because of the impact on area's peat bog habitat.

The developer, RWE npower renewables, had successfully challenged that decision in the High Court.

But on Thursday, three appeal court judges sitting in London quashed that earlier High Court ruling.

Lord Justice Pill said he supported the original assessment by Welsh planning inspectors and the wind farm should not be allowed because of "the harmful effect of the proposed development on the peat bog habitat".

The proposals for the wind farm at Mynydd y Gwair have been the focus of a long running dispute.

New plans

The original plans were rejected by Swansea councillors after it emerged that the 19 turbines would rise to a height of up to 127m (416ft).

It led to a public inquiry, which again rejected the plans, before a High Court judge agreed to the proposals in July last year.

However, the latest court ruling blocking the development is unlikely to be the end of the fight against the wind farm.

The appeal court said it recognised that a wind farm would be acceptable on the current site, if harm to the peat land could be avoided.

The judges said it was now up to the energy company to come up with new plans to reposition the wind turbines and access roads, and submit a fresh planning application for the project.

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