South West Wales

Llanllwni wind farm plan rejected by Carmarthenshire councillors

Llanllwni
Image caption The land at Llanllwni, Carmarthenshire, is mainly used for sheep grazing

Plans for a 21-turbine wind farm in Carmarthenshire have been rejected despite falling in an area outlined for wind energy projects.

Renewable energy firm RES planned 127m (400ft) high turbines at Llanllwni generating 48.3 megawatts.

It would have been in one of seven areas of mid and south Wales chosen in 2005 by the Welsh government for such schemes, called Tan 8 policy.

A cheer went up from the public gallery as councillors rejected the plan.

Planning officials had recommended the proposals be refused at the meeting on Tuesday.

Members of the planning committee made a visit to the site, known as Bryn Llywelyn, at Llanllwni, Carmarthenshire, ahead of making their decision.

The proposals were for the 21 turbines to be sited over around 3,450 acres (1,397 hectares) of crown-owned common land mainly used for sheep grazing about nine miles (15km) north east of Carmarthen.

The council received a total of 370 letters of objection, a petition containing 237 signatures as well as objections from a range of community, heritage and environmental groups, including the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas raised concerns after receiving 10 letters of objection.

Dyfed-Powys Police objected on grounds that it could lead to an increase in crime and disorder.

The report noted: "Previous experience suggests this could be from the labour force moving in or from direct action by protesters of the wind farm."

However, it said police concerns could be mitigated with measures including the developer contributing to the cost of policing.

The council received three letters in support of the plans, which said the turbines would bring jobs, contribute towards carbon reduction, generate funds for the local economy through a community benefit fund and were a "sufficient distance" from homes.

Officials recommended the scheme was turned down as its scale, siting and prominence would "result in demonstrable harm to the landscape character, visual, ecological and historical qualities" of the area.

They also said the likely energy generated by the turbines would "not outweigh the significant adverse effects on local environmental quality".

Tan 8, or Technical Advice Note 8, established seven strategic areas thought to be suitable as sites for developing wind energy on a large scale.

The Welsh government wants the UK government to devolve powers over large-scale energy generation projects.

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