Wind farms: Ed Davey hails Pen-y-Cymoedd investment boost

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Media captionConstruction work on the project is due to start next year

A giant onshore wind farm in south Wales will attract billions of pounds investment to the UK, according to UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

He was visiting the £400m Pen-y-Cymoedd project between Neath and Aberdare which will create the largest onshore wind farm in Wales or England.

Developers say the scheme will generate power for 140,000 homes from 76 turbines and create 300 jobs.

Construction work on the project is due to start next year.

"It will attract billions in investment into the UK and support hundreds of skilled green jobs while providing homes with clean energy," said Mr Davey.

"Offshore and onshore wind is an important contributor to our energy mix," he said.

"We have provided certainty early to onshore and offshore wind investors and now see significant investment decisions being made that will benefit the UK's economy for years to come."

Work to clear forestry land - leased from the Welsh government - and to build forest roads began last winter.

Work on the turbines is set to start by February.

Neither of the local councils concerned - Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf - raised objections to the proposals.

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Media captionResidents in Gilfach Goch, which is overlooked by a wind farm, have mixed views on the turbines

'Sustain jobs'

But the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and a local residents action group in Glyncorrwg claim there would be a huge cost to the environment and a visual intrusion on the landscape for miles around.

Swedish-based developer Vattenfall has promised a community benefits package potentially worth £45m over the site's 25-year lifetime.

The company said more than 600 firms have registered to be included in the project.

Welsh firm Spencer Environmental Care Associates has been clearing trees to enable wide and long vehicles to get into the site.

Business development manager Charles Jukes said the company's involvement in the Pen-y-Cymoedd project had been "very important" as it came during the recession and had been "vital for us to sustain jobs and build for the future".

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