Mid Wales

Powys wind farms: Council cabinet opposes applications

Protests have been staged against three controversial wind farm applications as they were discussed by councillors in Powys.

The applications for Llanbrynmair, Llaithdu and Llandinam will be decided by the UK government because they are set to generate over 50 megawatts.

The council cabinet decided to formally oppose all three planning applications.

RenewableUK Cymru said the decision was a blow to many businesses that stood to benefit from the developments.

Powys council debated the plans as a statutory consultee at a meeting broadcast on the web.

Campaigners demonstrated outside the meeting in Llandrindod Wells.

Opposition to wind farms has grown in Powys since plans were announced to build a 19-acre electricity sub-station in the county.

About 1,500 campaigners gathered at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay in May last year against the proposals, which also include a corridor of pylons from 10 planned wind farms.

The village of Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, was chosen as the preferred location for the sub-station in July.

Wind farms at Llaithdu, near Llanbadarn Fynydd, Llandinam, near Llanidloes, and Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth, were discussed by the full council on Tuesday morning.

Speaking before the meeting, David Jones, the executive leader of the council, said: "Wind farm applications are of considerable concern to the people of Powys and we are anticipating huge interest.

"To allow as many people to see and hear the debate the county council is again broadcasting proceedings live on the internet.

"We are also expecting a number of residents to attend county hall and are doing all that we can to accommodate as many people as possible but space is limited and numbers will be restricted."

In March, the council's planning committee refused an application for an 11-turbine wind farm at Waun Garno, Llawryglyn, near Carno.

In the same month the council formally objected to two large wind farm applications at Llanbadarn Fynydd and Carnedd Wen, Llanbrynmair. They are due to be decided on by the UK government.

Dr David Clubb, the director of renewable energy trade association RenewableUK Cymru, said onshore wind can bring "significant benefits to the local economy and environment".

He called the council's decision "a blow".

"Contrast this with the recent approval of schemes in south Wales, which has led to a high level of activity amongst suppliers who are gearing up to meet demand," he said.

"A recent report by RenewableUK and the Department of Energy and Climate Change had shown that in 2011 the onshore wind sector was worth £314m to Wales and supported 4,500 jobs," he added.

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