Published: Thursday, 10th September 2015
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom has refused planning permission for four onshore wind farms and one overhead line project all in Powys, Mid-Wales.
The schemes were considered by a conjoined public inquiry between June 2013 and May 2014. The hearing was the biggest ever held in Wales. The inspector’s recommendations went to the Secretary of State for Energy on 8 December last year.
The only project to get approval involved plans for the repowering of the existing Llandinam wind farm. However, the minister blocked the plans for the overhead power line project the scheme would have required.
The inspector had recommended approval for the repowering scheme, the overhead power line and one of the other new projects, the Carnedd Wen wind farm.
The rejection of plans to build the wind farms in mid Wales was “short sighted” and “hugely disappointing”, the Welsh government’s environment and planning minister Carl Sergeant said.
He warned that communities would stand to lose millions of pounds and energy supply would be put at risk.
As part of plans for further devolution, the Welsh government is set to acquire new planning powers over energy projects up to 350 megawatts in size. All of the schemes determined by the UK energy minister would have been decided by welsh ministers under such a regime.
The decisions are:
- Llanbadarn Fynydd onshore wind farm refused
- Llandinam onshore wind farm repowering consent given
- Llaithddu onshore wind farm refused
- Llanbrynmair onshore wind farm refused
- Carnedd Wen onshore wind farm refused
- Llandinam to Welshpool substation overhead power line connection refused.
The decision letters said the schemes were refused because they were unacceptable in terms of their visual and environmental impact.
Councillor Avril York, Powys Council‘s cabinet member for planning, welcomed the decisions. She said: “The council set out its position that the applications should be refused, given the number, size and impact of these applications and the scale of public opposition. This stance was maintained throughout the public inquiry.”