PLANS for a wind farm in Rhondda Cynon Taf which could power more than 15,000 homes are set to be discussed by councillors but it’s up to a planning inspector to make a final decision.
The application for the wind farm with seven turbines on land at Mynydd y Glyn, to the east of Trebanog, with a capacity of 30 MegaWatts (MW) and the potential to power 15,376 houses is due to go before the council’s planning committee on Thursday, June 22.
The Pennant Walters Ltd application is a development of national significance as the generating capacity would exceed 10 MegaWatts (MW) and a decision lies outside of the council’s jurisdiction and lies instead with Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW).
The recommendation is that the committee approves the council’s local impact report, which the council is required to submit, on the development of national significance planning application and this will be sent to PEDW to help the appointed Welsh Government inspector in making a decision on the application.
The construction period would be around two years and the wind farm has been designed with an operational life of 30 years and at the end of this period would be shut down, dismantled and removed from site.
The turbines would have a diameter of up to 136m, a hub height of up to 97.5m and a maximum blade tip height of 155m.
The development would also include other aspects such as a substation and control building, temporary construction compounds, including temporary site offices, crane pads at each turbine location, turbine foundations, underground power cables, internal access tracks, a new access and junction off the A4233, and a 1.4km long overhead line from the point of supply (on-site substation) to the boundary of the site where it will be met with a 7.1km long underground cable to the grid connection (an existing National Grid (NG) substation at Upper Boat).
The planning report said the site lay within the Mynydd y Glyn and Nant Muchudd Basin Special Landscape Area (SLA) and that elements also fell within the Trebanog Slopes and Mynydd y Glyn Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).
It said the site was partially located within the Rhondda Historic Landscape Area and areas of the Rhos Tonyrefail Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) were located directly to the south.
The site was crossed by several high risk areas in respect of historic underground coal mining and there were areas of potentially contaminated land on site, the report said.
The report added that the site was crossed by several public rights of way and the entire site was a Sandstone Resource Area.
In assessing the application, the council’s planning officers said that while the site was located outside of any of Welsh Government’s PAAs (pre-assessed areas) for large-scale wind energy development, FW2040 (Future Wales: The National Plan 2040) allowed for such development outside of these areas providing the scheme complied with relevant planning policy.
They said: “It is considered the proposed development will have a negative impact on the landscape in visual terms and to the outlook of the closest residents, although it is accepted that this is a subjective issue.
“In all other key respects, such as residential amenity, highway safety and ecology, it is considered appropriate mitigation can be implemented that would ensure there is no more than a neutral impact.”
They said that there were some issues that needed further consideration and would currently result in a negative impact but could be overcome through submission of further details via condition.
They said that FW2040 and PPW (Planning Policy Wales) “clearly offer strong support” for the provision of renewable energy projects across Wales, as does RCT’s own LDP (Local Development Plan); and “it is clear from the national policy documents that there is a strong presumption in favour of such projects to the point where adverse impacts have to be particularly severe for a refusal of consent to be justified.”
They added: “Given that, the adverse impacts in this case which will likely be the key determining factors for the PEDW Inspector are considered to be mostly related to visual impact, which is subjective.”
They advised members to offer no objections to the content of the council’s local impact report.