THE examination process of a 32 turbine windfarm in a Denbighshire forest has begun.
A preliminary meeting held by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) last Thursday about plans to build 32 wind turbines in Clocaenog Forest, opened the next stage of the examining process.
Denbighshire’s planning committee voted in favour of officers’ recommendations last week meaning Denbighshire County Council accept they cannot object in principle to a windfarm in this location due to policy.
But councillors also voted for officers to raise objections about the landscape, visual, noise and any other issue in the Local Impact Report which will be given to the planning inspectorate as part of the examining process.
The plans, by RWE npower renewables, consists of 32 turbines, along with the associated roads and infrastructure needed during the wind farm’s construction and operation.
The minister for energy and climate change will decide to approve or refuse the plans with help from the planning inspectorate.
The examining authority inspectorate, Wendy Burden, has six months to gather information and another three months to write a report recommending the minister to approve or refuse.
The minister has three months to make a decision.
Ms Burden said: “So at the most the decision should be made in 12 months.
“I have already visited the site. I got to go on a sunny day in July and went round part of the area, so I understand more about the comments made by people so far.”
Ms Burden will be going on a site visit with RWE npower renewables and other representatives.
Site visits will take place on October 30 and 31 to areas including Moel Famau, Llyn Brenig, Clwyd Gate and Tir Mostyn Wind Farm.
The deadline for written representations by interested parties and notification to speak at open hearings and the Local Impact Report by Denbighshire County Council is October 17.
To keep up to date with the process visit the PINS website for the Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm: www.infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/projects/wales/clocaenog-forest-wind-farm/
Or call the PINS helpdesk on 0303 444 5000, email PINS case team on email@example.com and refer to application reference EN010013
Denbighshire County Council accepts it cannot object in principle to a windfarm in the Clocaenog Forest due to policy. Here are two arguments for and against the proposal.
By Martin Cole, Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Development Manager, RWE npower renewables
FOR well over 100 years our hydro-electric power stations have been operating at the heart of North Wales, generating energy and creating jobs from renewable resources, while supporting local and national demands for power.
Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm could continue that legacy, working with the planet’s natural resources to support a secure, home-grown supply of electricity; a long-term source of income for Clocaenog’s rural communities; and local jobs and skills training in North Wales.
• It really is in the right place: it is located in Strategic Search Area (SSA) A – a site identified by the Welsh Government as most suitable for wind farm development.
• It will deliver jobs and investment locally - over 236 jobs during construction and operation, while the gross value of construction contracts could be worth £40m to Wales (£9m specifically to North Wales). We are already working with the local supply chain, while supporting skills development such as through our apprentice scheme at Llandrillo College.
•It will provide important rural investment: RWE npower renewables intends to offer a Community Benefit Package worth up to £480,000 each year that the site is operational (circa £9.6m over the operational life of the Wind Farm) and an Economic Development Package worth around a further £288,000 per year.
• It is well planned and designed in consultation with local stakeholders to minimise impacts on the local area. The project will not conflict with existing or future uses of the forest and studies have demonstrated that the wind farm would not have a significant impact on site ecology or archaeology.
It supports Welsh Government’s carbon emissions reduction targets and capable of generating enough energy to meet the typical annual needs of approximately 40,800 average UK homes.
By Mike Skuse, a resident against the windfarm
CLOCAENOG Forest is not remote enough to accommodate this development.
There are 51 residential properties within 2km of the site and a further 349 within 5km.
There are nine villages within five km. Snowdonia lies to the west and the Clwydian Hills AONB to the east.
People living closest to the turbines will suffer from visual blight. Their houses will be devalued or unsaleable and, most importantly, water supplies may be affected.
If a supply of potable water is not available, the house is uninhabitable.
The developers should offer an unequivocal guarantee that they will maintain a steady, safe, clean water supply to everybody likely to be affected, not only during construction, but for the entire life of the development.
A large number of local residents will also suffer from noise. The test of noise levels, called ETSU-R-97, is hopelessly out of date and did not envisage the enormous machines now in use.
They will especially dominate the westward views from the nationally protected areas of the Clwydian Range and Llantysilio Hills. They will devalue the iconic views from Moel Famau.
Together with already consented windfarms, there will eventually be 94 turbines forming an unbroken spine of industrialisation 8km long on the Clocaenog plateau.
This is more than this location can stand. There will be massive disturbance during construction, when wild animals will flee from the noise. There will be no animals left in the forest after the construction is complete, and animals such as foxes, red squirrels, and goshawks are unlikely to return, even new reserved “mitigation” areas.
Finally, the intermittent supply of electricity from the turbines will not significantly reduce global CO2 emissions.