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Four-month pause on wind farm plans between Abertillery and Pontypool

a track on a mountain
A view of Mynydd Llanhilleth Common looking south east. Picture: Torfaen County Borough Council planning file Credit: LDRS

A FOUR-MONTH pause has been placed on plans for a wind farm earmarked for a hillside between Abertillery and Pontypool

Pennant Walters had wanted to build eight wind turbines on Mynydd Llanhilleth.

The hiatus will allow them to respond to criticism of the proposals as well as make a tweak to the plans which will see it reduce the number of turbines from eight to seven.

The application is mostly in Torfaen County Borough – but two of the turbines are planned for land in Blaenau Gwent, close to the village of Llanhilleth.

These are turbine three, which is to the east of Llanhilleth, and turbine eight, which to the southwest of Tir Pentwys Quarry.

The application for the turbines, which would be 180 metres at their highest point, is being dealt with by Welsh Government planning inspectors at Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) as a Development of National Significance (DNS).

This means that Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen councils are consultees rather than decision makers for the proposal.

Earlier this month Blaenau Gwent’s Planning Committee noted the contents of a Local Impact Report (LIR) sent by county borough planners to PEDW.

Councillors were also told the application has been suspended until Monday, February 19.

Blaenau Gwent planners deemed that overall, the development would have a “negative” impact on the county borough.

This is due to the cumulative effect of so many wind farm DNS applications in the pipeline for Blaenau Gwent.

They also said that there was a “lack of information” on the effect the proposal would have on the quarry site.

Councillors also noted that another statutory consultee, Welsh Government environment body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had expressed “serious concerns” on the impact a wind turbine would have on the quarry’s stability.

Pennant Walters agent Edward Purnell of WSP UK limited has written to PEDW to say that the applicants intend to provide more detail on several points of the application.

Mr Purnell adds that Pennant Walters will be meeting with Welsh Government environment body NRW to discuss their concerns about using the existing access route across Tir Pentwys Quarry.

A technical note to support the application will explain the “practicality” of using this route.

Mr Purnell said: “This note will show that there is no requirement to move the track and that its use will not disturb geological features.”

Mr Purnell also says that Pennant Walters want to “vary” the application.

Mr Purnell said: “Turbine five will be removed from the project.

“The grid connection will be reduced in length terminating at a position closer to the proposed windfarm.”

PEDW case officer Rhys Rigby said: “A period of ten weeks will be provided to the applicant to submit the information.

“All of the information should be submitted to PEDW no later than Monday, April 29.

“On receipt of the requested information PEDW will carry out the necessary consultation, which will provide other parties with an opportunity to comment on its content.

“I hereby suspend the determination period for this application by a further 16
weeks, the determination period will resume on Tuesday, June 11.”

Pennant Walters say that wind farm will generate 34 MW of electricity which is enough to power 21.500 homes for a year.

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Four-month pause on wind farm plans between Abertillery and Pontypool