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Bute energy submit controversial weather mast plan near Staylittle for second time

Esgair Galed - where a weather mast and wind turbine could be built (Pic: Google Streetview)

JUST weeks after a controversial planning application was rejected by councillors, windfarm developers Bute Energy are having another tilt at building a weather mast near Glaslyn Nature Reserve.

A fresh planning application has been submitted by Esgair Galed Energy Park Limited which is the development vehicle for Bute Energy, who specialise in developing wind and solar energy parks, at the site which is 3.8 kilometres west of Staylittle.

The meteorological mast which would be a maximum 122.5 metres tall is the precursor to a potential development of 220 metre high wind turbines earmarked for the area in a wind farm called Esgair Galed Energy Park.

A similar weather mast – but without the red and white colours would be built at Esgair Galed. From Dulas part of the documents lodged with the application.

Resident from nearby Dylife, Staylittle and Llwynygog have started to campaign against the windfarm proposal and 85 objections were lodged against the first weather mast application.

Agent Carney Sweeney said: “The mast will gather a range of meteorological data during the 36-month period as part of the overall feasibility assessment for a future wind farm proposal.

“There is no concrete required for this development.

“The mast structure is constructed from aluminium and held in place by steel guy wires connected to steel anchor rods.”

Carney Sweeney explained that the building work would be carried out by workers travelling to the site using four by four vehicles and trailers.

One “flatbed lorry” would be used to deliver a digger for the anchor locations.

Carney Sweeney said:  “In order to obtain a precise understanding of wind speeds in the region, the equipment will collect a large number of meteorological data on an ongoing basis.”

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They add that government policy supports the principle of developing renewable and low carbon energy from all technologies and they quote the relevant policy.

Policy 17 states: “In determining planning applications for renewable and low carbon energy development, decision-makers must give significant weight to the need to meet Wales’s international commitments and our target to generate 70 per cent of consumed electricity by renewable means by 2030 in order to combat the climate emergency”.

Carney Sweeney said: “The proposed development is not considered to have a significant impact on environmental, social, or economic factors.

“The slim, unobtrusive nature of the structure of the mast will render it a minor feature in the landscape and it is considered that the proposed development is unlikely to result in any significant impact upon local visual amenity, landscape character and the area’s natural and cultural resource.

“Furthermore, the mast will not be situated on land that is subject to any ecological or landscape designations and the proposed development raises no unacceptable technical, access or design issues.”

At a Planning committee meeting on Thursday, March 14, Powys county councillors voted against the first version of the application and in doing so they went against the recommendation of planning officers who recommended the application should be approved.

Bute Energy had said that they would appeal against this decision.

A decision is expected on the new application by June 11.

The Esgair Galed Windfarm wind turbine scheme, which was revealed in January would roughly be situated, northwest of Llanidloes, southeast of Machynlleth and south of Llanbrynmair.

Any future wind turbine planning application would be deemed a Development of National Significance (DNS) and would be processed by Welsh Government planning inspectors at Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW).

If built the wind turbines would create 171 MW of electricity which would be enough to power between 113,000 and 179,000 households a year.