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Powys planning committee could again decide plans for weather mast near Staylittle 

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

POWYS councillors could be asked to decide a planning application for a weather mast near Staylittle again – just weeks after they rejected a previous proposal.

Last month, it was revealed that a fresh planning application has been submitted to Powys County Council by Esgair Galed Energy Park Limited.

The firm is the development vehicle for Bute Energy, who specialise in developing wind and solar energy parks.

The meteorological mast which would be a maximum 122.5 metres tall at the site which is 3.8 kilometres west of Staylittle.

The weather mast is the precursor to a potential development of 220 metre high wind turbines earmarked for the area.

Resident from nearby Dylife, Staylittle and Llwynygog are already campaigning against the windfarm proposal.

Last time around the application was “called-in” to be decided by the Planning committee by Plaid Cymru’s Cllr Gary Mitchell who is the Powys councillor for the area.

He has done the same thing with the new application.

Cllr Mitchell said: “I have taken the time to consider the re-submission by Bute Energy for the mast.

“Whilst they have clearly provided more information on the construction methodology and both visual and ecological aspects, to me these just further highlight the risk the development has on its surroundings.

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“I would like to call this application in to be considered by the Planning committee, which I think is only fair and right.

“Now we have what Bute have provided, in my opinion the committee, in my, should re-visit it.”

Cllr Gary Mitchell (Pic: Powys County Council)

In documents lodged supporting the proposal planning agents 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 conducted 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.

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

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.

“Furthermore, the mast will not be situated on land that is subject to any ecological or landscape designations.”

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

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 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.