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Bridgend Neath Port Talbot Politics Politics South Wales

Amendments to local wind farm plans approved

A REQUEST to increase the size of the diameter swept by the rotor blades on some of the turbines of a wind farm site on the border of Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot have been approved by Bridgend Council’s planning committee.

The plans were first approved by Welsh Government Ministers in September of 2022, for the development of seven wind turbines on land based in the upper Ogmore Valley Between Blaengwynfi, Nantymoel and Blaengarw.

They were put forward by renewable energy developers RES, for the development of the Upper Ogmore Wind Farm and Energy Storage Facility, which will be located on agricultural land to the south of the A4107.

As well as featuring seven wind turbines, the development will also include  new access tracks, crane hardstanding, a control building and substation compound, as well as energy storage containers, drainage works and upgrades to a forestry track.

The report reads: “The consented scheme comprises 7 No. three-bladed horizontal axis wind turbines that would effectively constitute an extension to the operational Llynfi Afan wind farm constructed on land to the north and west of the application site.

“Four of the turbines would have a maximum tip height of 149.9m, with three turbines incorporating a maximum tip height of 130m. The submission indicated that, in total, the seven turbines proposed would have an installed capacity of approximately 25.2MW.”

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While the plans have already been approved by the Minister for Climate Change, developers have since requested to make changes to the rotor diameters – the width of the circle swept by the rotating blades – of four of the wind turbines from 105 metres to 117 metres.

This change would, in theory, allow them to produce more electricity.

Officers at the county council’s planning authority said the decision would be down to them due to a “quirk” in the laws that meant while the approval was granted by Welsh Government, any amendments would have to be approved by them.

Speaking at the meeting, members heard how there had been one letter of objection from Maesteg Town Council who did so on the basis of  “access and negative impacts to the local environment,” though officers said the changes had been deemed acceptable in terms of planning.

Councillors Simon Griffiths and Norah Clarke also asked if the changes would create any impact to noise levels created from the site.

Officers said that substantial evidence had been presented, demonstrating that the larger diameter would not cause further noise, adding that one of the conditions for the site’s approval were noise reviews to protect residents who lived nearby.

The request to increase the rotor diameter for the turbines was later approved by members, with assurances that their position would remain the same as within the original plans.

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