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Mynydd Llanhilleth wind turbine development withdrawn

A view of Mynydd Llanhilleth Common looking south east (Pic: Torfaen County Borough Council planning file)

A PROPOSAL to build wind turbines on upland between Abertillery and Pontypool has been withdrawn, Blaenau Gwent councillors have been told.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Wednesday, July 10 councillors received an update on the wind turbine proposal by development and estates manager Steve Smith.

The application by Pennant Walters is mostly across the border in Torfaen County Borough – but the western part of the site is close to the village of Llanhilleth in Blaenau Gwent.

A map showing where Pennant Walters want to build a windfarm at Mynydd Llanhilleth which straddles the county border of Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen councils (Pic: Pennant Walters)

The application was for eight turbines which would be 180 metres height.

It was 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 were consultees rather than decision makers.

Mr Smith said: “Just to highlight to members that the wind turbine DNS wind farm scheme at Mynydd Llanhilleth has recently been withdrawn.

“That’s in connections with a request by the applicants to take one turbine out of the scheme.

“Planning inspectors deemed that is a significant change to the application and not able to be dealt with as an amendment to the scheme as it stood.”

Mr Smith added that he “expected” the application to be re-submitted at some point.

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This would be for seven rather than eight wind turbines.

Committee chairwoman, Cllr Lisa Winnett said: “We’ve had a little bit of a reprieve.”

Cllr Wayne Hodgins asked if the council would get an “extra fee” if the application is re-submitted.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into these wind farm applications,” said Cllr Hodgins.

Mr Smith said that if a new application is submitted which requires the council to produce a Local Impact Report (LIR) it would “attract a new fee.”

If an LIR is submitted on time the council receives £7,500, but councillors were told this would also be used to pay any external consultants who feed into that LIR.

Councillors noted the report.

In February councillors received the LIR report on Mynydd Llanhilleth which said that the: “impacts of the development as a whole would be negative,” for the county.

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

Documents lodged with PEDW show that Pennant Walters had appliedlast month to “vary” the application by taking away “turbine five” and reducing the scheme from eight turbines to seven.

Concerns had been raised that this turbine would have a significant impact on bats.

Planning inspectors refused to remove the turbine from the application, and this put the whole scheme in jeopardy.

Planning inspectors “invited” Pennant Walters to withdraw the application as they were going recommend that Welsh Government ministers refuse it.

Pennant Walters withdrew the application on June 21.