Mid Wales windfarm refusal 'will cost region £8m'

A company which was refused planning permission to build a windfarm in Mid Wales said it will cost the region £8 million.

WIndfarm

Renewable Energy Systems Limited wanted to build the windfarm in Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth, but despite a planning inspector recommending it be given the go ahead, the Department of Energy and Climate Change threw it out.

Now RES says it will proceed with a Judicial Review claim in respect of the Government’s refusal.

Managing director, Gordon MacDougall, said there had been a lack of adequate explanation for overturning the planning inspector’s recommendation.

In a letter addressed to Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies, Mr MacDougall said: “The department has not fully explained why it has disagreed with the Planning Inspector’s judgement that the benefits of the scheme outweigh its impacts.”

“In the case of Llanbrynmair windfarm, the inspector’s judgment was that the project should be granted approval.”

He said the Welsh Government has consistently demonstrated widespread support for renewable energy, evident in the TAN8 policy, which designates areas suitable for windfarm developments – including Llanbrynmair.

“RES estimates Llanbrynmair windfarm would deliver at least £8 million in local economic investment in the first year alone and local communities would benefit from some £7.5 million in community benefits over the project’s lifetime,” Mr MacDougall said.

“This includes an annual £180,000 community benefit fund in addition to an annual discount of £152 off the electricity bills of some 750 residential, commercial and community properties within 5km of the turbines at Llanbrynmair.”

He added: “In the seven years that Llanbrynmair windfarm has been in the planning process, RES has invested several million pounds in the project – only to find that, despite Welsh Government support and a planning inspector’s backing, this significant financial commitment, which would deliver very substantial inward and community investment, risks being written off.

“It simply cannot be in the interests of Wales, England or the UK infrastructure sector for planning decisions relating to investment of this magnitude not to be fully and fairly scrutinised, and this full and fair scrutiny is what RES is seeking through the Judicial Review.”

In response, Mr Davies said he would be very surprised if the company was granted a judicial review.

He said: “There has to be a suggestion of some sort of legal failure for an application for a judicial review to succeed.”

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