Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blow for community renewable energy

Awel Aman Tawe community wind farm has lost its appeal against an adverse planning decision by Neath Port Talbot County BoroughCouncil.

It has been in development for six years. As the Inspector himself says, "it It has been highlighted as an example in a number of case study documents, awards and at conferences" as a good example of community involvement.

But the inspector said the size of the turbines and their location, and the fact that the community was deeply divided, plus the relation of the proposal to national policy, were reasons to turn the appeal down.

Project Manager Dan McCallum expressed his disappointment saying "The decision seems an extremely conservative interpretation of TAN8 planning policy which we feel may have serious implications for the development of the wind sector in Wales."

The long-winded nature of the whole processs leaves no doubt as to why there are so few community-based renewable energy projects in the UK, and why we are so slow to meet our targets on renewables.

The Inspector criticised the community aspect by saying that the rewards to the community "do not relate to such matters as highway improvements, mitigation for any adverse impacts from construction activities or payments to overcome adverse implications for telecommunications. In consequence any community benefits that would arise from this development cannot be a consideration in any assessment of the acceptability or otherwise of the proposed scheme in planning terms."

It would seem that more coperation from the Council in the spirit of the enterprise would have saved everyone a lot of time and money.

The inspector's conclusion is particularly sad:

"I accept that renewable and sustainable energy development is to be generally supported and encouraged and that the Assembly Government is committed to playing its part by delivering an energy programme which contributes to reducing carbon emissions.

"However such support is not, in relation to this particular type of development in this location, unqualified. I am not convinced that, in this case, the environmental impacts arising from this proposal can be avoided or minimised or that the proposed development would accord with local planning policies in the development plan or emerging UDP.

"In this connection I have had regard to the planning conditions discussed at the inquiry and to the Section 106 unilateral undertaking relating to funding for the restoration of the site. I have noted all the other matters raised, including general observations concerning the desirability of urgent action in relation to climate change issues, but find that none are of sufficient weight or importance to override the considerations that have led to these conclusions."

In other words, go away, put it somewhere else, and I don't care if it takes another five years.

Will our children thank us in 50 years time for the wisdom of decisions like this?

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3 comments:

pete said...

low carbon transport

Green Earth said...

Solar power is an option people can incorporate into their lives without discomfort.

francis said...

Have you heard all the latest advances in super clean ,renewable geothermal technology? You can now not only cool and heat your home and business this energy efficient way but heat your POOL also!!! There is some very exciting news well worth looking into , along with tax rebates being offered.