Plaid Cymru politicians call for moratorium on wind farm application

Carmarthenshire politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM have called for a moratorium on the Brechfa Forest West wind farm application as they believe the UK Government is ignoring its own planning policy.

Last week Mr. Edwards attacked the Westminster government after he had exposed that the Minister will determine the planning application without visiting the community or having an understanding of the area. Both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Thomas firmly believe decisions on major energy projects should be made in the National Assembly for Wales.

Currently the application for 28 wind turbines is under consideration by the UK Minister. However no planning application has been submitted for the numerous pylons and overhead electricity cables which could be required to connect the Brechfa wind farm with the National Grid.

Further questioning this week has highlighted that Ministers can consider planning applications for large energy projects in conjunction with an application for associated electricity connections. Jonathan Edwards says a moratorium should be put on the Brechfa wind farm application until any associated applications are submitted so that the full scale of the project can be properly considered.

His constituency colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas said that if the Minister is minded to approve the wind farm application on its own, the communities of the Towy, Teifi and Amman valleys would need a cast iron guarantee that no application for associated developments would be submitted in the future.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“The UK government has confirmed to me through Parliamentary questioning that planning legislation permits applications for large scale energy projects and associated electricity connections to be contained in a single application, or in separate applications submitted in tandem.

“Our concern is that with so many large scale energy projects taking place in Carmarthenshire, there will be a need for more infrastructure developments such as pylons and overhead cabling to efficiently connect the wind farms with the national grid.

“If that is indeed the case, applications for the additional infrastructure should be considered in conjunction with the wind farm application. Only then will the residents of Carmarthenshire, and indeed those passing judgement on the applications have a full and proper understanding of the projects and its impact on the many communities affected.

“We believe the planning applications should be submitted together and I have written to the UK government requesting a moratorium on the current Brechfa West wind farm application.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:

“We are simply not convinced that with all of the wind turbine projects being pursued there is sufficient capacity to connect with the grid.

“The Brechfa West wind farm development therefore has the potential to affect scores of communities if additional electricity infrastructure is required.

“We fundamentally believe decisions on wind farms should be made in Wales by our local democratically elected politicians.

“But if the UK Minister is intent on determining the Brechfa West application on its own, we call on him to give a cast iron guarantee to the communities of the Towy, Teifi and Amman Valleys that not a single piece of additional infrastructure would be permitted to link wind farm developments with the grid in the future.”

Further Parliamentary Questions from Jonathan Edwards to the UK Minister of State can be seen here.

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