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Biggles could impact wind farm expansion

 
Created on 20/02/2017 @ 07:55
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The Royal Air Force (RAF) could have a huge say on the scale of future wind farm development on our local hill tops, it has been revealed.

Montgomeryshire provides one of the few places in the UK where the RAF, and pilots from across the world, can train at levels as low as 100 feet from the ground due to the sparsity of our population.

But with wind farms sprouting up over the past few years and more in the pipeline, planners have requested more time to look at what can be allowed over the coming years following input from the armed forces.

Powys County Council revealed at its recent Cabinet meeting that the reason for the delay in releasing the long awaited Land Development Plan (LDP) is the issue of its Renewable Energy Assessment which needs more time to finalise.

In a statement, the council explained that “the additional work will now consider a range of issues that are likely to have an impact on the assessment. In relation to wind energy, this will include The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) low-flying tactical training area over a large part of western Powys.”

In addition, the council also highlighted that there needs to be a 10km buffer around the Sennybridge training area which is used for live firing army exercises.

The statement also said that Natural Resources Wales has requested appropriate buffers for special protection areas to protect bird species.

Other things to consider are a 7km visual impact buffer placed around existing and proposed windfarms to take account of cumulative impact and a 7km buffer to be applied to all designated landscapes which include two national parks and two areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The good news for campaigners against the expansion of wind farms is that the council said: “These factors are likely to see a decrease in the number of local search areas in the county.”

The council is aiming to publish this additional evidence on its LDP webpages at the end of March.

Cllr Tony Thomas, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: “The local development plan is the most important planning document we have and we are determined to ensure we have a robust framework in place. It is a policy for the long-term and it is important that we get it right for the future.

“As part of this process, we are working hard to ensure that the renewable energy assessment is a robust document before we submit it to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the Local Development Plan examination.”

Back in June 2011, we ran an exclusive story highlighting the fact that the Ministry of Defence was not impressed with the plans for 100m high turbines on their prime training ground.

That story can be read here: http://www.mywelshpool.co.uk/viewernews/ArticleId/2005

 

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