I need to begin this post by declaring my scepticism about whether onshore wind farms are worthwhile. I do not believe that the energy benefit justifies the damage inflicted on our landscapes. That posted, I have to accept that the Assembly Government has decided to ignore my opinion, and others who share it. They published planning guidance which indicated to developers that permission would be granted in 7 designated areas of Wales. In Carno, a group of farmers entered into a collective, in order to do exactly what the Government asked them to do. They formed a company named Tir Gwynt and submitted a planning application to erect a few turbines on their farms almost two years ago. This has cost them a considerable sum of money. It looks increasingly as if they may have been hung out to dry.
The main issue is transporting the turbine components. The current position is thus. Because Powys County council has received 14 planning applications for wind farms, its been decided that none of them will be dealt with until a 'transport plan' is agreed. In principle - entirely sensible. But Tir Gwynt is not as the other wind farms. It already has an agreement to connect to the National Grid. It could go ahead now if given permission. All but one of the other 14 applications submitted would not have a connection until 2016 at the earliest - and that's not certain. And they have all been submitted by large international businesses, who will be in no rush to have a decision. This seems both ridiculous, and unfair. Its not as if the turbines cannot be transported. Several wind farms have already been constructed. It makes no sense to group Tir Gwynt with all the others.
My scepticism means that I'm not calling for the granting of planning permission. I'm just think that the farmers deserve a decision. Its unreasonable for these local farmers to have been led up the garden path, only to find that no-one will even answer the door. They are just left, waiting and festering - with their hard earned money tied up. And all the time, the authorities find new ways to avoid coming to a decision. Tir Gwynt should be disaggregated from all the other wind farms and decided on its own merits - soon.