Haven't done much on wind turbines in Mid Wales for a while. This long post compensates. I'd like it to stimulate a debate, though the moment may well have passed. Last Monday evening, I joined around a hundred others at Montgomery Town Hall to hear a presentation by RES Ltd of its proposals to transport turbines for its Garreg Llwyd site through the town's narrow streets. In general, it was a good discussion. RES project manager, Simon Peltenburg, remained cool and calm, under heavy questioning, for the best part of two hours. I felt that the audience was almost wholly opposed - but there was some confusion about what it was precisely opposed to.
The purpose of the meeting was to consider the impact of very long lorries passing through the streets of Montgomery. And it was taking place just before a Town Council meeting where the proposals were to be considered. There were questions relating to threats to buildings and disturbance to traffic movement in Montgomery. Simon was able to deal with these reasonably enough - though not entirely to everyone's satisfaction. There were questions about disturbance to country roads elsewhere along the proposed route, particularly between Kerry and Dolfor. Simon conceded that this disruption would take place, but that he thought it not sufficient to stop the proposals going ahead. However he did agree to attend another meeting in Kerry. There were several contributions challenging the whole principle of building onshore wind farms in Mid Wales at all. I went only to listen, but if I had participated, this is the category into which I would have fallen.
While I was away on a three night holiday this week, Montgomery Town Council met and voted to support the RES proposal. This came as a great surprise to me. Also surprising was that no member of the public attended the Council Meeting to listen to the deliberations. Of course, the Town Council is no more than a consultee on the RES planning application, but the vote may well have an influence on those who do decide it. There are a couple of points worth making. Firstly, the idea raised by several at the meeting that a condition could be attached to the permission, ensuring that no other turbines are transported along the same path is not really a goer - except as part of some overall transport plan. Each planning application has to be decided on its own merits. And secondly, there is no reason why the agreed meeting at Kerry should not go ahead. There is probably more disturbance in the Kerry/Dolfor area than in Montgomery.
I did learn something at the meeting though. I had assumed that just two new wind farms could be built in Montgomeryshire before 2016 - the re-powering at Llandinam by Celtpower, and the Tir Gwynt Wind Farm near Carno by 18 local farmers. This is because there is no more capacity to carry power out of the area until a 400kv line is built. But I'd not realised that a wind farm in Radnorshire, exporting its power southwards would want to bring turbines through Montgomeryshire. I'll need to check whether any more fall into the same category. Tell me if you know.