David Rees AM and Hywel Francis MP have expressed their disappointment at the news that the Pen-y-Cymoedd Wind farm development has been given the go-ahead in spite of the concerns of residents. The development will be the highest-generating onshore wind farm in England and Wales, generating 299MW from 76 turbines, enough to power 206,000 homes, according to developers.

In a joint statement David Rees AM and Hywel Francis MP said:
“We are disappointed that the concerns of local residents and our calls for a public inquiry have not been acted upon. We hope the developer will be working with residents, local councillors, the local authority and the Welsh Government to ensure that this development benefits the local area. We will be seeking a meeting with the developers as soon as possible to ensure that local residents’ concerns are taken into account.”

Currently, under Section 36 of the 1989 Electricity Act, final decisions about power stations over 50 MW are decided by the Westminster government rather than the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government is now seeking devolved power to decide energy proposals above 50 MWatt. In response to a question on the Pen-y-Cymoedd development, asked by David Rees AM in the Senedd yesterday the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, stated that he did not believe the current situation was sustainable and that that these decisions should be taken by those who are elected by the people of Wales.

Hywel Francis MP, David Rees AM and David’s predecessor, Brian Gibbons, have campaigned for a public enquiry for several years.

They added:
“We believe that it remains a travesty that decisions on such important issues are not taken here in Wales. Whilst we fully support renewable energy, this is a landscape which has already been ravaged by coal mining. Local communities have worked hard to regenerate the region into what should now be considered an area of natural beauty.”

“The proposal for the wind farm would be particularly intrusive for the residents of the Upper Afan Valley. These communities, with their highly attractive natural assets, are beginning to build a thriving tourist industry which could be impacted upon unless this development is managed both sensitively and with full consultation with our communities.”