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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Farmers could block windfarm
Wind farm
Farmers with grazing rights have so rejected proposals
Welsh hill farmers with historic grazing rights say they will protest against plans for a giant windfarm.

Some of those working the land at Mynydd y Gwair, near Swansea, say they are furious at the possibility of 23 giant wind generators being erected in the area.

David Rowlands - former chairman of the local commoners association - said: "There's families with around 18 children living in the immediate area and they are going to be subjected to the noise and disruption of two years of building and the consistent noise of the wind turbines when they are built."

They had been approached by the Somerset Trust which owns the land and is connected to the Duke of Beaufort.

Trust spokesman Christopher Smith said: "The proposal is at the very early stages and has not be discussed with the commoners."

He added that there would be full consultations between them and the trust and stressed that farming interests - in terms of the numbers of stock they could graze on the land - would not be affected.

National Wind Power's development manager for Wales Mike Legerton confirmed that the company were conducting preliminary investigations into a Mynydd y Gwair project.

He stressed that any investigation would include issues of protecting the environment and consultation.

The land in question lies between Swansea and Ammanford, where 120 farmers designated as commoners have the right to graze stock.

But they also have the right to be consulted on any changes of use of the land and at a meeting of 26 of the commoners on Tuesday they decided to oppose the wind power proposal.

Farmers raise doubts over grazing if windmill plan goes ahead

Mr Rowlands is sceptical that the windfarm would not have adverse effect on farming.

"Each wind generator would have its own road and there are seven to eight miles of roads proposed in the plan for the site," Mr Rowlands added.

"And with a building site, vehicles and a possible quarry, I can't see how we would have the same grazing."

Another of the commoners is Wendy Jacobs who along with her husband Alun, farms 500 acres in the area with a flock of 1,200 ewes and a herd of suckler cows.

She said: "I oppose the plan and want to retain the right to graze animals on the mountain. I have not seen written details yet."

The commoners have called another meeting next Tuesday.

Mynydd y Gwair consists of many hundreds of acres and is traditionally used as summer grazing by the local hill farmers.

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