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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Support for more wind farms
Wind farm (generic)
Ministers say larger windfarms will come with 'appropriate safeguards'
Building more onshore windfarms is the "only viable option" to meet Wales' clean energy targets, says the Welsh Assembly Government.

Proposed changes in planning policy open the way for expansion, almost doubling the current numbers of wind turbines.

Currently, there are around 23 wind farms - or 447 turbines - operating or in development in Wales.

Meanwhile, protesters met at Corwen in Denbighshire to discuss proposals to build further turbines in the area.

The target is to produce 800 megawatts of onshore wind energy by 2010, which the Assembly Government estimates could mean an equivalent of another 400 turbines.

The Assembly Government's Energy Strategy sets out a target that 10% of electricity generated in Wales should come from renewable sources.

Revised planning guidance has been produced for local authorities, industry and developers.

Wind farm (generic)
Ministers will publish an 'Energy Saving Wales' action plan later this year

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Environment Minister Carwyn Jones and Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "All other technologies have been studied in great detail and cannot at this point in time compete commercially with onshore wind.

"Longer term, of course, we would like other clean energy technologies to also make significant contributions."

The statement said they believed "a minimum of 800 megawatts of onshore wind needs to be developed in Wales".

Strategic areas identified in the draft are:

  • Denbigh Moors in north east Wales
  • Nant-y-Moch in Ceredigion, Carno and Llandinam in Powys
  • Pontardawe, Glyncorrwg and Brechfa Forest in south and west Wales

However, the ministers said the map "should not be viewed as a definitive guide to where windfarms will, or will not, be built".

"The areas indicated are simply those which we have assessed in strategic terms as being the most suitable for larger scale wind farms," said the ministers.

"It does not mean that applications to build windfarms in the areas identified would automatically be given the green light. Nor does it mean that windfarms cannot be built in areas not highlighted."

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales is studying the announcement before commenting.

Friends of the Earth Cymru welcomed the consultation and said there was public support for at least a doubling in the number of turbines.

Neil Crumpton, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Cymru said: "There is an urgent and long overdue need to review current planning policies for renewable energy developments in Wales.

"At the moment economic, environmental and social opportunities are being lost as potential developers are put off by uncertainty in the planning system."

A protest meeting was held at Corwen on Tuesday evening against plans for a wind farm nearby.

John Appleby, chairman of PACT (People against Corwen and Cerrigydrudion Turbines) said he was against any wind development in the area.

"This is a beautiful rural area...to us they're power plants," said Mr Appleby, who lives at Betws Gwerfil Goch.

He said if the windfarms go ahead from Corwen to Cerrig, the area will look like "turbine alley".

He added: "We can support wind turbines where they're more efficient, we are essentially greens but we think onshore windfarms are a bit of a con."


SEE ALSO:
Go-ahead for offshore wind farm
07 Jul 04  |  Wales


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