Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 16:17 UK

Firm pulls out of wind farm plan

Wind farm (generic)
The Rhondda wind farm plan was given the green light in 2005

An energy company has pulled out of plans to build a wind farm in Rhondda due to concerns over noise.

E.On and community group Arts Factory wanted to build the eight-turbine wind farm between the Rhondda Fach and Fawr, near Ferndale.

But E.On said it was worried that the project could potentially pose a "noise nuisance" to nearby homes.

Arts Factory said it was looking for a new partner so that it could continue with the scheme.

E.On's head of new business Danny Shaw said: "We certainly didn't take this decision lightly but, as a responsible developer, we simply wouldn't be willing to build a scheme that we thought had the potential to exceed acceptable noise limits.

"Though the project is no longer viable for us, other developers might be more than interested in joining Arts Factory to take this project forward."

The original plan was for a 10 megawatt wind farm but Mr Shaw said that only a scheme under five megawatts would have been possible.

He said this was "not big enough to meet our criteria for new onshore wind developments".

We feel that potentially a small project would be possible on the site without causing a noise nuisance
Elwyn James, Arts Factory

E.On hoped the 10 megawatt wind farm would have generated renewable electricity to power up to 6,300 homes each year.

Arts Factory chief executive Elwyn James said he hoped the scheme would still go ahead, but on a smaller scale.

"We're disappointed obviously, although we would be just as cautious as E.On about the possibility of causing noise disturbance," he said.

"We feel that potentially a small project would be possible on the site without causing a noise nuisance.

"I would imagine after E.On's press release, there will be plenty of energy companies getting in touch."

He added that there would also have to be further negotiations with the landowner because the option to develop the site had now lapsed.

Planning consent for the wind farm, granted in 2005, still stands, but there were objections from some residents.

Opponents organised petitions and letter-writing campaigns to get their message across to planners.

Blaenllechau resident John Asquith, who opposed the scheme, said: "I feel that E.On are doing the right thing by the community because there's very, very strong community opposition to this.

"They are probably doing the right thing commercially because I've never felt that this was a going concern.

"If their decision is based on the noise factor, that has major implications for anybody else who may be thinking of coming in to look at this."

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