Welsh farmers resist planned wind farm development

DOZENS OF farmers are spearheading opposition to a planned wind farm in west Wales, which they claim would significantly reduce the value of their farms.

“A valuer who looked at several of our units estimated that they would be worth up to 30% less, which in one case would mean a £900,000 fall in market value,” said Helen Thomas, co-ordinator of an action group that has lodged detailed objections.

Gorsgoch, the dairy farm run by her and her husband Wyn, could be worth £200,000 less if permission was given for Renewable Energy Systems to construct ten 2MW turbines at Rhos Garn Wilgarn in Ceredigion, she said.

“These would be 100m high and have longer blades than most turbines used in the UK, and there is little information available to predict how the resulting noise blight will affect dairy cows or people.”

Top sheep breeders Sue and Ronald Jones, Meinigwynion Mawr, said they were very unhappy with RES’s environmental impact statement’s claim that the land involved was “slightly degraded” through overgrazing.

The description did not accurately describe the four farms that had agreed to have turbines, or any of the surrounding holdings that would be badly affected by both disruption during the construction phase and the operation of the turbines.

Roy and Sue Chetwynd, who are currently expanding their dairy herd to 700 cows and have built a new rotary parlour, said they feared that noise from the giant turbines could hit cow performance.

During an action group visit to land bordering the proposed development members insisted that the plan violated the Welsh Assembly’s technical advice note on planning for renewable energy (TAN 8), and would damage farming, the environment and tourism.

They claimed that their opposition had won strong political support from local MP Mark Williams, Nick Bourne, Conservative leader at the assembly, and Elin Jones the assembly member for Ceredigion.

Members of the group also said they had told 190 people who attended a recent public meeting that the proposed site was inappropriate.

A statement from RES Ltd said the company thought there was no better location in Ceredigion for a wind farm to generate clean power for 12,000 homes.

It would have limited environmental impact and would generate income for the local community.