Community Wind Farm
The community wind farm has been given planning approval. AwelAmanTaweDecision attached (pdf)
Community led wind project to develop 2 turbines in the Upper Amman and Swansea Valley. All profits from the scheme will go into local regeneration. Selected as a case study for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in Sept 2002 and included in new planning guidance on wind energy published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005.
The community wind farm originated in a Local Agenda 21 meeting organised by the Council. Local people suggested ‘wind power not opencast’. A group of volunteers took the project forward and secured funding from the DTI to undertake a year of consultation. The consultation lasted from March 2000 – March 2001. Over 300 people visited wind farms on coaches, public meetings were held in each village, structured interviews and semi-structured interviews, open days, work with schools and leaflet drops to every house.
At the end of the year, AAT commissioned the Electoral Reform Society to undertake a independent referendum. The results of the community referendum demonstrated that a clear majority of people support the idea of Awel Aman Tawe. The high level of local involvement was demonstrated by the large turnout at the referendum (48.5% of people voted). A report was written for the DTI on the impact of the consultation and a Toolkit of the consultation methods used.
The challenges have been an organised opposition by a small number of local people backed by organisations such as the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) and Country Guardian. The local media has focused on the controversial elements of the project. It also took a long time to get funding for the project from such diverse donors.
Environmental Impact Assessment
Dulas, a leading Welsh renewable energy consultancy, were commissioned to oversee the EIA. A scoping meeting was held with Neath Port Talbot Council, Carmarthenshire Country Council, Countryside Council for Wales and Brecon Beacons National Park. Other relevant organisations such as Environment Agency and the Glamorgan Wildlife Trust were informed of the project. The background and aims of the project including the year of community consultation were explained. Whilst there was support from consultees for the work Awel Aman Tawe has done at a community level, it was made clear the EIA would have to be of a high standard.
The scope for the EIA was agreed – this included an assessment of noise, visual impact, access routes, impact on ecology including birds, flora and fauna, archaeology and a historic landscape assessment.
Consultation has also been undertaken with local airports, radar and telecommunications operators and Ministry of Defence. Other work needed to plan the wind farm such as analysis of wind speed data, turbine selection, a mines survey and the electricity grid connection has been undertaken. Wherever possible, local community groups and people were involved in the surveys. For example, local amateur historians took part in the archaeology assessment and a local school will be involved in the next stage of the ecology assessment. A wealth of information about the site has been generated during the year. For example, Bronze Age burial cairns, 2500-4000 years old, have been identified near the site.
During the process of undertaking the EIA, Awel Aman Tawe kept all the statutory consultees informed of progress in order to ensure the project is being developed in as consultative and inclusive way as possible. The community has also been kept updated of developments at Energy Open Days which have been organised and updates have been given at presentations by our Energy Efficiency Advisors at community groups or when they visit households.
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 27 October 2015 16:12)