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Green light given for turbines

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Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 10.04.13PERMISSION was granted for the erection of two 100m wind turbines on land near Rhydcymerau, Llandeilo on Tuesday (Feb 16) in spite of strong local opposition.

Following a site visit, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Planning Committee voted 8-4 in favour of following officer recommendations and approving the application.

A number of questions had been raised about the development, including the visual impact on the Teifi Valley Special Landscape Area (SLA) and the increase of traffic and abnormal loads in the area during the construction phase.

Over 200 letters were received by the council – the majority from local residents – objecting to the turbines. In the planning officer’s report it was noted that, although the development was recommended for approval, the Landscape Officer advised that ‘the location and scale of the turbine model, and the predicted magnitude of effect in relation to the sensitivity of the receiving landscape, are such that the significance of impacts to landscape character, or areas designated for their landscape value, are considered to represent a significant challenge to the relevant policy objectives of the Carmarthenshire County Council LDP [December 2014].

‘Impacts are of a significance to constitute a justifiable reason for refusal on the grounds of impacts to landscape character. The Lands cape Officer considers that the proposal will have an unacceptable and adverse impact upon landscape character, setting and appearance of the area and surrounding landscape through scale, size and siting.

However, the officers’ recommendation was that the benefits in renewable energy production would ‘outweigh the only unacceptable impact identified in the appraisal i.e. the impact upon the character of the Teifi valley and the locally designated Teifi valley SLA.’

Introducing the application, Development ManagerJulian Edwards said that the swept path analysis showed that transporting the turbine blades to the site ‘will involve overrun onto third party land’ – which is owned by CCC, and that a legal advice notice had been served to the council as the interested party.

Mr Edwards acknowledged the visual impact on the SLA, but pointed out that the nearest dwelling not involved with the development was 790m away, and there was not enough visual impact on nearby dwellings to constitute reason for refusal.

Mr Edwards added that the site – a mixture of improved and semi-improved pasture and marsh – was not thought to pose a barrier to the development, according to the council’s ecological officer and Natural Resources Wales.

The increased traffic, an estimated 2,500 journeys during the eight month construction period half of which would be carrying stone and concrete for the bases, was acceptable on the basis that the construction period was short compared to the 25-year predicted lifespan of the site.

Mr Edwards said that the proposal was recommended for approval on the basis that the energy produced, which was potentially enough to power 2,500 homes, outweighed the visual impact.

Speaking against the development, local resident Mr Marinege said that locals were only opposed to ‘very large turbines’ and suggested that the elevated location of the site would make the turbines more prominent on the skyline. He claimed that smaller turbines had been rejected for this reason in similar locations.

Other reasons Mr Marinege gave for objecting included uncertainty over the route for the grid connection, damage to habitat created by the new track, and increased surface water runoff from the concrete bases. He closed by saying that the turbines would be close to the height of the Meridian Towers in Swansea – Wales’ tallest building, and claiming that the application ‘trashes’ planning policy.

Local business owner Sam Cooke also spoke out against the development, claiming that she would be unable to use a main road for her horse-riding treks because the distance from the turbine was less than the minimum permitted.

“The question is; our investment we brought to Wales – will that be collateral damage?” she asked.

“We use local businesses, but will not be able to do so to the same level if this is passed.”

Project Manager Justin Reid said that the company had worked closely with council officers. He pointed out that the turbines were among the shortest it was possible to get for commercial projects.

Responding to Ms Cooke, Mr Reid said that if the safety of horse riders was put at risk by turbines this would have been incorporated in turbine planning policy, and claimed that no rider had ever been injured as a result of turbines.

Responding to claims that these two turbines would be the basis for a much larger development, Mr Reid said that there was only enough demand in the local grid to support two turbines.

Local County Councillor Ieuan Davies suggested that the community benefits from the turbines would go to Llansawel, 6 miles further away from the site than Llanybydder.

Councillor Peter Cooper said that if the turbines were closer to dwellings that would be ‘something we could look at.’ However, he added that he believed solar panel sites and turbines were ‘the way forward in the future’ and proposed that the officers’ recommendation be accepted.

However, Councillor Joy Williams questioned the impact on the Teifi Valley SLA: “I don’t think it is acceptable to do this to the local countryside,” she added.

Councillor Kevin Madge pointed out that there were 16 140m turbines in the Amman Valley, and he could see five of them from his house at any time: “The oil issue is a problem for the future – we’ve all got to take the pain as far as this is concerned,” he added.

Cllr Madge suggested that a condition for allowing the plans should be that Llanybydder received some of the community benefits, but Chair of the Planning Committee Councillor Alun Lenny pointed out that this was not a material planning concern.

Cllr Ken Howell pointed out that two community councils and 200 local residents had opposed the plans: “If we ignore the views of the community councils, we are belittling them,” he added.

Cllr Howell proposed that any decision should be deferred until the committee received Supplementary Planning Guidelines for wind turbines, and the Landscape Capacity Study, which he said were overdue by around five months. This was seconded by Councillor Winston Lemon.

Mr Edwards said that the Supplementary Planning Guidance ‘doesn’t rewrite’ the policy, although he granted that it might make certain areas clearer.

He also recommended that a ‘dry run’ with a turbine blade – designed to prove that getting the turbines to the site was feasible – should be part of the overall traffic plan, rather than a condition of approval.

Cllr Howell’s amendment was defeated, and the committee voted to approve the plans.

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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