Bryn Llywleyn Wind Turbine Development Public Inquiry

Wales, UK

Gillespies’ landscape planners provided expert witness services at the Public Inquiry to determine if further wind turbine development could take place in an area identified by the Welsh government as a Strategic Search Area (SSA).

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The Welsh Housing and Regeneration Minister Carl Sargeant dismissed an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a 21-turbine wind farm in the open countryside, despite the area being identified by the Welsh government as an SSA (land considered to be broadly suitable for large-scale wind development).

Carmarthenshire County Council had refused proposals for the Bryn Llywelyn development, between Lampeter and Carmarthen, in 2010. The scheme would have had a footprint of 1,397 hectares with 21 turbines. The developer appealed the decision and a 13-day inquiry into the application was overseen by the Planning Inspector in 2013.

The Planning Inspector concluded at Inquiry that while the development would contribute to the UK’s target of 15% energy from renewable sources by 2020, and that the site was contained in a Strategic Search Area for renewables development, not all such land was environmentally suitable for major windpower proposals, and that the site in question should be preserved as a “special place”. The Inspector also considered that the proposals would harm the setting of several Bronze Age Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs).

The Welsh housing and regeneration minister concurred with the Planning Inspector’s decision and dismissed the appeal. Acting as an Expert Witness on landscape matters for Carmarthenshire County Council, Gillespies presented an assessment of the landscape concerned and concluded that the development would be very harmful to the perception of Mynydd Llanllwni as a wild, empty and quiet landscape and to the value placed on it by local people and visitors alike.