back to archiveSociety objects to proposals for 110m turbines at Llys Dymper
The Snowdonia Society, Snowdonia National Park Authority and Campaign for National Parks have all objected to this scheme, which would significantly impact the setting, landscape & special qualities of Snowdonia.
The Snowdonia Society was recently invited to comment on planning application DC/0/38695 submitted to Conwy Council. The application relates to a proposal for a 23.5 MW wind farm in the Conwy valley just outside the National Park, involving 10 turbines with a maximum height of 110m.
The Snowdonia Society's remit is to protect, enhance and celebrate Snowdonia. Planning applications and proposals are monitored to ensure they take due account of the statutory purposes of the National Park designation to:
- Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area
- Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Park by the public
Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995, places a duty on "relevant agencies" to have regard to National Park purposes in carrying out their activities, whether those activities lie within or outside the designated areas.
Having carefully considered this new application the Snowdonia Society objected on the following basis:
Location outside the TAN 8 Strategic Search Areas
Although there has been a reduction in both the number and height of the turbines, 17 down to 10 and 126m down to 100/110m to blade tip respectively, from the previous application for the scheme (Application No 0/33772) which was withdrawn, the wind farm's capacity of 23.5MW means it falls just short of being described as a large windfarm (TAN8 states that a 25MW windfarm is large). Paragraph 2.13 of the TAN states:-
Most areas outside SSAs should remain free of large wind power schemes.
Local planning authorities may wish to consider the cumulative impact of small schemes in areas outside of the SSAs and establish suitable criteria for separation distances from each other and from the perimeter of existing wind power schemes or the SSAs. In these areas, there is a balance to be struck between the desirability of renewable energy and landscape protection. Whilst that balance should not result in severe restriction on the development of wind power capacity, there is a case for avoiding a situation where wind turbines are spread across the whole of a county. As a result, the Assembly Government would support local planning authorities in introducing local policies in their development plans that restrict almost all wind energy developments, larger than 5MW, to within SSAs and urban/industrial brownfield sites. It is acceptable in such circumstances that planning permission for developments over 5MW outside SSAs may be refused.
This scheme would be located outside the Strategic Search Area A centered on Clocaenog Forest and both the Snowdonia Society and the National Park Authority considered that there was insufficient justification to locate a development of this scale outside the SSA at this present time.
Views into and out of Snowdonia National Park
The proposal on its own and in combination with other proposed and existing sites has the potential to impact adversely on views out of and into Snowdonia National Park. This is supported by the photomontages accompanying the Environmental Statement, which it should be noted the National Park Authority was not consulted on.
The proposal would be visible from the highest peak in the Park, Snowdon, as well as significantly impacting on views from other peaks including Moel Siabod and Carnedd Llwyelyn. The impact of existing wind farms including Moel Maelogan is heightened by this new proposal, which increases the density of turbines visible. The views from Snowdon summit, in particular, are enjoyed by up to 350,000 visitors and residents every year - the cumulative effects of existing and proposed wind farms from this point begin to give the impression that Snowdonia is being 'fenced in'.
The turbines are visible from extensive areas of open access land, enjoyed by hill walkers and others. The sense of remoteness, solitude and wildness will undoubtedly be diminished by this proposal.
From outside the National Park, including the view points of Marial Gwyn and Moel Famau, the turbine blades appear directly in front of the Snowdonia peaks, impacting on the setting of the National Park.
This is a strong basis for objection, given that National Policy as set out in TAN 8 and Planning Policy Wales (2011) affords National Parks and AONBs "the highest status of protection from inappropriate developments, whether these lie within or outside the designated area".
Benefit or disbenefit to communities
The promoters of this scheme have promised benefits to nearby communities in the form of cash payments to community councils. However, planning applications should not be determined on the basis of promises made by the developer to channel a small proportion of the expected profits in a particular direction, but on the basis of the inherent acceptability of a scheme and its compliance with planning policies.
In the case of Llys Dymper, the promised benefits to certain community councils would be easily outweighed by losses to the tourism industry over a much wider area of North Wales likely to result from damage to the landscape which is its major asset.
For the reasons set out above, the Snowdonia Society has urged Conwy County Borough Council to object to the application submitted by Windpower Wales Group plc.
If Snowdonia Society members would like to view a copy of the planning application and environmental statements, these are available at our office at Caban (call us on 01286 685498). We are also happy to send members a copy of the objection letter submitted to Conwy Council.
For further information contact Sarah on 01286 685498 or firstname.lastname@example.org