Summary of the Proposals
Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) is proposing to build a wind power station of 62 turbines up to 481ft high – much larger than any yet built in the UK – on the foothills of Pumlumon overlooking the Nant y Moch reservoir. The turbine tower sections, blades and generators would be imported via Swansea and brought in ‘abnormal load’ convoys via Cardigan and Penparcau using a new entrance at the Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre.
The huge site, in both Ceredigion and Powys, extends to 9 x 5 miles, straddling the Scenic Route from Ponterwyd to Tal y Bont and overlooking Hyddgen, the site of Owain Glyndŵr’s famous victory over English soldiers and Flemish mercenaries in 1401. The area is in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, once nominated as a National Park, and is rated as ‘Outstanding’ in the Countryside Council for Wales’ LANDMAP system. The beauty of the hills, lakes and forests in this area steeped in Welsh history is undisputed. Despite its inclusion by the Assembly Government within a ‘Strategic Search Area’ (SSA) for windfarms, there cannot be a site that deserves more protection and a proposal that requires more opposition.
The Planning Process
The project will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate’s National Infrastructure Directorate (PI) using new procedures to be followed by developers, local authorities and the public. The process is:
- Pre-application. Developer publishes proposals, carries out consultations, discusses consultation responses with PI.
- Submission of formal application to PI. After submission, PI has 28 days to consider whether or not the application meets the standards required to be formally accepted for Examination.
- Pre-examination. If the application is accepted, there is a period of around 3 months in which the public can register with the PI and provide a written summary of their views. Everyone who has registered and made a relevant representation will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting, run and chaired by an Inspector.
- Examination. (Up to 6 months). During this stage, people who have registered are invited to provide more details of their views in writing, and may arrange hearings. The PI considers all the evidence and representations submitted to it in writing and during hearings.
- Recommendation. The PI has 3 months to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.
- Decision. The Secretary of State has a further 3 months to make a decision.
What stage has the Proposal reached?
Technically, the application process, which started in 2010, is still at the first – pre-application – stage. However, the application is currently “on hold” following a developer announcement in March 2013.
Prior to that announcement, the proposal went through three published versions – in 2010, 2011 and 2012 – each of which necessitated a separate public consultation.
How you will be able to help if the developers submit an application
If it decides to proceed, SSE will produce a full and formal application to the PI backed by a detailed Environmental Statement. Only then will it be possible to consider the proposal in full, and only then will it be possible to make formal Objections to the PI, who will either issue a development consent order, or refuse to do so.
The PI has confirmed that it is particularly keen on full public consultation, in the form of public meetings and written submissions so it is important that general responses are made along the lines we suggest in the form. However, we stress that the second and most important stage will be when the final Environmental Statement is published to accompany the formal application to the PI – originally programmed for 1st February 2011, but since deferred several times, and currently on hold.
If you are not a member of Cambrian Mountains Society and would like to be added to our list of those who wish to be notified when the Environmental Statement is published, please sign up for updates. We will send an email at that time asking you to write to the PI with your objections.
More information about the proposal
Click here for more information about the proposal, its origins and development, the views of the Cambrian Mountains Society, and what the Society is doing to oppose the development.
The developers have not yet published their detailed proposals in a consolidated form, but you can deduce them if you read the following four PDF documents, downloadable from the SSE website:
- Summary of Development Proposal and Environmental Effects – June 2011;
- Summary of Changes to the proposed development arising since the previous consultation. June 2012
- Draft Non Technical Summary of the Environmental Statement (N.B. a large download, but not as large as the draft ES itself, which weighs in at 2 gigabytes)
- Proposed Infrastructure Amendments June 2012 – Preliminary Invironmental Information