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Hendy Windfarm – Update and Appeal

Hendy Windfarm – Update and Appeal

Friday 21 December 2018
CPRW Brecon & Radnor branch were successful in gaining an Injunction against further concreting works on Monday December 17th from the Cardiff High Court. We were bitterly disappointed to see this discharged yesterday 20th December in the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre. However the ‘pour’ has now been postponed until January 3rd as the Breedon Quarry is closed.

We are actively considering issuing a Judicial Review if Powys County Council agree that the pour can proceed. Central CPRW are fully behind such action and their instant response (to an urgent telephone call from the court yesterday!) has been magnificent.

Meanwhile the main action, the Section 288 Appeal against Lesley Griffiths’ incomprehensible decision to ignore Powys County Council, the just-approved Powys LDP, and the Inspector’s recommendation to reject the Developer’s appeal, will proceed at all possible speed.

The legal actions are consuming huge amounts of our time, but more worryingly huge amounts of money.

Please continue to give generously to save the Llandegley Rhos!

Many thanks, and Best Wishes to all at this Christmas Festival Season.

Jonathan Colchester – Chair B&R CPRW


Appeal Account Details: EVERY LITTLE HELPS!

B&R Branch CPRW AC 29455868 Lloyds Bank SC 30-94-99

CPRW Is a Registered Charity No 239899 – If you are a UK taxpayer, please consider filling out the gift aid form HERE. This will add 25% to your donation at no cost to you.

If paying by cheque, please make it out to “CPRW – Brecon & Radnor”. Cheques and gift aid forms should be sent to Ann Payne, Glanffrwd, Llanfihangel Talyllin, Brecon, LD3 7TL.

GIFT AID FORM AVAILABLE HERE

Thank you.

Hendy Windfarm – Further News

Hendy Windfarm – Further News

On Friday 14th December CPRW B&R have issued to the courts in Cardiff an urgent claim for interim stay which, if successful, will require the developer to cease all work on site until the s288 challenge to the Minister’s decision is heard by the courts. We are hoping to have a decision on this by the middle of next week and we will advise as soon as we have news. Contravention of an order for interim relief is contempt of court for which the defendant can be imprisoned, fined or have assets sequestrated.

Holly Ann Hobbs has just announced late Friday afternoon that while the developer is permitted to install steel rods, a Temporary Stop Notice will be issued if he attempts any further work beyond the installation of the rods, such as the concrete pour.

We are disappointed that the Temporary Stop Notice has not been issued with immediate effect and unable to understand why this developer has been offered any further concessions at all.

We will have to remain very vigilant. This developer has already demonstrated his contempt for planning law and is unlikely to change his behaviour now.

HENDY WIND FARM DISGRACE

HENDY WIND FARM DISGRACE

CPRW Brecon and Radnor Branch: Communication to Membership

As you are all well aware, and many of you have already generously contributed towards the fund for legal fees for this action, CPRW B&R served papers on 6 December on Welsh Government and Interested Parties for a Section 288 Review of the Minister, Lesley Griffiths’, incomprehensible decision to allow the Hendy Wind Farm development.

As you are also well aware this challenge is being overtaken by events.

The construction work at Hendy/Llandegley Rhos began on 20th November immediately after submission of applications to discharge conditions, and continues at breakneck speed, at nights and at weekends, with no regard for permitted hours of work. The developers are evidently determined to erect one turbine before the end of January in order, it seems, to be eligible for government subsidy.

Works have taken place on the Llandegley Rhos common and more are proposed for which no planning consent has been applied for or obtained. Construction teams have been pile driving on the wind farm site and concrete is now arriving on site for the first turbine base.

This work is being carried out without any of the pre-commencement planning conditions being discharged. These conditions are all binding and the Minister’s consent is contingent upon the conditions being satisfied in full and discharged.

While heroic demonstrators at the site have done their best to delay these works on common land, we have made repeated representations to Powys County Council to enforce a halt to these illegal works without any tangible result. On 6th December Powys informed residents that the developer had been ‘advised to stop’ but that no enforcement notice had been issued. Since then the council have professed themselves unable to get ‘evidence of unacceptable harm’ – which Planning Officers maintain to be a requirement for enforcement action.

We have set out that the Council has applied the wrong tests re enforcement action and has misinterpreted material points of law to reach their decision not to enforce against construction works, which are of themselves unlawful because they have not followed approved plans, and are being undertaken without discharge of pre-commencement conditions.

We have this morning served on the Council a pre-action protocol letter, addressing the legalities of the Council’s position on enforcement. In it we demand that effective enforcement action is undertaken by the end of this week or that we will forthwith issue proceedings against them for a judicial review of the enforcement function.

It seems that the developers, Powys County Council and the Welsh Government consider they have no need to heed or uphold the law. With your help we are going to make them feel the full force of it.

Jonathan Colchester – Chair B&R CPRW

Notorious Hendy Windfarm Decision Before the Welsh Assembly Tuesday 20th November

Notorious Hendy Windfarm Decision Before the Welsh Assembly Tuesday 20th November

Dear All,

For urgent action! Please pass on this urgent message on, and don’t forget to write in yourself! Thank you.

This just came to our attention last night: Lesley Giffiths’ decision to approve the Hendy Wind Farm is to be challenged by an amendment in Welsh Assembly Plenary session next Tuesday (20 November). This just underlines the importance of her decision to flout the Planning System and Local Democracy. See how you can help below.

With National CPRW’s help, the Brecon and Radnor Branch, often co-operating with Montgomery Branch, has

  • Raised public awareness of the stealthy introduction of huge wind and solar “search areas” all over the wildest and most beautiful parts of Powys into the LDP;
  • Fought to improve the Powys LDP at the Inspector’s Examination with the help of a barrister, resulting in abandonment of all wind and some solar “search areas”;
  • Worked with local residents to fight against Hendy Wind Farm which application was eventually turned down by Powys Planning Committee;
  • Raised awareness of the Developer’s Appeal against the Powys refusal;
  • Held a Starling-Watch day to bring crowds to see the vast starling murmurations settle to roost on Llandegley Rhos, the Hendy Wind farm site;
  • Engaged a barrister and landscape consultant and provided our own witnesses throughout the two weeks of the Inspector’s Public Inquiry.

The Planning Inspector recommended the Appeal against refusal of the Hendy Wind Farm be dismissed because the landscape and ancient monuments of Llandegley Rhos outweighed any benefits of the 7 turbine Wind Farm.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister of Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs summarily over-ruled him. If this decision stands, no Welsh landscape outside National Parks and Designated Areas is safe from large-scale industrialisation however much it is valued by Welsh people. Please help CPRW do all we can to stop it.

All this has cost a huge amount of time, energy and emotional resource for us and our many supporters. The planning process has also cost the public purse dearly. Please tell our politicians what you think and ask for their support.

HENDY WIND FARM DECISION: HOW YOU CAN HELP
On Tuesday 20th November there is an opportunity to put pressure on the Welsh Government concerning Lesley Griffith’s decision to overrule the Planning Inspector’s dismissal of the Hendy Wind Farm Appeal following the vote by Powys County Council Planning Committee to refuse the application in September 2017.

The Senedd is holding a Plenary session on Tuesday 20th November at 13.30pm.

Item No. 9 is a 60 min debate: ‘How to achieve a low carbon energy system for Wales’.

Amendment 3 to this debate has been tabled by Darren Miller (Clwyd West) calling on the Welsh Assembly:
to reconsider Lesley Griffith’s decision to allow the Hendy Wind Farm application against the decisions of both the Powys County Council Planning Committee and the Planning Inspectorate.”

Please send an e-mail to Brecon and Radnor A. M. Kirsty Williams, who rightly objected to this development at the planning stage:
kirsty.williams@assembly.wales or correspondence.kirsty.williams@gov.wales.

Ask her to vote for this amendment in the Senedd on Tuesday and to stand by her original objection to the Hendy Windfarm development. Her vote is key in this matter.

She is keeping the balance of power for the minority Labour government, who will be whipping their members on this amendment.

Kirsty has the opportunity either to vote in the interests of her constituents and to stand up for local democracy and the legitimacy of the Powys LDP, or to take the Labour Party whip to support Lesley Griffith’s unprecedented decision, which as it stands, creates open season on development anywhere in Wales by setting the precedent of overruling both the Planning Inspectorate and local planning policy thereby undermining the democratic process of the planning system.

We have four more A.M’s representing us for Mid-Wales. They should also be lobbied. Please write to:

neil.hamilton@assembly.wales
eluned.morgan@assembly.wales
joyce.watson@assembly.wales
helenmary.jones@assembly.wales

You could also write to AMs in other parts of Wales – this decision sets a precedent for the whole Welsh Countryside.

Thank you.

Llandegley Rocks – the landscape we are fighting for
Hendy Wind Farm – Minister’s Decision

Hendy Wind Farm – Minister’s Decision

Dear Member,

Despite all our efforts, and your magnificent and generous support,

Welsh Government Cabinet Minister for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has approved Hendy Wind Farm at Llandegley Rhos.

In her decision released on 25/10/18, she has chosen to disagree with her appointed Planning Inspector, Hywel Wyn Jones, whose report following the March 2018 Public Inquiry was delivered on 11/5/18.

In his carefully argued 115 page report, Planning Inspector Hywel Jones set out the urgent need for renewable energy but concluded that the harm to landscape and historic assets on this particular site outweighed the benefits. He emphasised that he was assessing the proposal in the light of the Welsh Well-being of Future Generations Act and the recently adopted Powys Local Development Plan. From the Inspector’s report:

“…the extent of harm to the landscape and historic assets leads me to conclude that the scheme fails to strike an appropriate balance between promoting renewable energy projects and protecting these interests as sought by national policy. It follows that, when taken together, the combined harm to landscape and heritage matters significantly outweigh the identified benefits.”

 “As I have reached the conclusion that the harms caused by the development would clearly outweigh its benefits I consider that it fails to accord with the wide reaching aims and objectives of the WBFG [Well-Being of Future Generations] Act.”

No attempt had been made to justify the rejection of the Inspector’s findings beyond the need to serve the ‘national interest’.

This is a disgraceful decision and your committee will shortly inform you of our collective response.

We will fight on, including considering legal options.

I am very sorry to have to give you this dire and troubling news.

Jonathan Colchester

CPRW Brecon & Radnor Branch Chairman

 

Documents: Inspector’s Report

Hendy Wind Farm Limited – Welsh Ministers decision letter

 

Update: Petition to Welsh Assembly to Control Environmental Impacts of Intensive Poultry Units

Update: Petition to Welsh Assembly to Control Environmental Impacts of Intensive Poultry Units

On 22nd May, our petition was handed in to the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee, having attracted 4,567 signatures, mostly from Wales and neighbouring English border counties.

We very much welcomed the help and support, both drafting the petition and collecting signatures, of a number of environmental NGOs. These included the Wildlife Trusts, in particular the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, Plantlife, the Woodland Trust, Countryside Restoration Trust, Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries, the Angling Trust/Fish Legal among others as well as a number of high-profile environmental campaigners.

The petition has been mentioned in the local press, on radio and online and seems to have focussed some much needed political attention on the urgent problems surrounding these developments. To see how the debate is evolving, please see the following links:
• 30th April: Letter from Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary, to David Rowlands, Chair of the Petitions Committee;
• 30th May: CPRW B&R to David Rowlands, petition evidence provided in response to Lesley Griffiths letter of 30 April;
• 5th June: Senedd TV Petitions Committee debate and minutes of the debate;
• 12th June: Letter from Welsh Government’s Chief Planning Officer to County Council Heads of Planning.

The Chief Planning Officer’s letter sets out the need to ‘exercise particular care’ when considering applications close to sensitive environmental areas or to homes and schools, and also the need to consider cumulative impacts. While this is most welcome, the letter only addresses the range of problems associated with these applications in very general terms. It remains to be seen whether it has an impact on planning decisions.

During the continued consideration of our petition, we hope to see:
• acknowledgement of the multiple failures in the determination of these applications;
• stricter control of impact on the non-designated natural environment, including ancient woodland;
• clear guidance on the division of responsibility between NRW and determining LPAs;
• NRW acting up to its responsibility to reverse the decline in biodiversity by maintaining objections where negative impacts are likely;
• an end to reliance on conditions which LPAs have no realistic means of effectively enforcing.
• development of guidance on human health issues including proximity to residents;
• a biosecurity policy for minimum separation of intensive poultry developments according to type;
• clear guidance on how LPA decision-making must address cumulative impacts of multiple intensive livestock units on the natural environment and residential amenity;
• Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales address the issue of the lack of effective regulation of intensive poultry units for fewer than 40 thousand birds;
• development of effective regulation to address diffuse agricultural pollution, along the lines of that in place in England and Scotland;
• funding of research to improve the evidence base for assessing the true environmental impacts of intensive livestock farming;
• A moratorium on approval of applications to allow assessment of the cumulative environmental impacts of IPUs already existing – see Wales Environment Link position statement.

Thank you for your support.

We will be continuing to campaign!

Hendy Appeal Inquiry, Fundraising Events and Llandegley Starlings

Hendy Appeal Inquiry, Fundraising Events and Llandegley Starlings

Hendy Appeal Inquiry
The CPRW Brecon and Radnor evidence for the Hendy Appeal Inquiry was submitted on Tuesday 13th February to meet the midnight deadline. The branch evidence consists of a Proof of Evidence on impacts on landscape and heritage, prepared by Michelle Bolger, Landscape Consultant, and our evidence submissions on other matters. These include concerns regarding the developer’s case under the headings of ecology, ornithology (including the Llandegley starlings), hydrology, socio-economic issues and tourism, including outdoor tourism, local amenity, and impacts on Llandegley Rhos Common and the adjacent inclosed Common Land.

You can view all CPRW Brecon & Radnor Branch submissions via this link.

The Appeal website is found on this link. All evidence documents submitted by the developers, Powys and ourselves will be uploaded to this site.

Details of the Inquiry Hearing itself are as follows:

Tuesday 13th to Friday 17th and Tuesday 20th March, with a possible extra day on Wednesday 21st.
Venue: Pavillion, Spa Rd, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 5EY. (Map)
The Inspector is Hywel Wyn Jones.

We know there is a great deal of public interest in this appeal and very much hope that members of the public will attend the inquiry to demonstrate the degree of local concern. If you are attending you may find it useful to download any key documents and plans from the planning website which are likely to be referred to during proceedings. The Inspector has indicated that the programme for the Inquiry is likely to be topic based, with Powys’s reasons for refusal, i.e. impacts on landscape, heritage and rights of way, coming before other matters raised by the branch, but the final programme will be agreed at the opening of the Inquiry.

If you are intending to speak at the Inquiry, bear in mind that the Inspector has already received all the objections submitted to Powys before determination as well as all objections submitted last autumn. There is no need to reiterate objections already made, or repeat what another speaker has said, and as time is tight the Inspector will really appreciate speakers being brief, to the point and bringing up new issues only. From advice on fighting appeals produced by Friends of the Peak District:

Speaking at an inquiry – Most people appearing at an inquiry will do so as members of the public, rather than having rule 6 party status. There are some key things to remember.

  • Think carefully about what you want to say, pick out the key elements of your objection to the development. It is best to read out a written statement.
  • If you are part of group, decide who would be best presenting the evidence and answering questions during cross-examination. The inspector will appreciate the time this saves.
  • If you are working with other groups, it is a good idea to form a partnership or coalition, and split the evidence according to the issue, expertise and knowledge. Don’t all give the same evidence – although you should make clear you support everything each other says. This will look organised and professional.
  • It is vital that you are there at the beginning of the inquiry as the inspector will run through the schedule and ask who would like to speak. If you miss this, you may not be able to speak at the inquiry. Tell the inspector if you can’t attend the whole inquiry, so that they can try to re-arrange the schedule to include you.

Two more things:

Fundraising events at Bledffa: 11th March

  • 2-4pm Appalachian Step Dancing Workshop (limited places) with tuition and live music from my Old Time Band “Little Hoedown”
  • 7.30pm concert with choice local musicians – Black Mountain Boy, Little Hoedown, Rose Westrip Band plus a few more, and maybe a poet.

Tickets £10 for the workshop bookable from Louise on 01982 551116, and £5 for the evening concert from 01544 350407, 01982 551116, or 01547 528315.

Llandegley Starlings
Excellent footage of a Starling Murmuration at Llandegley has been uploaded to YouTube, see here . The roost is now listed on the Starlings in the UK Roost Map and we’ve also heard that a film crew were on site last weekend to gather footage for use in a TV wildlife documentary.

Stay warm, and have a Happy St David’s Day!

Best wishes

Margaret Tregear
CPRW Brecon & Radnor Committee

Petition To Welsh Assembly For Better Regulation Of The Intensive Poultry Farming Industry In Wales

Petition To Welsh Assembly For Better Regulation Of The Intensive Poultry Farming Industry In Wales

CPRW Brecon & Radnor branch has made a petition to the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee about better regulation of the Intensive Poultry Farming Industry in Wales to protect the environment for future generations. Please follow this link to see and SIGN THE PETITION.

Petitioning the Assembly is one of the most direct ways in which members of the public can raise matters of concern or suggest new policies and different ways of doing things. If we can collect 5,000 signatures or more, the Petitions Committee will automatically consider requesting a plenary debate – where all 60 Assembly Members will be able to discuss the issue.

We have tried to discuss the risks with Powys Planning Authority and done our best to achieve better regulation via the emerging Powys LDP but, so far, the rate of approval has not changed and the Council have rejected the idea of a proper policy to provide environmental protection and clarity for all parties.

Our data about applications to Powys Planning Department for Intensive Poultry Units shows that there have been 99 APPLICATIONS in the last 30 months with ONLY ONE refused. We produced an interactive map of all Powys applications known to us which can be freely accessed with a lot more information on our website. There are now (including units in planning) 7 million chickens in Powys at any one time.

Free-range egg developments, which make up 72 of the 99 applications, are usually too small to require an NRW permit (threshold 40,000 birds) and yet, according to research by NRW to be published very soon, they are even more environmentally damaging than the larger broiler units.

Ammonia concentrations and nitrogen deposition in much of the Powys countryside are now surpassing the critical levels for some rare lower plant species to survive but yet more intensive farms are being crammed into saturated areas. Our steep valleys and high rainfall mean that effluents and manure are running off into the rivers. Chicken farms are being approved regardless of inappropriate sites near sensitive rivers and ancient woodlands, inadequate range-sizes, proximity to neighbours and the cumulative impacts they will have with all the nearby chicken sheds.

The Brecon & Radnor Branch joins with the Montgomery Branch to ask you to PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION and publicize it as widely as you can in your own area to help make this industry safer and more sustainable for all of our Welsh countryside.

Thank you.

Powys LDP Update & Fundraiser Concert for Hendy Appeal

Powys LDP Update & Fundraiser Concert for Hendy Appeal

Happy New Year 2018!

Liven up bleak January with two very important dates for the diary.

1. Powys Local Development Plan – Renewable Energy Hearing Session 19:

Please put next Wednesday 10th January in the diary and come along if you possibly can to what is likely to be the final Hearing Session of the LDP. The Inspector has decided that the Council’s renewable energy policy is not yet fit for purpose and has called this very important Hearing Session to discuss potential changes to draft policy.

This is probably our last opportunity to influence the final LDP and our last opportunity to demonstrate the public concern about the Council’s Renewable Energy policy to the Inspector. Please be there if at all possible – it is critically important that the Inspector understands how important this area of policy is to local residents.

The hearing is on 10th January 2018, next Wednesday, and will begin at 10.00 a.m. The venue is the Media Resource Centre (MRC Wales Ltd.), Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 6AH. (Media Centre location map)

The Inspector’s Agenda and participants’ Hearing Session statements are found on the LDP Examination website.

Both Powys branches of CPRW are participants in the hearing session, supported by planning barrister Tina Douglass. Njord Wind Developments (the company behind the Bryn Blaen and Hendy Wind Farms), RES (Renewable Energy Systems) and RenewableUK Cymru are also participants. A substantial public presence is essential.

If possible, please let the Programme Officer, Tracey Smith, know if you intend to attend: Email: tracey.smith@powys.gov.uk; Tel: 07919396609

2. Fundraiser concert for Hendy Appeal – 26th January 8pm at Knighton Community Centre Bar – Please see attached poster for full details

This concert is held in support of our fight against the Hendy Wind Farm on Llandegley Rhos near Penybont. This should be a very enjoyable evening and at the same time you will be helping to see off this serious threat to an iconic Radnorshire landscape.

‘It’s unusual to find someone who’s as good a songwriter as an instrumentalist. Vera van Heeringen is that person. A consummate guitarist, highly acclaimed by her contemporaries, she brings the instrument to life in way that is entirely her own. Vera also writes tunes and songs which deliver straight to – and from – the heart. Firmly rooted in Transatlantic traditions, her original contemporary Americana showcases both these skills: firebrand instrumental virtuosity and poignant, emotionally astute songwriting.

An early starter, raised in the bluegrass scene in her native Holland, Vera has long been recognised for her elegant yet gutsy guitar style – a skill which transposes to pretty much anything with strings! A musician with integrity and style in equal measure. In 2015, Vera released her second album, Proper Brew, which features a roll call of top-drawer musicians who share her musical aesthetic, and hold her in high esteem – amongst them Tim O’Brien, Dirk Powell, Rayna Gellert and Kris Drever. Vera’s third album is imminent.

Her live performances are intimate, understated affairs, allowing the music to speak for itself. Stripped back, potent, and full of groove. Outstanding flatpicking, fulsome fiddle playing, heartbreaking lyrics, and assured natural vocal tone and driving tunes are all integral to the show.

Currently Vera tours with a watertight acoustic trio featuring harmony king Dave Luke on guitar, vocals and mandolin and double-bass stalwart Andy Seward.’

We are very much hoping for a substantial turnout at both these events. Please copy this link and forward to anyone who might be interested in the Hearing and/or the Concert.

Thank you.

Margaret

Powys Local Development Plan – Additional Hearing Session 10th January 2018

Powys Local Development Plan – Additional Hearing Session 10th January 2018

The Powys Local Development Plan is still heading towards the finish line. The Inspector, Nicola Gulley, has decided that a further public Hearing Session is needed to look again at renewable energy policy.

The hearing is on 10th January 2018 and will begin at 10.00 a.m. The venue is the Media Resource Centre (MRC Wales Ltd.), Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 6AH. Media Centre map.

The agenda for the session can be found on the LDP Examination website.

Representations to the Matters Arising Changes public consultation can be found on this link and hearing session statements by the participants will be uploaded to the hearing website sometime after the 15th December.

CPRW Brecon & Radnor Branch and CPRW Montgomeryshire will be participants in the hearing session with the legal support of planning barrister Tina Douglass.

Also participating are several representatives of the renewables industry.

Please put 10th January 2018 in your diaries and please do come along to the hearing session if you possibly can. Unless you are already registered as a participant, you may only spectate but a big public turnout to the Hearing Session would demonstrate to the Inspector the continuing degree of public concern about this area of planning policy. This may well be the last opportunity for any public involvement in the LDP.

If possible, please let the Programme Officer, Tracey Smith, know if you intend to attend:  Email: tracey.smith@Powys.gov.uk; Tel: 07919 396609

In the meantime wishing you all a very happy, and warm, Christmas,

Margaret Tregear
CPRW Brecon & Radnor Committee