It is with great sadness that we have to share the appalling news that, despite all our efforts, and your magnificent and generous support, Hendy Wind Farm has been approved, on 25th October, by Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs.
The decision completely disregards the landscape and heritage of Powys and the views of Powys people. After their site visit to Llandegley Rhos, the site of the proposed turbines, all but one of the Powys Planning Committee voted to refuse permission to the wind farm on account of the spectacular landscape and heritage of the site.
The developer’s appeal against this decision was heard at Inquiry in March this year. The Inspector completed his report on 11 May. In this 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 emphasized 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
In her decision Lesley Griffiths has chosen to disagree both with her appointed Planning Inspector and with the Powys Planning Committee. Her only justification for rejecting the Inspector’s findings is to say the wind farm serves the ‘national interest’ and that Llandegley Rhos is not a ‘designated landscape’.
CPRW Brecon & Radnor branch argued hard for designation of some of our best landscapes in keeping with other Welsh counties, during the LDP examination. But we were told there was no need for this because all Powys landscape is special and our LDP’s vision is to protect and enhance the county’s outstanding landscapes and historic environment for future generations.
The Inspector could not have been clearer about the balance of harms v benefits. In the Inspector’s words ‘…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 mattes significantly outweigh the identified benefits.’
‘In reaching my recommendation I have taken into account the duty to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, under Section 3 of the Well-Bring of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. As I have reached the conclusion that the harm which would be 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 Act.’
The Cabinet Secretary apparently doesn’t appear to share the Inspector’s concern for our economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being.
The CPRW Brecon and Radnor Branch Committee is considering options for continuing the fight and would welcome your support.
The decision documents are available below.