Note that this information is correct as at 24th September. We are still waiting for the determination of the remaining conditions.
In March, well after Turbine 5 was erected, Powys County Council approved several pre-development conditions including CONDITION 29, Construction Traffic Management Plan. We wrote to Powys planners suggesting that approving these conditions was probably unlawful because the developer’s submitted plans were outside the permitted development.
In August Powys planners started to discharge more pre-development conditions. Two of these decisions are, in our opinion, illogical.
CONDITION 25, Access Management Plan This is supposed to be the developer’s commitment to safe access to Public Rights of Way during construction and operation of the wind farm.
Before the wind farm went to the Planning Committee in 2017, Countryside Services observed that Turbine 2 was only 110m from the Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT), not even safe fall over distance, but withdrew their holding objection on the understanding that the wind turbines would be located at least 200m from the BOAT, bridleway and alternative routes.
The documents submitted to discharge Condition 25 include plans for works in new locations and show that the siting of wind turbines is still too close to the BOAT, all of which is in breach of CONDITION 8, Micrositing and CONDITION 9, Micrositing Protocol. Nevertheless, the delegated report states:
“In respect of permissive routes and the distances to public rights of way including bridleways, advice provided by Countryside Services confirms that the separation distances between a turbine and a public right of way as previously requested by Officers was based on guidelines from the British Horse Society and is not legally binding. As these proposed permissive routes across the site are within the control of the developer and landowners, it is for them to ensure that these routes are in an appropriate condition for their intended use and their proximity to any turbines. The alternative routes that are being provided by the developer are of a permissive nature and therefore aforementioned guidelines would not be applicable.
The Planning Officer arrived at the decision to approve CONDITION 25 because “Officers are satisfied that the discharge of condition application relates only to the consented development”.
It is disappointing, but unsurprising, that the delegated report does not consider the safety of users of Open Access on the Common.
CONDITION 48, Community Liaison The Officer’s delegated report states that the developer has been reluctant to engage previously because of the ongoing legal challenge but going forward they will do so! The problem with the Planning Officer accepting this explanation is that CPRW’s legal challenge was lodged against the Welsh Ministers not against Hendy Wind Farm and after works had commenced. We do not expect the developer to improve their public relations.
REFUSED – CONDITION 31 However, it is welcome that Powys have refused CONDITION 31, highway works for access, which contained the hugely controversial plans to create a turning area for abnormal indivisible loads (transport vehicles for large turbine parts) on the Common.
REFUSED – CONDITION 14 Powys have also refused CONDITION 14, which requires details of the substation, on the grounds of not enough information.
NON MATERIAL AMENDMENTS The developer continues to play the planning system with more Non Material Amendments (NMA) to conditions. None of these have been decided except NMA CONDITION 7 which has been REFUSED. NMA CONDITION 7 attempted to alter the need to remove a wind turbine in event of failing to produce electricity for 6 months to wording which only allowed this once the wind farm was operational. It is very welcome that PCC has decided to rely on the original wording of the condition for the following reason:
“Whilst the Minister’s decision does not cite reasons for the imposition of individual conditions, on reviewing similar planning permissions and relevant planning guidance, it is understood that the imposition of Condition 7 seeks to ensure that the impacts associated with the wind turbine development including the landscape and visual impact is offset by the developments ability to generate a source of renewable energy which is thereafter exported to the national grid.”
WAITING FOR DETERMINATION Conditions that go to the heart of the permission such as the micrositing protocol, CEMP and four ecological conditions are still waiting to be determined.
This leaves us with 3 pre development conditions in limbo:
CONDITION 27 Engineering details A483, A44 and lane to Pye Corner, which Hendy claim is superseded but they have not put in an application to PCC to address what is effectively a breach of this condition.
CONDITION 49, Commons Consent which, up until now, has not been expedient to enforce.
CONDITION 50, Grid connection permissions if required. The grid connection is not included in the wind farm permission and Western Power Distribution consider it commercially sensitive to reveal their plans, so we have to wait and see.
Where we are now
B&R CPRW continue to try to hold PCC to account over the discharge of conditions. We are also urgently trying to establish what PCC expects from the developer.
T5 is erected but unauthorised.
PCC refusal of NMA C7 means that Hendy Wind Farm must now submit a plan to PCC for removal of the wind turbine.
The developer has no authorised AIL access for the Northern track across the common.
The developer still has permission to bring AILs in via Pye Corner but to date all their submitted plans rely on a northern entrance off the A44.
C10 Turbine colour
C15 Permanent outdoor lighting
C24 Water Monitoring Protocol
C25 Public Rights of Way Access Management Plan
C26 Highways Remediation Plan
C29 Construction Traffic Management Plan
C30 Rights to land
C42 Archaeology Written Scheme of Investigation
C44 Archaeology: name of archaeologist
C46 TV Interference Scheme
C48 Community Liaison Scheme
C51 Wind Turbine Noise: approved consultant.
C14 Substation: detailed design
C31 Highway works for access
C9 Micrositing Protocol
C21 Construction Ecological Management Plan (CEMP)
C23 Surface Water Management Plan
C38 Protected Species Protection Plan
C39 Bat Protection Plan
C40 Habitat Enhancement and Management Plan
C41 Ecological Monitoring Plan (NRW want further info)
C7 Removal of turbine if fails to produce electricity
NMA Awaiting determination
C28 AIL Transport Management Plan (WG Highways want further info)
C32 Construction details for lane to Pye Corner
C35 Wheel washing facility
C43 Archaeology: pre development survey
C27 Engineering details A483, A44 and lane to Pye Corner
C49 Common land consent
C50 Planning permission, as required, for all stages of grid connection