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Wind Farms (Mid Wales)

Volume 512: debated on Wednesday 30 June 2010

The Humble Petition of Robert A Robinson,


that the Communities of Mid Wales (in particular Welshpool, Newtown, Guilsfield and Montgomery) are deeply concerned about the effect of the transportation of materials for the building of wind farms in Mid Wales and in particular the effects on the towns mentioned over a sustained period.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will call upon the Government to ensure that a public inquiry into this matter is held before any wind farm development is approved or allowed to take place.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.—[Presented by Lembit Öpik, Official Report, 23 March 2010; Vol. 508, c. 217 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:

The Government recognise the importance of increasing the development of renewable sources of energy. At the same time it remains crucial that the impacts from such developments are assessed fully.

Where an application for consent to construct and operate a wind farm has been made under s36 of the Electricity Act 1989, a public inquiry into the application is mandatory if the relevant planning authority (Powys County Council in this case) objects. Even if the relevant planning authority does not object, Ministers have the discretionary power to call for a public inquiry if they consider it appropriate in the light of objections received.

When a public inquiry is held, a statement of the matters, which seem to Ministers to be relevant to their consideration of the application, is issued in advance. These matters could include transportation impacts in connection with the construction of the wind farm. The views of those objecting would be taken into account, together with all other relevant factors, in identifying these matters.

Even if a public inquiry is not held, objectors’ views are of course still taken into account in reaching a decision on any application.

I am aware that Powys County Council, the Welsh Assembly Government, Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency and the developers concerned are considering transport issues raised by wind farm applications in Mid Wales.

Applications for wind farms made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 will be considered by the relevant local planning authority. The local planning authority would similarly consider transportation issues in their assessment of such applications.

As the consideration of transport issues, including cumulative impacts, is part of the normal planning application process for each wind farm, and the legislation provides various opportunities for public inquiries to take place as part of that process where appropriate, I do not believe that it is necessary to hold a separate inquiry across a number of applications solely into transportation issues as requested in the petition. This view is taken purely in response to the petition and does not represent any form of decision in relation to any of the relevant applications (either as regards the holding of public inquiries into them as part of the planning application process or any other matters raised by the applications).