Plans are underway for the first truly community-led wind farm in the UK. Residents from the Upper Amman and Swansea Valley area of south Wales have set up Awel Aman Tawe with the intention of building five turbines on Mynydd Uchaf, north of Swansea. The wind plant is intended to be a major community asset, providing sustainable funding to assist in local regeneration of a region with "Objective One" status as a depressed area according to EU criteria. Awel Aman Tawe claims the £3 million project could plough up to £383,000 into the local economy each year and provide training and employment opportunities. It hopes to establish a community decision making process, giving local people control over establishment of the wind farm and how profits are spent. Awel Aman Tawe has secured £75,000 of funding -- mostly from the Department of Trade and Industry -- to consult local people. It stresses it will only proceed if there is clear local support and many in the community buying shares. The first phase of the initiative, lasting until end March 2001, will assess how acceptable and viable a wind farm would be. Awel Aman Tawe will then decide whether to proceed further.
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