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Backlash hits Welsh Plans

Planners are thwarting plans for further wind farms in south Wales. Port Talbot Borough Council has turned down developer Ecogen's application to build a 20 MW wind farm of 45 turbines at Blaencorrwg in West Glamorgan. Councillors turned their backs on their own planning officer's recommendation for approval by voting against the £20 million scheme by 23 votes to three because of its visual impact.

Ecogen is considering whether to appeal against the decision. The company still believes Blaencorrwg to be a good site. "It is very isolated and visual impact would be minimal," maintains Ecogen's Catherine Peasley. Most of the opposition to the plans came from the nearest village of Glyncorrwg -- 2.5 kilometers from the proposed scheme.

Meanwhile, Westwind Generators, a developer with British, German and Dutch backers, has seen two of its proposals in Dyfed refused by local authorities. The Penarth-based company applied to build 20 turbines overlooking the medieval town of Kidwelly and a further 20 near the village of Llansaint. Both schemes were rejected unanimously by councillors for Llanelli and Carmarthen borough councils. Westwind's Jeff Thomas says the company is contemplating applying for two further schemes in the forthcoming round of NFFO (Non Fossil Fuel Obligation) contracts. Westwind is jointly owned by Dutch interests Hollandia -- the parent company of wind turbine manufacturer Nedwind -- and utility PNEM, as well as by German company Schirren Wind Energy and British company Salurian.

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