Nevertheless, Simon Powles of RES expresses his satisfaction with the result. "All households over a wide area around the planned wind farm have been given the chance to tell us their views. Normally you would expect this type of survey to bring out the opponents, but the majority of respondents were both positive to wind energy in general and to our plans in particular."
RES maintains that considering the level of negative press comment and the fuss made by local opposition groups, the result is contrary to what might be expected. From the 3500 questionnaires sent out, RES received nearly 700 replies. This shows a good level of public interest, the company claims.
Just three questions were asked in the survey: are you in favour of utilising our wind resource to produce clean energy? Do you think a well designed wind farm can form an acceptable part of a landscape? Do you think Mynydd Clogau could be a suitable location for a medium sized wind farm of 20 turbines? Nearly half answered YES to all three questions, while overall, nearly 70% favoured using wind to produce clean energy. Only a quarter of responses were NO on all three counts.
RES lodged its application for planning permission for Mynydd Clogau, north of Newtown earlier in the year. However, the local planning authority put it on hold for an unspecified period under directions from the Welsh Office. According to Powles, if the wind farm goes ahead, the company would almost certainly conduct another opinion survey. He is confident that attitudes around the site would reflect trends at other wind farms in the UK where local support increases after they are built. "We would expect the response to be even more favourable," he says.