A NUMBER of wind turbine developments are being planned for parts of Blaenau Gwent.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, November 10, councillors were told what the process will be to deal with these schemes, which are classified as Developments of National Significance (DNS).

This means planning inspectors and the Welsh Government will be dealing with these applications rather than Blaenau Gwent planners.

Inspectors will look at all the information provided in the DNS application and eventually provide advice to the Welsh Government on what decision to make.

A Welsh Government minister will then announce the decision.

Head of planning. Steve Smith said: “You’ll be aware that we have a number of developments for wind turbines, at various stages of the process.

“We intend bringing a report to you hopefully for December if not then in January updating you on where each of them is.”

Mr Smith explained that the first step in the DNS process for these applications – is that the council need to write a “local impact report.”

Mr Smith said: “That local impact report is a factual statement of what we see as the issues and the planning policies that relate to the development.”

At a later stage, the council will be able to submit their views on the development be they “for, against or neutral position” explained Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said: “We as a local authority are entitled to a share of the fee that is paid to the Welsh Government, as long as we deliver the local impact report on time.

“The time-scales are tight, usually six weeks from submission and they don’t always fall nicely with the (planning) committee cycle.”

He asked that that the committee agree to delegate powers to planning officers in conjunction with the chairwoman, Cllr Lisa Winnett to be able to write and submit the local impact report on time.

Cllr Winnett said: “I agree as this report is facts only, we want to make sure we hit the time-scales.”

Cllr Wayne Hodgins asked if this would affect the public consultation.

Mr Smith answered: “The public involvement is not affected at all, it’s a scoping exercise to say to the inspector; these are the issues we think the applicant has to address.

“Public involvement and the authority’s own view comes later down the line.”

The committee voted unanimously to delegate the powers for the local impact report to planning officers and Cllr Winnett.

The Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) deal with DNS applications.

Their website shows that there are six DNS applications in the pipeline for Blaenau Gwent, five are for wind turbine developments and one for a solar farm.

The applications are:

  • Manmoel Wind at Manmoel Common east of Ebbw Vale – submitted by Cenin Renewables Ltd.
  • Mynydd Carn y Cefn Wind Farm at land west of Abertillery – submitted by Pennant Walters Ltd.
  • Mynydd Llanhilleth Wind farm at land east of Abertillery and southeast of Llanhilleth – submitted by Pennant Walters Ltd.
  • Abertillery Wind Farm at land between Abertillery and Abersychan submitted by RWE Renewables UK.
  • Wind Turbines North of Rassau Industrial Estate – submitted by Infinite Renewables Ltd.

The solar energy project is for the Circuit of Wales, to the northwest of Rassau and Ebbw Vale – submitted by The Badminton Estate.