Solar farm development using German steel and foreign workers is not good for local economy says campaigner

Wednesday 20th April 2016 10:23 am
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A local resident has hit out at the solar farm development he says is blighting village life in Llanvapley after developers broke promises.

Les Taylor says he’s seeking thousands in compensation from Manor Farm developers for plaguing residents with noise pollution, damaging hedgerows, and employing foreign workers for jobs promised to locals.

The 66-acre site centres a multi-million pound scheme to build a 38,000-panel solar farm, one of Europe’s largest, in idyllic Llanvapley.

“We will be asking for compensation for the lorries, the noise and all the other stuff we have to put up with. They never said it would be anything like this. They drive metal poles into the ground all day, so that causes a lot of noise, as you could imagine.

“They make a new promise, and break it the next day,” he said.

Despite historic opposition, the Welsh Government pushed through planning permission for energy firm Conergy UK last year following appeal, after Monmouthshire County Council twice binned the venture in 2013.

Mr Taylor, a longstanding critic of the development, said the lack of communication with the firm is fuelling deeper frustration amongst villagers.

“Our chief concern is the transport management, or lack of. We are getting quite a lot of lorries coming through the village, which they promised wouldn’t happen. They’ve taken out hedgerows, put footpaths facing the wrong way. Even the CCTV cameras are set-up wrong.

“We are very concerned that they are not following the proper protocols as they promised before all this started. There’s a total lack of communication with the village.”

The development employs 25 workers, and will provide almost 3,000 homes with electricity, according to Conergy UK figures.

Mr Taylor says the development has stoked rancour amongst villagers, after it became clear economic benefits to the area had failed to materialise.

“We were promised jobs would come here and hire British workers, but they never offered the jobs to anyone in Abergavenny. They are using German steel and, from what I gather, foreign workers.

“That’s not good for the Welsh economy, is it? This all comes from the new political thinking that ‘anything green is good’, no matter what the cost or damage.

“It’s a very good deal for the farmer who owns the land, but not much for the village of Llanvapley. So, we are going to ask for a payment to make up for the problems and the lack of communication,” he said.

Conergy UK said the site will be hooked up to the National Grid, before being sold on to an investor. The firm did not reply to a request for comment.

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