Jail threat for county planners over turbine proposal

GREEN LIGHT: Carmarthenshire's planning committee approved an application to erect a wind turbine on land off Heol Ddu on the outskirts of Ammanford.

GREEN LIGHT: Carmarthenshire's planning committee approved an application to erect a wind turbine on land off Heol Ddu on the outskirts of Ammanford.

First published in News
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Members of Carmarthenshire county council’s planning committee have been warned they could face jail should Ammanford’s power supply be interrupted by a Heol Ddu wind turbine, which was approved on Tuesday.

Objector Daniel Morris, who lives near the site of the proposed 27-metre tall turbine, told committee members that the structure was too close to the 11,000 volt power line providing electricity to parts of the town.

The lines also power the town’s two main mobile phone masts.

Mr Morris, a chartered engineer, told members that by granting permission for the turbine – which was recommended for approval by county planning officers - they would be personally responsible for any disruption should it ever fall.

“Endangering a public power supply is a criminal offence,” he told the committee.

“If you follow what your officers are recommending you will be culpable for that offence, making you liable to large fines and possible imprisonment.”

However, committee members reacted angrily to the comments.

“I do not take kindly to being threatened with jail,” said Councillor Emlyn Dole.

Members were told the council had received 21 letters of objection originating from the 12 properties within 500 metres of the site. Llandybie community council also opposed the proposals.

Applicant Tim Pullen told the committee he had twice consulted with Western Power in regards to the siting of the turbine and the utility firm had raised no objection.

Cllr David Jenkins asked whether there was room for manoeuvre within the site only to be told that the turbine had already been relocated due to the possible presence of bats in the area.

Cllr Peter Cooper added: “It is quite a small turbine and personally I do not see any problem with it at all.

“The issue of the electricity cables issue is obviously something that has been looked at by the power company.”

Planning committee chairman Anthony Jones confirmed Western Power had been consulted on the application and had raised no concerns.

The authority’s legal services department said it would “double-check” the legal liability but that “from the evidence it seemed unlikely” there was any issue.

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