AMMANFORD and surrounding communities are to benefit from £20 million of community grants if plans for a 16-turbine wind farm are given the green light.

Eco2 Ltd, under the development company Cambrian Renewable Energy Ltd (CREL), is proposing a record level of community benefit per megawatt from the Mynydd y Betws wind farm.

CREL is offering over £5,400 per megawatt in community benefit while those behind the Mynydd Y Gwair wind farm only propose to dish out £1,000 per megawatt.

CREL claims the 16-turbines wind farm and would provide up to 36.8MW of green electricity, enough to supply 23,800 homes - the equivalent of 31% of the domestic consumption of Carmarthenshire.

CREL's director of projects, Chris Williams said: "CREL intends to provide a community benefit fund of £200,000 per year. This equates to £5 million over the lifetime of the project, which could be used by the local community to attract grant funding.

"The total, local financial benefit from this project could be up to £20 million through match-funding the community benefit with existing grant initiatives, and the procurement of local services and materials for the construction and operation of the wind farm."

Peter Rose, of Garnswllt, believes this offer is just a sweetener to get the application approved.

"It seems to me the mathematicians are making the figures say what they want them to say," said the anti-turbine protester. "Also who will be administering these grants?"

A committee of trustees will be established to manage the distribution of the Community Trust Fund.

Clubs, organisations and individuals will be able to apply for funding from the committee for projects that meet a set of designated criteria.

Chris Williams added: "If the project did get planning permission, the mechanisms would be in place to ensure local communities benefited from the project from the onset."