Betws hoping for windfarm windfall

First published in News

BETWS should receive “a big slice of the cake” when it comes to community benefits offered by developers of the controversial Mynydd y Betws windfarm.

That is the opinion of local community councillors, who reminded windfarm spokesman Noel Gallacher last week that their own community would be the most directly affected by the 15-turbine development.

“Betws should have a big slice of the cake because most of these turbines will be in our territory,” Alderman Arnallt James told him.

Noel Gallacher, of ESB, the Irish state-owned electricity utility, said Carmarthenshire county council and site developers Celtic Energy Renewables would decide how an initial payment of £1m would be divided up.

“The community benefit fund will kick in once the turbines are commissioned,” he said. “I’m sure that projects in the Betws area will be put forward.”

Cllr Rhydian Murray – who is chairman of Betws RFC – said a picture report in the Guardian stating that Cwmgors RFC had apparently received windfarm sponsorship had caused “consternation”

locally.

“People are asking why Cwmgors are being sponsored and not Betws,” he said.

Mr Gallacher explained the sponsorship had come about as a couple of Cwmgors players were actually employed by site contractors John Sisk & Son. “It wasn’t the windfarm that provided the sponsorship,”

he said.

Pressed by county councillor Ryan Bartlett on whether Betws residents could look forward to benefiting from a local electricity discount scheme, Mr Gallacher said such a scheme could be incorporated into the community fund.

He added that work on the windfarm remained on schedule and it was expected to be operating by next spring.

Fifty per cent of all turbine components were on site and the sub-station was 90 per cent completed.

“It takes around one hour to convey the turbine blades from Swansea Docks to the site and police are doing an excellent job escorting them,”

said Mr Gallacher.

“We are trying to keep these deliveries uniform for minimal disruption to people’s daily routines.

“The wind farm should be live by March or April – everything is on schedule, we’ve not lost any time, despite the bad summer.”

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