Chris Bevan, Knighton Town Councillor, has applied to Powys for a 50m anemometer mast, to collect wind data for 18 months, just 2km away from the planned Reeves Hill Wind Farm (P/2013/0239).

The mast would be on Llan-Wen ridge, 50m from the public right of way joining Llanshay Lane, via the Observatory, to the B4355; 1.25km from the Observatory; 1.35km from the Offa’s Dyke Scheduled Ancient Monument and National Trail; and 750m from 4 residences (including Bowdler Farm, belonging to applicant).

A 50m mast suggests the ambition to construct one or more large turbines, up to 80 or 90m high. Experience from Reeves Hill Wind Farm suggests the turbine(s) could be anywhere in a radius of 700m from the mast and would not necessarily be exclusively on the mast applicant’s land.

Right Road Renewables (of County Kildare, Ireland) who prepared the application, say Castle Pill Wind Farm (Milford Haven!) is the main feature close to the site – revealing their total ignorance of Wales.

Large turbines of over 500KW fall between “small wind turbines” and developments over 5MW, which should be restricted to a Tan 8 Strategic Search Area (Small Wind Turbines: Powys Planning Guidance Note). Turbine size, wind-industry pressure and landowner ambitions have all increased at such breakneck speed that there is no specific planning guidance in place for the type of individual large turbines which would warrant a 50m anemometer data. However, SHCG believes that large turbine construction in the vicinity of this mast would have an unacceptable impact on Offa’s Dyke and the Powys landscape and be contrary to Powys Planning Policy.

This application shows that Reeves Hill Wind Farm is not an isolated case. If it is allowed to go ahead, the floodgates will be opened. This part of the Welsh borders will no longer be an unspoilt landscape and no Welsh border hilltop will be spared from multiple applications.

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