Alwyn Nixon, the Planning Inspector appointed by the Welsh Ministers, has dismissed REG Windpower Ltd’s appeal against Powys CCs’ decision not to allow the construction of three 103m high turbines on Pentre Tump. At the public hearing, John Campion (for NRW) and Geoff Sinclair (for Save Our Scenery) were highly critical of the developer’s approach to landscape impact assessment.

Inspector Nixon concluded that the adverse landscape and visual impacts on the A44, the hamlet of Llanfihangel-Nant-Melan, and on recreational routes in the area, particularly bridleways, were of such severity as to outweigh the factors and policy considerations concerning renewable energy provision which weigh in favour of the proposed development.

Planning Inspectors’ decisions set precedents for future appeals. Inspector Nixon makes a number of points of relevance to the proposed industrial wind energy schemes on Reeves Hill and at Bowdler Farm.

In the full text of the decision note particularly:

* The interpretation of Tan 8 with enhanced protection for areas outside Strategic Search Areas.
* The argument that it is not good enough for developers to simply dismiss the value of particular landscapes on the grounds of LANDMAP categories and absence of other local or national designations.
* Access tracks can, in themselves, have significant adverse visual impact.
* The importance of the negative visual impact of huge turbines on those enjoying the countryside on footpaths, bridleways and roads.
* The developer’s underestimation of the disruption caused by construction.