Project Background

The Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) community wind farm at Mynydd y Gwrhyd was granted planning permission for two turbines, 100m to tip, situated on Mynydd y Gwrhyd which is 20 miles north of Swansea. One turbine is on common land and the other on adjacent farmland. The turbines generate enough electricity to power 2,500 homes.

On 7 May 2009, Neath Port Talbot granted consent for a Section 73 to allow for an extension of time and variation to various conditions at appeal. This was allowed subject to 28 planning conditions, the first of which required that the development should begin no later than five years from the date of the decision.

AAT commissioned ADAS to prepare a Section 73 application to vary the original planning condition on their consent to extend the time limit. This was particularly challenging as timescales were extremely limited and given the length of time that had passed, required an update to the original Environmental Statement (ES).

Actions taken

ADAS prepared a strategy to provide with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) with enough information to validate the application. We led on preparing a planning application and updating the ES to enable the LPA to approve the application in a timely manner.

Another challenge facing the client was getting the turbines erected on-site in order to secure the required Feed-In-Tariff otherwise the project would have become unviable. ADAS was able to co-ordinate and discharge the planning conditions, as well as securing additional consents to allow construction on the community wind farm in March 2016.

Appropriate project management by ADAS ensured that all the inputs were framed to support the submission of amendments to the original planning permission for the wind farm. Close working between ADAS and the client’s wider project team ensured that all the inputs ADAS provided suited the construction and monitoring requirements of the project.

Additional consents were also required as part of the original Unilateral Undertaking, this required ADAS to review information provided for the Commons Application, and liaise with AAT to identify which of the development would require planning consent to minimise any costs and time delays.

The proposed access road had also moved outside the approved red line boundary (from 2009) and had been constructed of a different material (brought in from off-site) than originally proposed. To ensure all information was correct and up to date, we recommended that an application was submitted for the sections of road that required changing as well as varying the conditions concerning the construction materials.

The Section 106 and Unilateral Undertaking also required updating. ADAS led on negotiating the community benefits on behalf of AAT as the scheme had reduced in size since the original approval. It was important to ensure that these were proportionate to the revised size and scale of development.

Results

ADAS successfully renegotiated the Section 73 consent to secure an extension of time to the community wind farm, and managed successful community and stakeholder consultation to ensure this decision received local approval and minimising the Environmental Impact Assessment reports required.

The proposed development represented a community group project that has delivered real benefits to a number of localities in the vicinity of the site.

Contact for more information

To learn more, contact Kenny Dhillon, Associate Director of ADAS Planning at kenny.dhillon@adas.co.uk