THE Cambrian Mountains Society has called for a new review of TAN8 after it analysed the public’s response to government consultation.
The society has been invited to give evidence at a meeting of the Environment and Sustainability Committee at the Senedd on January 12 when society trustee John Morgan will speak alongside a representative for the combined groups in Montgomeryshire.
Last week the society announced the results of its ‘comprehensive analysis’ of responses to the Welsh Government’s public consultation on the draft Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN8).
The final version of TAN8 led to the ‘turbine landscapes’ of Mid Wales, the society said.
According to the society’s findings, only 10 per cent of respondents supported the draft TAN8 in what they say could be the largest number of responses to any Welsh Government consultation.
“90 per cent of almost 1,700 responders were against the whole or part of TAN8,” the society said in a statement.
“The responses were notable for the number of individuals who responded, rather than organisations. 94 per cent of these responses were against TAN8 in whole or part.
“Their views were almost wholly ignored in the final document.”
Despite what the society describes as ‘overwhelming opposition’ to the draft document, the final TAN8 was ‘if anything strengthened further in favour of turbine development on the Welsh uplands’, the society added.
Landscape quality was not considered, other than to rule out National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the society said.
“Remarkably the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) was not involved until the public consultation stage. Thus areas which CCW classifies as outstanding landscape quality are categorised in TAN8 for turbine developments and a future as ‘turbine landscapes’.
“Even a prospective wind turbine developer’s response was to express unease about turbines being proposed ‘very close to the nationally acclaimed Pumlumon range’.
“This has caused a great deal of public anxiety about the policy.”
On the issue of grid transmission, National Grid Transco expressed concern that it had not been considered in the planning, the society said, but the government’s response was that the issue had to be considered outside TAN8.
“This is analogous to constructing a reservoir without any consideration of where the main water pipes have to go.“
The work behind the document was carried out by international consultants Arup.
“Since that report, turbine heights have increased from 160 feet to around 450 feet, public perceptions have developed on the issue and other technologies have developed too as well as the UK government’s energy policy.
“The Cambrian Mountains Society therefore calls for the Welsh Government to instigate a formal review of the application of TAN8.”