BUILTH Wells mayor Mark Hammond has reiterated his support for a referendum on Powys windfarm projects, saying that the voices of local communities need to be heard.

Councillor Hammond and his Builth Town Council colleagues have backed calls by Llandrindod Wells Town Council for a referendum on windfarm projects proposed by Bute Energy and Green GEN Cymru to build energy parks on hilltop sites near both towns.

Cllr Hammond was part of a panel that hosted a lively debate at the Pavilion in Llandrindod last Tuesday evening, April 30, attended by more than 200 people.

Powys County Council (PCC) immediately shot down a referendum request by Llandrindod councillors in March, stating that a Development of National Significance (DNS) – such as a windfarm – is handled for the Welsh Government by Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW).


“The reason that Builth Town Council supported the call is that it feels it is important for the democratic process and democratic accountability for such a referendum to be held,” said Cllr Hammond, in a statement released by the town council following last week’s meeting.

“The whole issue is a divisive one for our communities and we deem it necessary for their voices to be heard collectively, as it is becoming more and more frequent that local opinion and concern is being ignored at a county and national level.

“The UK Government's own guidelines state that referendums can be held by a local council to make a decision on an issue affecting their lives.

“This effect on people’s lives is the key issue, and what particularly reenforces our belief that a referendum is needed is that Green GEN Cymru have no history of operating in this market; no history of any similar projects undertaken; no staff with skills to undertake the project; and few assets and no income to finance the project.

“From my perspective, it seems corporate greed is being allowed to direct and push government policy with no proper strategic planning and management.”

County Times:  Green GEN Cymru's preferred route for the pylons through Powys. Green GEN Cymru's preferred route for the pylons through Powys.

Bute Energy and Green GEN Cymru’s proposals could see energy parks and wind farms built on land in the Radnor Forest, near Llandegley; Gilwern Hill, just outside Hundred House; and Aberedw Hill, near Builth.

The meeting was organised by Llandrindod Town Council and chaired by their councillor David Markinson, with spa town colleague Steve Deeks-D'Silva and Cllr Hammond joining them at the top table.

Jenny Chryss, campaign lead for the group RE-think, and Dr Joe Botting, a renowned local palaeontologist, were also at the top table.

Dr Botting, who was instrumental in the discovery of a hugely significant fossil deposit in Radnorshire last year, described the Builth, Landrindod and Llandegley areas as “sacred”.

“Putting wind farms on Gilwern Hill would be akin to putting a wind farm on Stonehenge,” he told those gathered.

There was a nod to the lack of presence by Bute Energy and Green GEN Cymru, with seats labelled for their representatives unoccupied at the front of the stage.

A second round of consultation on the Green GEN Towy Usk project, transporting renewable energy from Bute Energy’s flagship Nant Mithil Energy Park in the Radnor Forest to Carmarthenshire, was set to start yesterday (Wednesday, May 8), though there are scant details available.