Once again the fight to halt the spread of wind turbines into the unspoilt upper Dee Valley has made the pages of the Free Press. Not only was the Letter of the Week from STEMM’s Secretary, Hilary Madeley, but Mike Skuse, who is campaigning to halt the major wind farm planned for the Clocaenog Forest, near Ruthin, waded in to support STEMM, too.
In his letter Mike Skuse said: ‘Last week Denbighshire County Council’s Planning committee passed judgement on two wind turbine applications. In each case the officers recommended refusal. Both applications were for turbines about the same size. Both were situated on farms. One application was for two turbines at Syrior, Llandrillo, and was approved by two votes. The other application was for one turbine at Ffridd Fawr, Prion, and was refused by the committee.
What circumstances persuaded the members to approve one and refuse the other? Both are situated in beautiful countryside, both will be visible for miles around, both will benefit the applicants. Both sites are governed by the same environmental policies operating in Denbighshire. And, in both cases, the officers impartially recommended that the members should refuse permission.’
No doubt the 100 plus local residents who formally objected to the Syrior scheme would like to know how councillors voted in relation to the two planning applications. We are, however, unlikely to find out, as the votes are taken ‘in secret’ during the meeting and not recorded. What we do know, however, is that local councillor, Cefyn Williams, spoke at considerable length in unequivocal support of Syrior. This is despite the fact that he was well aware of the strength of local opposition, and had been contacted, prior to the meeting, by a number of local people who presented him with their various concerns.
STEMM is currently seeking legal advice regarding the possibility of appealing against this decision. It is too important to the future of the area to let it go without a fight. Many people’s jobs in the area rely heavily upon tourism and they fear that these turbines could set a precedent which could lead to the industrialisation of the valley. What currently is such a unique and beautiful landscape, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, could all too quickly disappear beneath turbines, pylons and access tracks.