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Storm brews over wind power site.

Six major conservation groups are today calling on the government to hold a public inquiry into the building of the largest wind power station in the country.

The proposed station at Cefn Croes in Ceredigion, Wales, would see 39 turbines standing up to 100 metres high, but the organisations are disappointed that Minister for Energy Brian Wilson has indicated he could give consent to the site without an inquiry.

The organisations, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, the National Trust (Wales), the Ramblers' Association (Wales), the Wildlife Trusts (Wales), the Council for National Parks and the Snowdonia Society, have written to Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, to protest.

Due to its size, this is the first wind power station in Wales to be decided by the DTI in London rather than by local planning authorities in Wales.

Ceredigion county councillors removed the chance of an automatic public inquiry by not registering an objection to the scheme despite local opposition and recommendations from council officers, the groups said.

They said that there was no further discussion of the scheme in the Welsh Assembly before the matter was referred to the DTI.

The groups had hoped that the Minister would use his discretionary powers to call an inquiry because of objections from the government's statutory advisor on landscape, the Countryside Council for Wales, and objections from local community councils and conservation organisations.

But in December Mr Wilson said he was minded to give consent without an inquiry.

The groups wrote that the turbines 'will destroy the peace and tranquillity of a landscape which epitomises the rolling uplands of Wales in an area recognised as being of national landscape significance.'

They have urged the Secretary of State to reconsider the decision not to call a public inquiry into the proposal.

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Patricia Hewitt: Facing protest
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 28, 2002
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