Written Evidence from Denbighshire County
The paragraphs below highlight some of the key
areas of recent work by Denbighshire County Council with regard
to the provision of renewable energy.
Denbighshire County Council responded to the
Consultation Draft TAN 8 in October 2004. The comments were that
of broad support to the principles of the TAN ie addressing this
key but difficult area of sustainable development through making
positive provision through the Strategic Search Areas (SSA) for
wind power at a national level. However we also raised some concerns
There was little justification
or consultation of the renewable energy targets sethow
did the Welsh Assembly Government arrive at 4TWh renewable energy
target and the 800MW on shore wind energy capacity targets? (these
were apparently non-negotiable during the consultation of TAN
It did not explain or justify
the contribution from other renewable energy sources;
The "presumption in favour
of development" implied throughout the TAN required further
There was uncertainty regarding
how to deal with planning applications outside the strategic zones;
There are concerns regarding
the method of proposing the strategic zones, particularly as there
is no public inquiry (which will eventually have to be incorporated
into county development plans) because this essentially removes
or certainly weakens local democracy;
Too much emphasis on wind power
and not enough on other "alternative" methods of energy
The full version of Denbighshire's response
is attached in a separate Appendix.
TAN 8 (JULY 2005)
On publication of the approved TAN 8, some but
not all of the County Council's concerns had been addressed. The
TAN reduced the size of the Clocaenog Forest SSA from 200MW to
140MW. It allowed limited local discretion in determining which
sites should come forward by recommending "local refinement"
exercises to the SSA.
A partnership approach was formed between Denbighshire
County Council and Conwy County Borough Council (the SSA falls
within both counties) who jointly commissioned Arup consultants
to look closely at landscape issues, biodiversity, technical feasibility
etc of the SSA in order to try and determine the preferred areas
within the SSA for wind turbines.
The results of this study will eventually form
Supplementary Planning Guidance for both Denbighshire and Conwy.
The Arup "SSA Refinement Study" is
now almost completesome additional work on biodiversity
is currently being done. It has refined the SSA boundary, although
the suggested capacity of the SSA is such that a large proportion
of the SSA will need to be developed in any case.
This SPG has been drafted and scrutinised by
both Denbighshire and Conwy Environment Scrutiny and approved
for public consultation by delegated Cabinet decision in Denbighshire
and full Cabinet in Conwy. However formal consultation has not
yet commenced. This is because biodiversity issues are being re-assessed
in the Arup report although it is anticipated that these issues
will have been resolved by the end of December 2005.
Denbighshire County Council and Conwy County
Borough Council propose to consult the SPG during January and
February 2006. It will be fully approved by April 2006. The refined
SSA boundary will also be incorporated into the emerging Denbighshire
Local Development Plan Proposals Map.
SECTION 36 ELECTRICITY
Another issue of note is that applications over
50MW are determined under Section 36 of the Electricity Act by
the Department of Trade and Industry and not by the local planning
authority. A LPA can force a public inquiry if it objects to such
applications. Local Councillors have raised concerns over the
implications of this Act upon local democracy.
Not enough focus is put on promoting more efficient
use of energy by controlling new development, grant aiding innovation
in building design that conserves energy or uses "alternative"
energy, not enough resources allocated to Local Government to
actively promote energy efficiency across the wide spectrum of