A joint public inquiry is to be held after a council objected to applications for onshore wind farms in mid-Wales.
The applications are from Vattenfall for the Llanbadarn Fynydd scheme (130-250 MW), and RWE Npower Renewables for the Carnedd Wen scheme (59.5 MW) and the Government has decided that evidence on the benefits and impacts of the proposals is best considered at a single inquiry.
UK energy minister Charles Hendry said: “The county council in Powys has maintained its objection to these two proposals for wind farms in mid-Wales. In these circumstances the legislation provides for a public inquiry at which all the evidence will be independently examined before ministers make a final decision.
“It makes sense that these applications should be considered jointly, in order to ensure strategic consideration of the benefits and impacts.”
It is expected that a pre-inquiry meeting will be held next spring with the full inquiry to begin later in the year.
There are a further four section 36 applications for onshore wind farms on which Powys County Council is due to respond to the department of energy and climate change by the end of September. The Secretary of State will consider the arrangements for any additional public inquiries, including whether to join them with the Llanbadarn and Carnedd inquiry, after the council has responded to DECC on the remaining applications.
In Scotland, meanwhile, permission has been granted for a 21-turbine farm. Argyll and Bute Council said the development in Kilmichael Forest has the backing of the communities of Mid Argyll and will boost the local economy if the towers are bought locally from a factory in Machrihanish.
A spokesman said: “It is recognised as being reasonably remote with a limited visual impact, so much so that the council received only one letter of objection to the proposal.”
Argyll and Bute is said to be “well placed” to contribute to the targets set for generating electricity from renewable resources by 2020.