Save   Our   Common   Mountain   Environment

SOCME Fighting Fund Appeal

Mynydd y Gwair developments - as and when they become known to SOCME


July 2016
The outcome of the third public inquiry and related documents can be found here:

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/common/commonsact2006/deregistration-exchange/determination-of-applications/58470389/?lang=en

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/common/commonsact2006/deregistration-exchange/determination-of-applications/58470389/?skip=1&lang=cy

SOCME issued the following press statement on 21 July 2016:

"SOCME together with the whole Community is saddened to hear of the Minister's decision to grant common land permissions for the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm. The decision comes despite the Minister noting in a decision letter that "The Inspector concluded that the wind farm would be detrimental to the appearance of the commons and the majority of the people's enjoyment of them".

What will be lost is hard to comprehend;
A living, working landscape LOST under tonnes of stone, concrete & steel
The hefting system for the commoners livestock - LOST
The sense of enjoyment for walkers experiencing the wide open space of Mynydd y Gwair - LOST
The wildlife habitat - LOST

For what? Just to produce a small insignificant percentage of power - SCANDALOUS

This decision has been reached in the same week as press speculation that RWE may face bankruptcy. We also note that the inspectors report pre dates the recent EU referendum and the current speculation concerning RWE's financial position.

SOCME will take time to examine the decision in detail before commenting further"



February 2016 (second update of the month)
The Inquiry into the 2015 common land applications has now closed. The Inspector mentioned on the closing day of the Inquiry that he is aiming to report to the Welsh Ministers by the end of March 2016.

SOCME are grateful to all those who appeared at the Inquiry to oppose the applications, whether as witnesses or by following the proceedings in the public seats.



February 2016
This is a quick reminder about the Public Inquiry that is to be held into the current (2015) applications, concerning exchange land, fencing and other works on the common, in connection with the wind turbines proposed in planning application 2012/1221.

The Inquiry will be held in the function room at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea, starting at 10am on Tuesday 16 February 2016 and will sit as required during Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 February. Friday 19 February will also be provisionally available to hear evidence, if needed, and it is proposed that closing submissions will be heard on Tuesday 23 February 2016.

All those who appreciate Mynydd y Gwair are welcome to attend the Public Inquiry.



January 2016
The following applications have been made, seeking to discharge some of the 2012/1221 planning conditions:

  • 2015/2377 - Discharge of condition 12 (CMS for protection of water mains)
  • 2015/2386 - Discharge of condition 30 (hydrological monitoring plan)
  • 2015/2388 - Discharge of condition 32 (watercourse buffer zone)
  • 2015/2393 - Discharge of condition 23 (construction / restoration methods for underground cabling)
  • 2015/2375 - Discharge of condition 06 (construction traffic management plan) and 10 (highways)
  • 2015/2387 - Discharge of condition 31 (surface water drainage system)
  • 2015/2382 - Discharge of condition 22 (temporary and permanent means of enclosure)
  • 2015/2378 - Discharge of condition 15 (habitat restoration plan)
  • 2015/2381 - Discharge of condition 21 (substation design)
  • 2015/2376 - Discharge of condition 07 (construction method statement)
  • 2015/2379 - Discharge of condition 16 (species monitoring plan)
  • 2015/2383 - Discharge of condition 25 (scheme for investigation & remediation of TV reception / interference)
  • 2015/2385 - Discharge of condition 28 (Scheduled Ancient Monument fencing during construction)
  • 2015/2380 - Discharge of condition 17 (invasive plant species method statement)
  • 2015/2384 - Discharge of condition 26 (programme of building recording) and 27 (written scheme of archaelogical investigation)
  • 2015/0100 - Discharge of condition 24 (Scheme for avoidance of shadow ficker)

All of the above, and the original planning application 2012/1221 (conditions are listed in the decision notice), can be accessed by typing Mynydd y Gwair into the Street Name search field on: http://www.swansea.gov.uk/planningsearch (and then pressing search)

The deadline for response to City and County of Swansea Planning is 20 January 2016.



December 2015
"Aberrations 2" by Ioan Ap Trefor Ab Enoch of Swansea is a new booklet of English verse and prose published this month. It has a strong Welsh flavour, containing many local and historic themes. The collection has been kindly published to help raise money for the preservation of the vast upland Common lands of north Swansea known as Mynydd y Gwair. It is available for £5 plus £1.20 postage and packing. Every copy sold will result in a donation of £2.50 to SOCME. SOCME is grateful to the author for his support.

To obtain copy of "Aberrations 2" please send a cheque for £6.20, made payable to I. Richard, to 23, Mountain Road, Craig-cefn-parc, Swansea, SA6 5RH.

Please note that the author urges a note of caution for the faint hearted, as some items may contain 'strong language'.



November 2015
Further to the most recent submission of common land applications, concerning exchange land, fencing and other works on the common, in connection with the wind turbines proposed in planning application 2012/1221, and in view of the representations received about these latest applications, The Planning Inspectorate Wales propose to hold a Public Inquiry into the applications starting at 10am on Tuesday 16th February 2016, at a venue to be confirmed. The Inquiry is expected to last for 4 days.

SOCME will post more details, such as the venue, in a further update, once they are known.



September 2015 (fourth update of the month)
Applications have been made (yet again) concerning exchange land, fencing and other works on the common, in connection (again) with the wind turbines proposed in planning application 2012/1221. It is very important to take this opportunity to object to these additional applications; comments should be sent in to arrive by Wednesday 14 October 2015. Objections, addressed to Gareth Harvey, Team Leader, Quality and Specialist Case Work, and identifying which of the applications you are objecting to, should be sent to: The Planning Inspectorate, Crown Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ.

There are 7 of these applications in total, so far, 4 having been made under Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 and 3 having been made under Section 16 of the Commons Act 2006. The applications concern the parts of the common identified by reference numbers CL68, CL74 and CL77. Copies of the application forms, other documentation submitted, and maps for each of the applications made under sections 16 and 38 of the Commons Act 2006 can be requested from RWE Innogy UK Ltd., Baglan Bay Innovation Centre, Central Avenue, Baglan Energy Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7AX. Copies are also available for inspection at Ammanford Library and Pontarddulais Library during opening hours.

SOCME would welcome objections being sent in to The Planning Inspectorate, Cardiff, for each of these new applications. Irrespective of whether you have already objected to the related planning application (2012/1221) or the previous common land applications, please consider objecting to these additional applications, which we believe, if granted, would negatively impact the graziers who rely on the common for their livelihoods and all those members of the public who use the common for recreation.

Two sample objection letters - one for the section 16 applications and another for the section 38 applications - are provided below for your convenience. We hope those objecting will object both to the section 16 and section 38 applications. Please edit the sample letters provided if they do not reflect your specific concerns, or if you have additional comments you wish to make.

Letter objection to Section 16 - editable Word doc - PDF
Letter objection to Section 38 - editable Word doc - PDF

Please take this further opportunity to voice your objections and help save the common for the benefit of all.



September 2015 (third update of the month)
RWE Innogy UK have submitted a new set of common land applications according to a public notice dated 14 September 2015.

A copy of the application forms and accompanying documentation may be requested in writing from RWE Innogy UK Ltd., Baglan Bay Innovation Centre, Central Avenue, Baglan Energy Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7AX. Copies are also available for inspection at Ammanford Library and Pontarddulais Library during opening hours.

Comments should be sent in writing to the Planning Inspectorate Wales at Crown Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ to reach the Planning Inspectorate Wales by 14 October 2015.

SOCME would welcome objections being sent in to The Planning Inspectorate Wales for each of these new applications.

Once SOCME have had a chance to consider the new applications some sample objection letters will be provided in a further update on this page for your convenience.



September 2015 (second update of the month)
Thank you to all those who supported the Tractor Run on the 13th September, which was well attended.

A photo gallery from the event can be found here.



September 2015



July 2015
SOCME welcomes the Welsh Government decision of 25 June 2015, made by Rebecca Evans in her capacity as Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, with reference to the Planning Inspectorate report, following the Public Inquiry in 2014, refusing the section 16 and section 38 applications made by RWE Innogy UK with respect to Mynydd y Gwair.

Furthermore, we are glad to note that the decision reflects the valid concerns put forward to us by many local residents, as well as national and international visitors, over the years that we have been seeking to protect this irreplaceable common land.

For example, the decision notes that the character and nature of ancient routes, such as sheep hefts and public rights of way, would not only all be affected, but in some cases would disappear, if the applications had been granted. A risk to the hydrology of the wider neighbourhood was not addressed by the applicants, despite the issue having been identified prior to the applications being made. The replacement land proposed is acknowledged to be inappropriate, and it is noted that no agreement has been reached with graziers. Even in the long term the public would have been disadvantaged by the change in the character of the common.

There are so many good reasons to applaud the Welsh Government's sound aim of protecting common land that we hope RWE will re-consider its ambitions with regards to Mynydd y Gwair and announce, finally, after more than a decade of worry for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the common - whether for their livelihoods, enjoyment, or drinking water - that they no longer intend to fight the clear will of those who already depend on the common and who do not want to see massive construction works destroying its complex habitat.

The Welsh Government's announcement, including the Minister's decision letter and the Planning Inspector's report can be found here:

Cymraeg:
http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/common/commonsact2006/deregistration-exchange/determination-of-applications/common-land-decision-mynydd-y-gwair-swansea/?skip=1&lang=cy
English:
http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/common/commonsact2006/deregistration-exchange/determination-of-applications/common-land-decision-mynydd-y-gwair-swansea/?lang=en



January 2015
SOCME released the following press statement on 23rd January 2015:

It is disappointing to hear today that the Judicial Review into the Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm development brought by a resident of Mynydd y Gwair has been dismissed.

It was brought as a direct result of a lack of safe guards in place for the protection of water for the inhabitants living on and around Mynydd y Gwair and the proposed wind farm development site.

It is incredible that in this day and age that people have to resort to costly court proceedings to try and safe guard their basic needs and rights because of the proposed exploitation of this beautiful landscape.



November 2014 (second update of the month)
The Inquiry into the 2013 common land applications has now closed (please note that this means it will not sit for a second day this month).

SOCME are grateful to all those who appeared at the Inquiry to oppose the applications, whether as witnesses or by following the proceedings in the public seats.



November 2014
The Inquiry into the 2013 common land applications will resume at 10 am on Wednesday 19 November 2014, at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea, SA1 1RR, and will sit for two days.

SOCME are grateful to all those who have appeared at the Inquiry to date, to oppose the applications, whether as witnesses or following the proceedings in the public seats. We urge those opposing the applications to attend the Inquiry when it re-convenes.



October 2014 (second update of the month)
Judgement was reserved on 15 October 2014, with regards to the judicial review, CO/1793/2014.



October 2014
The Planning Inspectorate have confirmed that the Inquiry into the 2013 common land applications will resume at 10 am on Wednesday 19 November 2014, at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea, SA1 1RR, and will sit for two days.

SOCME are grateful to all those who have appeared at the Inquiry to date, to oppose the applications, whether as witnesses or following the proceedings in the public seats. We urge those opposing the applications to attend the Inquiry when it re-convenes.

You may have heard directly from the Planning Inspectorate about the resumption of the Inquiry, and received a letter from RWE. If you have any comments to make about the revised documentation sent to you by RWE these need to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by 12 October 2014. SOCME will be sending in comments, so if you wish your views to be reflected in SOCME's submission, please email your concerns about the revised documentation to socme.org [at] googlemail.com on or before Monday 6 October 2014. If you have not received a letter from RWE, a copy of the revised documentation (a Unilateral Undertaking) and the applications to which it relates are available at the libraries in Ammanford and Pontarddulais.

Also, if any member of the public opposed to the applications feels their specific concerns have not been represented yet at the Inquiry, or has questions concerning what is proposed that they wish to lay before the Inquiry, please contact us before the Inquiry resumes at: socme.org [at] googlemail.com

With regards to the judicial review, CO/1793/2014, that is to be heard at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff on 14 and 15 October 2014 (see September 2014 update below), those wishing to follow the case from the public seats should call 0207 947 6000 on 13 October to check from what time the court will sit the following day.



September 2014
The Inquiry into the 2013 common land applications is expected to reconvene on Wednesday 19 November 2014, possibly in Felindre, and to last two days. Further details will be posted above, once confirmation of them has been received.

SOCME are grateful to all those who have appeared at the Inquiry to date, to oppose the applications, whether as witnesses or following the proceedings in the public seats. We urge those opposing the applications to keep an eye on this page, and to attend the Inquiry when it reconvenes. Also, if any member of the public opposed to the applications feels their specific concerns have not been represented yet at the Inquiry, or has questions concerning what is proposed that they wish to lay before the Inquiry, please contact us at: socme.org [at] googlemail.com

In other news, a local resident filed a claim, as an individual, for judicial review of the planning permission (granted for planning application 2012/1221). SOCME understand that the case, CO/1793/2014, will be heard on 14 and 15 October 2014 at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff. The Civil Justice Centre is at 2 Park Street, Cardiff, CF10 1ET (by the Millennium Stadium) and the telephone number is 0207 947 6000.



March 2014 (second update of the month)
After sitting for 4 days starting on Tuesday 11 March 2014, the Inquiry into the 2013 common land applications was scheduled to hear closing submissions on Thursday 20 March 2014. However, the Inquiry was adjourned instead, following late submission of a document by the applicant, RWE Innogy UK Limited (RWE Npower Renewables Limited has changed name), after their counsel confirmed to the Inspector that it was deficient, to give them time to correct it.

SOCME are grateful to all those who have appeared at the Inquiry to date, to oppose the applications, whether as witnesses or following the proceedings in the public seats. We will post details of when the Inquiry is due to re-convene as soon as a date has been set and urge those opposing the applications to keep an eye on this page, and to attend the Inquiry when it re-convenes. Also, if any member of the public opposed to the applications feels their specific concerns have not been represented yet at the Inquiry, or has questions concerning what is proposed that they wish to lay before the Inquiry, please contact us at: socme.org [at] googlemail.com

In other news, the s. 106 agreement that City and County of Swansea required the applicant to enter into before granting planning permission for 2012/1221 was executed on the Friday before the Inquiry started (7 March 2014), resulting in planning permission being granted on 10 March 2014, the day before the Inquiry started. SOCME are seeking a legal opinion as to whether there are grounds for judicial review. Details of how to make a donation to help support SOCME's efforts are available here:
http://www.socme.org/new/affund.html



March 2014
This is a quick reminder about the Local Inquiry that is to be held into the applications detailed in the November 2013 update below, concerning exchange land, fencing and other works on the common, this time in connection with the wind turbines proposed in planning application 2012/1221.

The Local Inquiry is being held in The Function Room at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea, SA1 1RR, starting on Tuesday 11 March 2014 at 10 am, and is expected to sit for 4 days.

All those who appreciate Mynydd y Gwair are welcome to attend the Local Inquiry.



January 2014
A Local Inquiry is to be held into the applications detailed in the November 2013 update below, concerning exchange land, fencing and other works on the common, this time in connection with the wind turbines proposed in planning application 2012/1221.

The Local Inquiry is being held in The Function Room at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea, SA1 1RR, starting on Tuesday 11 March 2014 at 10am, and is expected to sit for 4 days.

Those who appreciate the common, whether because they rely on the common as graziers, or value the open access nature of the common as members of the public, are encouraged to attend the Local Inquiry.

If you wish to read out a statement at the Inquiry, please note there is a deadline of Tuesday 11 February 2014 for submission of such statements to the Planning Inspectorate.



November 2013
Applications have been made (again) concerning exchange land, fencing and other works on the common, this time in connection with the wind turbines proposed in planning application 2012/1221. Apparently RWE npower have not yet entered into the section 106 legal agreement that is one of the conditions for them obtaining planning permission from City and County of Swansea, but they anticipate doing so if the common land applications just filed are successful. It is very important to take this opportunity to object to these additional applications; comments should be sent in by 27 November 2013. Objections, addressed to Gareth Harvey, Team Leader, Quality and Specialist Case Work, and identifying which of the applications you are objecting to, should be sent to: The Planning Inspectorate, Crown Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ.

There are 5 of these applications in total, so far, 3 having been made under Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 and 2 having been made under Section 16 of the Commons Act 2006. The Section 38 applications concern the parts of the common identified by reference numbers CL68, CL74 and CL77. The Section 16 applications concern the parts of the common identified by reference numbers CL74 and CL77. A map showing the location of the proposed exchange land, as detailed in the 2012/1221 planning application, can be found here: http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/mediablob/en/1621812/data/1620876/1/rwe-innogy/sites/wind-onshore/united-kingdom/in-development/the-environmental-statement/Figure13-1-Common-Land-Areas.pdf

A map identifying the different parts of the common (CL68, CL74 and CL77), which formed part of the previous 2008/1781 planning application, can be found here: http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/mediablob/en/408282/blowupData/65110/blob.jpg

Copies of the application forms and maps for each of the applications under sections 16 and 38 of the Commons Act 2006 can be requested from RWE npower renewables, Baglan Bay Innovation Centre, Central Avenue, Baglan Innovation Centre, Baglan Energy Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7AX.

SOCME would welcome objections being sent in to The Planning Inspectorate, Cardiff, for each of these new applications. Irrespective of whether you have already objected to the related planning application (2012/1221), please consider objecting to these additional applications, which we believe, if granted, would negatively impact the graziers who rely on the common for their livelihoods and all those members of the public who use the common for recreation.

Some sample objection letters - 1 for each of these 5 additional applications - are provided below for your convenience. We hope those objecting will send 5 objections in total (i.e. an objection to each of these new applications). Please edit the sample letters provided if they do not reflect your specific concerns, or if you have additional comments you wish to make.

  • Letter objection to Section 16 - CL74 Editable WORD doc PDF
  • Letter objection to Section 16 - CL77 Editable WORD doc PDF
  • Letter objection to Section 38 - CL68 Editable WORD doc PDF
  • Letter objection to Section 38 - CL74 Editable WORD doc PDF
  • Letter objection to Section 38 - CL77 Editable WORD doc PDF

    Please take this further opportunity to voice your objections and help save the common for the benefit of all.



    October 2013
    RWE npower renewables are expected to submit applications under the Commons Act 2006 to the Planning Inspectorate Wales on 31 October 2013.

    Further details, as they become available, including how to object, will be posted here.



    May 2013
    Objectors may wish to comment to The Planning Inspectorate in Cardiff concerning an application for a meteorological anemometry mast and associated fencing. The deadline for comment is 27 May 2013. A template objection letter can be found here.



    February 2013
    City and County of Swansea narrowly voted - 27 to 24 - on Thursday 7 February to grant permission conditional. One of the requirements of the provisional grant is that a section 106 legal agreement is put in place.

    SOCME notes that the matter of Common Land consents also remains, and will be considering our options.

    We would like to thank our supporters, including those who turned up on the 7 February (some of whom could not gain access to the public gallery), for their continued support. We encourage our supporters to keep a regular eye on this page for future updates.



    January 2013
    The planning meeting to decide whether Swansea City and County Council will oppose the proposals put forward in planning application number 2012/1221 is to take place on Thursday 7th of February 2013 at 5:00pm at the Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea.

    We are asking people to come along to the public gallery to support us on the day, meeting at 4pm in front of the Civic Centre. For those not wishing to drive into Swansea, there will be vehicles available to offer lifts from the Village Hall in Felindre, departing from the Village Hall in Felindre at 2:45pm.



    November 2012
    The construction of wind turbines etc. on Mynydd y Betws is not reassuring to those concerned about the potential impact to the landscape and habitat of Mynydd y Gwair posed by planning application 2012/1221. The following images are reproduced with the kind permission of Carl Ryan:



    September 2012 (third update of the month)
    This is an update on the original posting about the 2012 planning application that has been recently submitted to Swansea Planning by RWE npower.

    Objections should be sent to Swansea Planning to arrive with them before 9th October 2012.

    The details that need to appear in your letter include:

    1. Your name & address.
    2. The planning application number: 2012/1221.
    3. The site address: Mynydd y Gwair, Swansea.
    4. Your reasons for objection.

    Objections containing the above information should be emailed to: David.Owen@swansea.gov.uk

    Or, alternatively, sent by post to:

    David Owen,
    DC Case Officer (Planning),
    Planning Services,
    The Environment Department,
    Civic Centre,
    Oystermouth Road,
    Swansea,
    SA1 3SN.

    A template letter, based on the objections many people have raised concerns about with SOCME, can be found here:
    Template objection form

    It would assist us if you email socme.org@googlemail.com to let us know when you have submitted an objection by post, so that we have some idea of the numbers of people sending in objections.



    September 2012 (second update of the month)
    A planning application for "16 wind turbines (maximum height to blade tip of 127 metres with a hub height of 80 metres), with associated tracks and ancillary infrastructure (including 80m high anemometer mast, electrical substation compound, hardstandings, transformers and underground cabling) and construction of new access track from A48 (Bolgoed Road at Pontarddulais) (approximately 14.54km in length) with improvements to 3.9km of existing road across Mynydd Pysgodlyn" was submitted to City and County of Swansea on 3rd September 2012.

    It has been given the planning application number 2012/1221.

    Further details, as they become available, including how to object, will be posted here.



    September 2012
    SOCME expect the new planning application, touched on in the June 2012 entry below, to be submitted this month.

    We will post a further update here in due course, including how to object to it.



    June 2012
    Sadly a new planning application, for 16 turbines on Mynydd y Gwair, looks set to be submitted to City and County of Swansea by RWE npower at some point later this summer.



    March 2012
    Judgement, which was reserved at the 14 February 2012 hearing at the Civil Appeals Office in Cardiff, has now been given:

    http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/311.html&query=mynydd+and+y+and+gwair&method=boolean

    The judgement upheld the decision to refuse planning permission for the 2008/1781 planning application.

    Whilst SOCME welcomes the judgement, and is glad that protecting the peat habitat of Mynydd y Gwair has been recognised as a legitimate reason for refusing planning permission on this beautiful, ecologically important, and peaceful common, we remain concerned about the risk of future planning applications being submitted.


    Images reproduced with kind permission of Carl Ryan



  • [Top of Page]
    Previous news updates (2004 - early 2012) form part of the Archived Pages
    Archived Pages