The Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Connection in Wales has become the third Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) supported by Copper to be given the go-ahead.
The 28.6km electricity transmission connection by Western Power Distribution has been granted consent by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The project comprises both overhead lines and underground cables between Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm Substation, being developed by RWE Innogy UK, and an existing overhead power line near Llandyfaelog.
The Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Connection Project is the third Development Consent Order (DCO) application on which Copper has worked to win approval, following the decision on National Grid’s Hinkley Point C Connection Project and the SP Manweb’s North Wales Wind Farms Connection Project early this year.
Copper has provided bilingual communications and consultation support for the Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Connection project for the last four years. Pre-application consultation started in summer 2013 and the Development Consent Order (DCO) application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2015.
- Pre-application consultation included three stages of consultation. In summer 2013, Stage 1 Consultation (non-statutory) was carried out with statutory consultees, elected representatives and public interest groups to help inform the selection of the route corridor options needed to connect the three wind farms that were, at that time, still proposed to the electricity network. Responses gathered during this stage of consultation led to the identification of the preferred route corridors.
- Stage 2 Consultation, carried out early 2014 enabled the public to have their say along with the consultees from Stage 1. Following the detailed analysis of all comments and feedback responses, and consideration of other technical, environmental, social and economic information, the selected preferred route alignment was announced in August 2014.
- Between November 2014 and January 2015, statutory consultation was carried out with the public, statutory consultees, potentially affected communities and landowners on the detailed proposal. The feedback received during this period of consultation helped shape the final design, which was subsequently submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the DCO application in May 2015.
- On 6 July 2016, the Planning Inspectorate issued a report of recommendation to the Secretary of State with the final decision announced to grant the DCO on 6 October 2016.
Copper’s Managing Director Linda Taylor said: “We are delighted that following a robust consultation process, the Secretary of State has granted consent for this project. We look forward to working with WPD and their stakeholders during the construction phase of the project.”
In total, Copper has supported, or is currently supporting, 12 NSIP projects as illustrated below: