SP Manweb’s North Wales Wind Farms Connection Project was granted permission today by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
This Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) will provide 18km of new power lines to connect several new wind farms in the Clocaenog Forest area to the national electricity grid at St Asaph in North Wales.
The North Wales Wind Farms Connection Project is the second Development Consent Order (DCO) application on which Copper has worked to win approval this year, following the decision on National Grid’s Hinkley Point C Connection Project in January.
In total, Copper has supported (or is currently supporting) 12 NSIP projects – the next milestone is a decision on Western Power Distribution’s Brechfa Forest Connection Project which is expected in October. Both the Glyn Rhonwy Pumped Storage project and the North London Heat and Power Project are currently going through examination with other projects currently at the pre-consultation or consultation phases (see illustrative map below).
Copper has provided communications and consultation support for the North Wales project for the last four years. Consultation started in June 2012 and the application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in March 2015. Pre-application consultation included two stages of non-statutory consultation on the route corridor options and then on the preferred route corridor. Statutory consultation on the preferred route alignment was carried out in spring 2014.
The last stage of consultation included two route alignments, one of which was identified by members of the community during the second stage of consultation. Having investigated this route in depth, SP Manweb concluded that it performed better than the route originally identified, demonstrating the ability of genuine community engagement to make improve project proposals.
Copper Regional Director Linda Taylor said: “We are delighted that after thorough consultation, which led directly to an alternative route preferred by local people, the Secretary of State has granted consent for this project.”
More information regarding the North Wales Wind Farms Connection Project can be found at www.nwwindfarmsconnection.co.uk