Scottish Power's renewed planning application, still using the route through Eardisley, was send to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change some months ago.
It has now moved from the desk of the S of S to the next stage. There is going to be a Public Inquiry into proposals for 6 wind farm sites in Wales. One of these is the site at Llandinam. Scottish Power’s original proposal submitted to the Inquiry stated the company’s intention to take its oversized transports through Eardisley in order to refit the Llandinam site.
The Parish Council has opposed the Scottish Power application since March 2010, in order to protect Eardisley from the serious effects of parking restrictions on village life – risk to viability of shops, increased traffic speed, risk to pedestrians, etc.
However, we have just heard from Scottish Power that it is now proposing to use a route through Wales without coming into Herefordshire at any point.
The Parish Council Group has sent an outline statement of our objections to the Public Inquiry Inspector and will present detailed evidence to the Inquiry in September if it is necessary. We will maintain the position of being ready to present oral evidence at the Inquiry until such time as it is proven that that Scottish Power has no longer any intention of using the route through our village.
This could be very good news, but we will stay vigilant until it is truly over.
As of 13th February 2012, it is now extremely unlikely that we shall have to face the problem of oversized loads for wind turbine sites in Wales going through our village. There is a recommendation before the Welsh National Assembly that transport routes for turbine parts, for the sites already projected, should not originate in South Wales. The recommendation includes alternative routes, all originating at Ellesmere Port.
For many months, Herefordshire Council has strongly opposed the southern route because of the consequences for Herefordshire. The effect of the recommendation before the Welsh Assembly, combined with HC's opposition, means the transports should not come our way. There will from time to time undoubtedly be further attempts by rogue contractors to come through Eardisley, but our allies have stronger grounds now for refusal.
There remains the proposal that a small site at Pentre Tump, which lies outside the Welsh National Plan, should be serviced from the south by a route through Eardisley. Herefordshire Council is also strongly opposed to their use of this route and, in any event, the site does not have planning permission. Should permission be granted there will be provisions for transport along designated routes which do not affect Eardisley.
Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to remove this threat to our shops and to the leisure activities that make Eardisley a fine place to live.
As of 13th July 2011 the news remains very good for Eardisley. The Welsh Assembly (WA) plus all the contractors interested in Welsh wind farm development are working on the statement of strategy for moving components. It is due for completion in September or October. As far as we know, Scottish Power (SP) is not participating in this development. If this is true, SP will find itself squeezed out once the strategic plan is put into operation. If SP has decided to participate, they will be committing to abide by the terms of the strategy in any Wind farm programme they undertake. Either way, Eardisley is likely to win because the route from the south via Eardisley is not well regarded by the WA or any of the other contractors.
However, nothing is certain until the ink is dry on the agreement, so we and Herefordshire Council (HC) are watching the situation carefully. HC remains adamant that the road through Eardisley will not be used for wind farm component transport.
On 21st April 2011 the PC Working group met with Clive Hall and Andrew Lee-Jones . They told us about the meeting of the Transportation Working Group (TWG) which took place on the 18th April in Shrewsbury. This TWG meeting was attended by representatives of the Welsh Assembly (WA); Traffic managers of all the county authorities affected by possible wind farm transportation routes, including Clive Hall from Herefordshire; Powys and Herefordshire police; and interested contractors including Andrew Lee-Jones from Amey/Herefordshire. Scottish Power was not present at this meeting.
As a outcome of the meeting, Herefordshire Council (HC) is now involved with other affected local authorities and the Welsh Assembly in making a realistic assessment of the use of roads in the region, in order to arrive at a strategic statement for the most appropriate transport access routes to all proposed wind farm sites in Wales. The creation of an overall strategy means there will be guidelines for contractors submitting planning applications. These guidelines will ensure that local authorities’ concerns about the social, commercial and safety implications of transporting oversized loads on their roads will be taken into account. It is interesting to note that at this TWG meeting no authorities, contractors or police were in favour of the Eardisley route.
For the first time in a year we now have real reason for optimism. In the presence of strategic guidelines agreed by the WA and a large number of authorities and the police, it is unlikely that Scottish Power will be able to pursue any route that does not meet those guidelines.
However, the strategic statement is not likely to be compiled for at least 6 months. There may appear to be a strong possibility that the route through Eardisley will not be acceptable within the terms of the statement, BUT in the meantime, there is nothing in writing.
Also, Scottish Power has not made any statement to the effect that they are no longer considering the Eardisley route. And they are unlikely to give such a statement to any authority but the Welsh Assembly.
You may have heard or read a message saying that Scottish Power will have to refit sites via Newtown from the north and not travel through Eardisley. That message is not accurate at this time.
So, although we can be more optimistic than before, Eardisley is not entirely safe yet.
As of 31 October no minutes have been received for the meeting of the Transportation Working Group on 28th July. Also, no date has been set for the next meeting of that group which should have taken place by the end of October. This may be because Scottish Power has been unable to break the determination of both Powys and Herefordshire to not allow use of their roads for these oversized loads, and therefore has no route to recommend for its planning permission.
A meeting took place in October between the Parish Council Working Group and Bill Wiggin, MP, Clive Hall and Cllr Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council. Several useful clarifications were made. The next stage may be that the matter is referred to The Secretary of State for Transport for a decision about which county's roads may be used. If this happens, Bill Wiggin has agreed to speak to the S of S in favour of Eardisley. If a decision goes against Herefordshire it could be taken to a judicial review. There is a view that Scottish Power may pull out altogether because of the mounting costs of the project. A longer report of this meeting will be available shortly.
The reports produced by the transport company Collett for Scottish Power on the trials through Eardisley on 4th and 5th May are ready at last. Read them here.
On 13th July two representatives of Scottish Power (SP) came to a meeting which they had set up with the 4 shop keepers in the centre of the village. Their purpose for the meeting was "to work out possible ways in which, in the event of turbine traffic going through Eardisley, there could be least disruption to the village". It was extremely arrogant of SP to avoid working with the elected Parish Council and to assume the shop keepers represented the village and could negotiate a settlement.
In the meeting, SP said they never pay compensation to individuals but said it is their practice to set up a trust fund for communities in the area of developing wind farm sites. In this case, they were suggesting that the County in which the farm is sited might be willing to give up half of their wind farm payment, in order to set up the fund. This is unlikely to happen! In any case the sum mentioned - £90,000 - is too small a fund to provide any significant benefit which would outweigh the damage to Eardisley caused by the parking restrictions SP require.
SP also described Eardisley as similar to Maybole (nearly twice the size of Kington) on the A77 in Scotland, saying the loads went through that 'village' at night and caused no problems. David Perridge, West Mercia Inspector of Police subsequently said the terrain in that area is wide open and the traffic is light compared to this area, therefore the motorcycle outriders do not face the dangers that they face in undulating, hedge-lined Herefordshire roads. He is adamant that WM Police will not agree to night journeys. As a negotiation, and as a public relations exercise SP has achieved nothing by this meeting. On the contrary, some village people are even more angry.
On 9th July 2010 the Parish Council Working Group met with 2 representatives of Herefordshire's Highways section . The purpose of the meeting was to investigate whether, if this route is chosen, there is any way of restricting parking in Eardisley, without harming the life of the village in any way. The conversation was positive but has not reached the desired 'Plan B' outcome yet.
The group decided to meet again in August and, in the meantime, that both Hereford CC and Eardisley PC Working Group will continue to do everything possible to achieve 'Plan A' which is NOT to have the loads pass through the village at all.
A meeting regarding Transport of Wind Turbine Components was held in Eardisley Village Hall on Tuesday 8th June. Read the report of this latest meeting.
At this time NO decision has been reached about the use of the route through Eardisley. On 21st and 22nd June trials were held of another route southwards from Ellesmere Port. It appears that traffic management plans will be drawn up by Scottish Power to help them assess further the suitability of each route considered. To that end the main road through Eardisley is being surveyed.
Read the minutes of the meeting 31 March 2010 about the proposal for transport of wind turbine components through Eardisley.
Read the background to the meeting 31 March 2010 about the proposal for transport of wind turbine components through Eardisley.