POWYS County Council has withdrawn objections to five windfarm projects subject to a public inquiry leading to accusations of “surrender” from campaigners.
The move means the council is no longer opposing the construction of windfarms at Llandinam, Carnedd Wen, Llaithddu, Llanbrynmair, or a 132kv power line from Llandinam to Welshpool.
The decision effectively paves the way for all five projects to go ahead.
However, the council is still objecting to plans for a windfarm at Llanbadarn Fynydd.
All the applications are currently subject to a public inquiry at Welshpool, which was triggered by objections from Powys County Council (PCC) in 2012.
Those objections were agreed by a majority vote of the council’s elected members.
Although a number of objections have been addressed by developers throughout the inquiry the council has signed an agreement with representatives of all five windfarms withdrawing its opposition to their projects on the basis of their ‘cumulative effect’.
It is estimated the council’s decision to trigger the inquiry has left it facing a legal bill of more that £2 million.
One windfarm developer told the County Times he believed the council had taken the decision to avoid being held liable for multi million pound legal costs from developers if the inquiry finds the authority’s opposition was ‘unreasonable’.
He speculated that the council’s costs could have risen to as much as £20 million.
Richard Bonfield, of The Alliance, an anti-windfarm organisation made up of a number of protest groups, said the members felt betrayed by the council’s decision.
He said: “I am staggered at the position the council is now taking.
“I have spoken to many county councillors who are totally unaware of the change of position and were of the belief that the council was fighting every inch of the way.
“Who is driving the council’s policy on this?
“It is certainly not the elected representatives.
“It is a surrender and I think it is a betrayal of everyone who has campaigned to stop the irrevocable damage these projects will cause.”