The community wind farm originated in a Local Agenda 21 meeting organised by the local Council in 1998. Local people suggested ‘wind power not opencast’.
A group of volunteers took the project forward and secured funding from the Department for Trade and Industry as it was then to undertake a year of consultation.
Over 6,000 people got engaged in a range of ways in the debate. 300 visited wind farms on coaches; public meetings were held in each village; structured and semi-structured interviews, open days, work with schools were held; and leaflet drops were organised to every house.
A couple of comments from the consultation: ‘Well boys, what have we got to lose!’ (man in Cwmllynfell public meeting turning to the rest of the audience).
An 82-year-old woman telephoned the project to say: ‘We’ve put up with the noise and the dust from these pits for years. What are we worried about a few windmills singing in the wind?’
At the end of the year, AAT commissioned the Electoral Reform Services to undertake an independent referendum. The results of the community referendum demonstrated that a clear majority of people supported the idea of a community wind farm. The high level of local involvement was demonstrated by the large turnout at the referendum (48.5% of people voted).
We were selected as a case study for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in Sept 2002 and included in planning guidance on wind energy published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005.
As we have developed, we have broadened our work to include all forms of renewable energy, energy efficiency and awareness raising through the arts.
We received our planning consent in 2009 (renewed in 2014) and Common Land consent in 2012.