At Belltown Power we are committed to working with local communities and stakeholders to responsibly develop renewable energy projects that help to deliver Wales' and the UK’s climate change targets and ensure a green and sustainable future for generations to come.
The aim of this website is to provide easy access to the latest key project information as well as setting out how you can get involved and share your views. We look forward to hearing from you.
We are facing an unprecedented global climate crisis caused by the use of fossil fuels to power our societies. In the past 50 years weather induced disasters have increased 5-fold.
CO2 parts per million (ppm) have risen by 28% in the last 50 years. We need to urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent irreversible temperature rises and nature loss. As electrification of transport and heating continues, our demand for electricity will rise. It is vital we meet this increase, and existing demand, from renewable energy sources.
Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub has the potential to make a sizeable contribution to the decarbonisation of our electricity system and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, by producing enough energy to power 20,000 homes a year. That is roughly two-thirds of the homes in Ceredigion. This project is an opportunity for your community to contribute to tackling climate change in a significant way through hosting and part-owning a modern wind energy hub.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Sir David Attenborough
The site is located in southeast Ceredigion adjacent to the northern Carmarthenshire border, approximately 3.5km southeast of Llanddewi Brefi and 13km northeast of Lampeter. The site is currently managed commercial forestry with some open moorland used for sheep grazing. Both these activities will continue alongside the development proposal.
The majority of the site is located within Area 6 of the Pre-Assessed Areas (PAA) defined in Future Wales: The National Plan 2040.  This means that there is a ‘presumption in favour of large-scale wind energy development’ in these areas, since the Welsh Government has ‘modelled the likely impact on the landscape and has found them of being capable of accommodating development in an acceptable way.’
The project qualifies as a Development of National Significance (DNS), and as such the Planning Application will be ultimately determined by the Welsh Ministers. Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire County Councils will be two of the statutory consultees throughout the process.
Belltown Power’s Project Team are working closely with relevant specialists to carry out extensive site surveys and site assessments. This survey data will help refine the proposal which we will then consult on throughout 2023 as part of the Scoping process, with an anticipated planning application in 2024. The current layout comprises up to 6 turbines with tip heights up to 230m. These, together with an energy storage facility and habitat enhancements, collectively make up the Wind Energy Hub. The project has secured grid capacity, which would be via a new 33kV wood pole connection to Lampeter. The Scoping Report and all associated documents will soon be available on the Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) website (reference number CAS-02650-B0P0M9).
The proposed access route to the site for abnormal indivisible loads (such as blades, hub, nacelle and tower sections) will be from the port of origin (which is likely to be Swansea) via the M4, A48 and A40. Loads would turn off the public highway at Pumsaint and travel north for approximately 14km on a combination of existing commercial forestry tracks and new tracks to reach the wind farm location. No significant traffic flows will be associated with the operational phase of the site.
We will be carrying out informal public exhibitions in person on the 20th and 21st June at:
Location: Llanddewi Brefi, Tregaron, SY25 6RX
Location: Victoria Hall, Bryn Road, Lampeter, SA48 7EE
This consultation is an opportunity for local residents to learn more about the project and provide feedback which we will use to inform further work as the project progresses. If you are unable to make the in-person exhibitions, the material is available via the virtual exhibition link above, and we will welcome your feedback via email to email@example.com. There will be a second, formal, consultation in early 2024 before the final Planning Application is submitted.
First Consultation Events
Preparation of Planning Submission
Second Consultation Events
Target Planning Submission
Expected Planning Determination
Start Construction Target
Target Commercial Operation Date
At Belltown Power we fundamentally believe that renewable energy projects should benefit the communities that host them. We want to go beyond simply offering the opportunity for local investment into our projects and actually take demonstrable steps to enable the uptake of community ownership in a way that benefits everyone.
Communities local to the Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub will benefit through our groundbreaking community ownership scheme.
Belltown’s Community Ownership scheme includes:
In addition to this attractive ownership offering, we are committed to providing £5,000/MW per year (index linked) in Community Benefit for the lifetime of the project. In the case of Waun Maenllwyd, this represents £126,000 per year for 40 years (£5.04million Lifetime Community Benefit).
Depending on a community's need this could be part or wholly front loaded to support larger projects. For example, this flexible structure means the community benefit package could be used to:
Education: Inspiring the next generation
We believe passionately in education and have been running the Belltown Education Programme since 2015 with the aim of inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists who will tackle the climate emergency. This programme already supports 15 schools local to our sites and we intend to continue to expand this to all new projects that we are developing, including Waun Maenllwyd.
Near to our Tirgwynt site in Powys, the Carno Primary School faced closure due to the condition of temporary buildings they were using. Due to our flexible community benefit offering we were able to substitute some of the annual payments with a larger, upfront payment which enabled the construction of a new school building, allowing the local school to continue to serve the community for future generations.
Everyone at Belltown Power is involved in the renewable energy industry through a desire to tackle the climate crisis and nature emergency. In addition to powering over 20,000 homes and saving 30,364 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year,  we will design and implement a comprehensive and tailored Habitat Management Plan to ensure that Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub delivers a net ecological benefit, through careful habitat design, creation and management.
To date this approach has shown great ecological success across our operating portfolio and our sites have won awards for their quality, biodiversity, and good practice within the industry, including the UK’s first construction wildlife award from the Wildlife Trusts for the high standard of environmental management and commitment to protecting and enhancing the wildlife.
Opportunities for Local businesses and Suppliers
Belltown Power is committed to providing material benefit to the communities that host them. To ensure this happens, we will use local supply chain where they meet the project’s HSEQ requirements and where they are within 10% of the best quote tendered.
There are a wide range of services and suppliers required to build and operate a wind farm, including but not limited to:
Meet the Buyer
Through our public consultation exhibitions and engagement with Chambers Wales and regional business representatives we aim to identify and engage with local companies and supply chain who may be interested in getting involved in this scheme.
In due course, we will be holding “Meet the Buyer” events where you can meet the project team, we can learn more about your business and we can discuss opportunities to work together. If you would like to know more we would love to hear from you. All you need to do fill in our registration form or leave a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be in contact to collect further details and answer any questions.
We are proposing up to six turbines, that will have the capacity to generate 25.2MW. This is enough to power 20,000 homes. We are currently proposing turbines with a maximum tip height of 230m. However, feedback from our initial consultation expressed concern about the number and height of the proposed turbines, and we are taking this into consideration as we continue to revise the scheme.
As part of our Environmental Impact Assessment, we have been undertaking detailed bird and ecology surveys across the site and the immediate area for the last two years, which will directly inform the location and type of turbines we propose for the scheme. The findings of these surveys as assessments will be detailed in our draft Environmental Statement (ES), which will be available for people to review and comment on during the statutory consultation phase.
We are continuing to refine our plans for the site and will not place turbines or infrastructure where key habitats are identified, or in areas where collision risk modelling suggests there would be an unacceptable risk for the bird species studied. If planning consent is granted, an Environmental Clerk of Works (ECoW) would be on site during construction and, should any sensitive species be encountered, the ECoW will advise appropriate buffers from work fronts to avoid disturbance.We will additionally commit to a habitat management plan which ensures an increase in key habitat areas as part of the development.
We have also been undertaking detailed peat surveys which has shown there to be almost no good quality peatland habitat on site, which is to be expected due to the dewatering effects of commercial forestry. Turbines and infrastructure will be carefully sited, using this survey data, to minimise any peat disturbance and avoid any good quality peatland habitat. As such, we are confident we can design a site that has no significant impact on blanket bog.
Our specialist transport engineers have undertaken several detailed assessments of the possible routes to reach site. Turning off at Pumsaint and travelling along existing and new forestry track to reach the site from the south is the least disruptive route to take given the length of the proposed turbine blades and tower sections, and prioritising this southern route will also help to minimise the amount of construction traffic along the rural roads around Llanddewi Brefi.
Nonetheless, we fully appreciate that, for a limited time during construction, we will be adding more traffic to the existing logging lorries in the local area. During deliveries, we will operate a text alert service for local residents to inform them of each turbine delivery as it is confirmed with Dyfed-Powys Police so they can plan their day accordingly. During operation, traffic associated with the wind farm will be limited to one or two small maintenance vehicles once a month or so.
We understand there is concern about the visual impact of the site and the size of the turbines. One of the reasons this site was chosen is because it is in one of the Welsh Government’s Pre-Assessed Areas (PAA), which the government has identified as part of the Future Wales National Development Framework as areas capable of accommodating large-scale onshore wind turbines from a landscape perspective.
Being part of a PAA doesn’t change the need for a detailed assessment of the site’s impacts, and as part of our formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) our landscape architects complete a thorough landscape and visual impact assessment of the project which will include evaluating the visual impact of the turbines from key locations including local residential areas. Where required, this assessment will include photomontage images showing the turbines in the landscape, and these images will be submitted as part of the publicly available ES, which will also be consulted on during our statutory pre-application consultation next year. In the meantime, our in-person and virtual exhibitions, held during the initial informal consultation in mid 2023, included indicative views from Lampeter and the Cistercian Way in Llanddewi Brefi (available to view on the project website). These viewpoints were chosen to demonstrate the areas where the visual impact of the project is likely to be most significant, as in many areas of the village the turbines are likely to be completely screened by vegetation and topography.
The height of the turbines we are proposing is determined largely by market forces. Since the removal of subsidies in 2017, manufacturers have had to focus on larger turbines in order to make onshore wind financially viable again. As a result, they are phasing out manufacture of smaller turbines and so current site development needs to ensure that the turbines proposed will be available at the time sites could start construction. This has fed into the turbine sizing proposed on Waun Maenllwyd.
The site sits within one of the Welsh Government’s Pre-Assessed Areas, which has been identified as an area capable of accommodating large-scale onshore wind development from a landscape perspective, as well as having a suitable wind resource which lends itself to development of this type.
The Welsh Government has also set a target for Wales to generate 100% of the electricity it consumes from renewable sources by 2035. To meet this ambition, we need additional onshore wind, as well offshore wind, solar PV, energy storage, hydrogen and electric vehicles, together with energy efficiency. To tackle the Climate Emergency that Wales and other UK and international governments have declared, we must make progress during the 2020s. Onshore wind is the fastest and most easily deployable renewable energy that we have at our disposal now and therefore we feel that the Waun Maenllwyd Energy Hub can help to play a part in meeting these goals, reducing the UK’s dependency on foreign energy sources and ensure a greater level of stability in energy prices in the longer term. Unfortunatley offshore wind is more expensive and takes significantly longer to develop, consent and construct.
The project will connect to the local grid network via a 33kV overhead line running to Lampeter. The cable will be supported on wooden poles, like those already in the area. We have no proposals to erect large pylons as part of this project. The exact connection route will be designed by National Grid over the next few years and will be subject to its own planning application process, including public consultations.
At Belltown Power we fundamentally believe that renewable energy projects should benefit the communities that host them, and we are proposing two separate offerings to realise this.
Firstly, we guarantee £5,000 (index-linked) per year of community benefit funding for every MW of capacity. Waun Maenllwyd has a capacity of 25.2MW, which equates to around £126,000 every year index linked, or around £5 million over the 40-year lifetime of the project. We look to work with the local communities to identify community benefit initiatives that can have a meaningful impact and legacy, whether that is through the Community Benefit Fund, local electricity discounts, education, local businesses or enhancing the local environment. The feedback received so far shows a strong interest in a local energy discount scheme and using funds to support community groups and youth groups. We intend further develop these ideas and consult further on our proposal in the next phase of consultation.
Over the coming months, we will work closely with relevant local councils, stakeholders, community groups and others to identify areas or issues which could be addressed through the proposed community benefit fund. While we expect the majority of the funding will be focused on the area around Llanddewi Brefi as the site’s host community, we are keen to hear views on how best to apportion shares to neighbouring communities as well.
Secondly, we are also committed to giving 1% of the project ownership to local communities for free and offering a further 4% ownership at cost (discounted from market value). Further ownership will be available at market value if there is appetite from the local community. Again, we will be seeking to discuss this offer with local councils and stakeholders in the coming weeks and months to understand the level of interest in this offer as well as the best way for communities to make the most of this.
As part of our plans for Waun Maenllwyd Energy Hub we will be establishing a Community Benefit Fund which will help to support projects and tackle issues in local communities around the site. Further details about this fund will be confirmed as we progress through the planning stages of the project, however, we would be keen to speak with anyone with an interest or experience in operating Community Benefit Funds or similar initiatives in the area through the early consultation process.
Belltown has no plans to expand the proposed Waun Maenllwyd site beyond the 25.2MW scheme currently proposed, and no plans for other projects in the area. Like Waun Maenllwyd, every project that is proposed by any developer will undergo a rigorous planning application process and is ultimately assessed on its own merits by Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW), who will subsequently make a recommendation to the Welsh Ministers as to whether to grant planning permission or not.
As the project will deliver in excess of 10MW of wind energy, it will constitute a Development of National Significance (DNS) under the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 and Belltown Power must apply to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW, formerly the Planning Inspectorate Wales), which will make a recommendation to Welsh Ministers on whether planning permission should be granted.
Ultimately, Welsh Ministers will decide whether or not to approve the application, however many other parties will have the opportunity to influence the proposals, including the host local authority, Ceredigion County Council, as well as local communities and interested parties.
Our proposed timeline is available on our website here.
We are aiming to submit our proposals to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) in 2024. PEDW will then review our planning application and make a recommendation to Welsh Ministers, who will decide whether or not to grant planning consent. The construction timeline depends on when a final decision on whether to grant planning permission is made, which can take 12 months or longer. There may also be further conditions that we have to meet as part of the planning process. We hope to begin construction in early 2026, and begin commercial operation in late 2027.
The planning application will include a detailed assessment of the net carbon impact of the development using robust government methodologies. This will include consideration of the carbon emissions from the manufacturing, transport, construction and decommissioning of the turbines and site infrastructure, as well as loss of carbon sequestration potential from any tree felling and peat disturbance. Generally, these assessments show the carbon emissions from manufacturing, transport, construction, decommissioning, and loss of carbon sequestration are paid back by the carbon saving from replacing fossil-fuel power generation in approximately 1-2 years of the windfarm operating, and we expect this site to be the same. These assessments also show, for UK wind farms, that the carbon savings over their operational life are many orders of magnitude higher than even the most pristine blanket bog.
If consented, Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub would be in place for 40 years after construction. At the end of its life, the site may be repowered and continue to generate energy, or the turbines will be fully decommissioned and removed from the area.
In order for the site to be repowered, a further planning application would need to be submitted, considered and consented.
It is hard to know what the best practice will be for decommissioning that far in the future, but every effort will be made to recycle or re-use components before anything is sent to landfill. The UK is committed to developing at least one specialist wind turbine blade recycling/re-use facility by 2030, and the industry is actively moving towards a circular economy model through the work of the Coalition for Wind Industry Circularity.
In addition to working with local councils to ensure that the decommissioning process is as smooth as possible, a financial fund will also be put aside for decommissioning so that, in the unlikely event that Belltown was to go in bankruptcy, the windfarm would still be decommissioned safely. This decommissioning fund will be calculated by an independent surveyor and agreed with the Council.
As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, our specialist consultants will carefully consider the potential impact of both noise and shadow flicker. After measuring background noise data in the area, they can accurately model the turbine conditions and any effects that may result. The primary mitigation for noise and shadow flicker is ensuring the turbines are not placed too close to residential properties, which we seek to ensure through our careful site selection process as well as refinements to design in response to engagement with statutory bodies and wider public consultation and engagement. If required however, mitigation can also be put in place to reduce the impacts, including turning turbines off for a limited time in certain conditions to ensure no unacceptable noise or shadow flicker impacts. Any proposed mitigations would also be included in our draft ES, so that local residents could see and understand what we are planning to minimise the impact of these issues.
We are aware of some questions regarding potential impacts of infrasound from wind turbines. Infrasound has a frequency less than 20Hz, which is typically outside normal human hearing. Wind turbines can create some infrasound, but no more so than many manmade sources like traffic, trains, bridges and machinery, and natural sources including thunder, waves and the wind itself.
A recent review of 69 academic studies published since 2017 regarding infrasound and wind turbines (van Kamp and van den Berg, 2021) concluded that infrasound in high enough quantities can have the same effects as normal sound – it can be annoying and cause some difficulty in getting to sleep. However, these effects are present only at a much higher volume of sound than the wind turbines proposed for Waun Maenllwyd can produce. There were also no confirmed links between infrasound and physical responses such as heart rate, metabolic effects (diabetes) and mental health.
To reduce potential for pollution, appropriate setbacks are maintained from all watercourses on site. Additionally, as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, private water supplies in the area will be assessed to avoid any possible run-off pollution. Good practice mitigation measures will also be put in place throughout the site construction and operation to ensure there is no run-off into watercourses or the environment.
In 2021 a small Norwegian group calling themselves The Turbine Group (TTG) created a document which has since been circulated wider on the internet. The document isn’t peer-reviewed and incorrectly extrapolates data from a paper by researchers at Strathclyde University (Pugh & Stack, 2021) to suggest that turbine blades could shed significant amounts of microplastics and bisphenol A (BPA) over their lifetimes. The original Strathclyde study was designed to give an indication of the comparative operational conditions for wind farms across the UK, as a way to visualise potential geographical differences in turbine maintenance requirements. The study sought to analyse the impact of rain on a small sample of material that is often found within the internal structure of a wind turbine blade. The study was carried out under conditions that reflected the rain impacts the leading edge of the tip of a wind turbine blade may experience.
The tip experiences the worst impact from rain as it is moving faster than the rest of the turbine blade. Erosion of a wind turbine blade’s surface from the impact of rain would reduce the amount of energy a turbine could produce and increase the maintenance costs, and so wind turbine blade manufacturers paint blades with an epoxy-free resin topcoat (which does not contain BPA) to prevent erosion like this. Modern turbine blades often also include Leading Edge Protection (LEP) – a gel barrier underneath the topcoat that absorbs energy from the rain impacts, further preventing erosion. Operators also carry out regular inspections of the blades to check for erosion and repair it to ensure maximum operational efficiency. As an example, of their more than 3,500 onshore turbine blades SSE (the largest operator of onshore wind in the UK) has only seen 21 instances of any internal epoxy-resin structure being exposed (less than 0.6% of blades). That included older turbines that did not have LEP, and so the occurrence rate is likely to be even lower for modern turbines.
TTG incorrectly applied the results of the Strathclyde study along the whole length of a turbine blade to reach their figures for estimated emissions from turbine blades. As well as overestimating erosion by assuming the same rate is experienced along the whole blade length as at the tip, it also overestimates given that the Strathclyde study samples had no paint topcoat or LEP. Further overestimation is introduced as TTG’s document assumes that turbines would be operating at maximum speed during all rainfall.
When epoxy resin is hardened during the manufacture process, the resin (and therefore the BPA compounds within it) are turned from a liquid into a solid. As a result, there are negligible amounts of residual BPA in turbine blades that could ever be emitted in the event that topcoat, LEP and preventative maintenance all failed to prevent blade erosion to the point that the internal material were to be exposed. Any residual BPA traces exposed to sunlight, air or water would quickly biodegrade.
Subsequently for the above reasons, the research academics at Strathclyde have confirmed that they 'cannot endorse the predictions’ of the TTG document and that the TTG ‘calculations need to be refined downwards quite significantly.’
If consented, Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub will use the most up to date turbine technology and maintenance practices to ensure the appropriate standards are met throughout the project.
Any wind turbines taller than 150m tip height require visible aviation lighting and this includes Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub. The effect of aviation lighting will be carefully considered as part of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment in the overall Environmental Impact Assessment, which will create images of the project at nighttime from key areas as agreed with National Resources Wales and the local council so that the impact can be fully considered when determining the planning application.
There are three Dark Sky Discovery Sites within 15km of the project, but none are expected to have visibility of the turbines due to topographical screening.
The lights themselves will be red, stationary on top of the turbine hub, and shielded to minimise visibility to the sides and below.
There is no strong evidence to suggest the presence of wind farms negatively affects tourism in an area. Indeed, some wind farms have visitor centres to attract tourists to the area. The socio-economic impact of the proposals, including any potential impact on tourism and related businesses, will be studied and reported on as part of our Environmental Impact Assessment, which will subsequently be included in our draft Environmental Statement (ES). The draft ES will be available for members of the public, stakeholders and other interested parties to review and comment on as part of our statutory consultation process.
There is no clear consensus among academic studies about the impact of turbines on property prices. Although a 2014 study suggested that house prices could grow up to 5-6% more slowly if they were within 4km of turbines, the methodology used was somewhat simplistic, so the results aren’t completely reliable. The study assumed turbine visibility is the key driver for impact to house prices, but didn’t account for buildings or other structures obstructing turbine views so not all the properties considered had views of turbines. It also analysed data on a postcode level only, effectively assuming that all properties within a postcode are interchangeable.
A more recent study in Scotland found that there was no effect on house prices within a 4km radius of turbines, and there was in fact a slight benefit to house prices where turbines were visible 4-5km away. This study updated and refined the methodology used in 2014. We will ensure that Waun Maenllwyd turbines are sited as sensitively as possible to minimise views of turbines in the local area.
Belltown Power UK is a British owned company with headquarters in Bristol. Profits from the scheme will be distributed to our shareholders and employees.
Belltown wants to enable local ownership of the projects we develop. One per cent of the Waun Maenllwyd project is available for free, a further 4% at cost (discounted from market price), and further equity will be available at market price if there is appetite in the area. The remainder of the developed project is owned by the Joint Venture Belltown have with investment partner Foresight Group.
We have already undertaken a phase of informal consultation and before we can submit the application, we are required to undertake a period of statutory consultation. This will take place in the first half of 2024 and will be an opportunity for people to review the findings and proposed mitigations within our draft Environmental Statement, as well as submit their views, questions, or concerns about the project.
We will write to residents directly giving them more details about our plans and how they can attend consultation events and provide feedback. Information will also be posted on social media, via the website, issued via email through our updates mailing list and in local newspapers.
We are committed to engaging openly and honestly, in as accessible and inclusive a way as possible and would therefore encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about the project or providing their views to get in touch. The best way to do this is via email to email@example.com.
At this early stage it is difficult to put a number on exactly how many jobs will be created, but this will be calculated and presented in our planning application. Our proposals will, however, generate a significant boost to the local economy. To ensure that we generate the maximum economic impact in the areas surrounding the site, we will be looking to build up a network of local suppliers to take forward into the procurement stage, should we receive planning consent. Of equal importance to us will be working with a wide range of stakeholders to identify how the project can support jobs and training opportunities directly as well as through the wider supply chain, demonstrating our commitment to the local and regional economy.
We encourage local businesses and suppliers to get in touch with us or to register as a local business through our feedback form.