Anglesey MS Rhun ap Iorwerth used an Individual Member’s debate in the Senedd yesterday (October 13) to call on the Welsh Government to insist that developers of energy projects must prove the community benefits of their proposed developments.

Mr ap Iorwerth said this should be carried out by having to conduct community impact assessments and present a community-benefit plan as part of the planning process.

He said: “I have no doubt that Anglesey can make a major contribution to solar energy developments, but the reality is that the plans on the table are going to leave a huge footprint on areas of the countryside with very, very little benefit to the communities.

“There are few jobs, and no expectation of wider benefit financially or otherwise.

“That is why I led a debate today calling on Welsh Government, either through new regulations or legislation, to insist that developers of energy projects must prove the community benefit of their proposed developments by having to conduct a community impact assessment and present a community benefit plan as part of the planning process.”

In response to the motion being passed unopposed later yesterday afternoon, Mr ap Iorwerth added: "I'm delighted that the motion was passed unopposed, including Government support.

“This certainly strengthens the case for ensuring that the needs and concerns of communities are put at the heart of decisions on energy projects, and that benefits must come to host communities.”

There are currently several active planning proposals for renewable energy projects on Anglesey.

Low Carbon UK has proposed a seven-site solar park development covering 300 acres surrounding Llyn Traffwll, Llanfair yn Neubwll, an area with Special Scientific Interest status.

The development proposes to create energy generation capacity of 35MW, but campaigners are concerned of the long-term impact the plans would have on the community, as well as on biodiversity.

Hywel Hughes, a ‘Save Our Countryside - Say NO To Traffwll Solar Parc’ campaigner, is opposing the plans, and said: “One of the reasons we oppose these plans is that the proposed scheme does not create long-term jobs and therefore does not bring economic benefit to the local area.

“If no jobs are created, then the community should benefit from other means - either through shared ownership, cheaper electricity, or significant financial investment.

“The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act is very strongly in favour of creating viable and sustainable communities and from what we see, there is a real danger that these solar schemes drive Welsh speakers from their communities.

“These developments are usually driven by developers from outside of Wales who do not understand or value the history and heritage of the area where they intend to transform them.

“We are, therefore, fully supportive of Rhun ap Iorwerth’s proposal to ensure that there is no long-term benefit to those communities that have to live with such developments.”