A scheme to replace a wind turbine next to one of the main South Pembrokeshire roads to Tenby with one nearly 100 foot taller has been refused by county planners.

Tim French of CWE DS Limited sought permission to replace a current 60.5m high turbine with one up to 90 metres, or just under 300 foot, high on land north of Summerton Farm, near the B4318 road from Sageston to Tenby.

The application, some 1.5km east of Sageston and 1.6km northwest of St Florence, was recommended for refusal by Pembrokeshire County Council planners at their February 13 meeting, with an objection to the scheme by the council’s landscape officer recorded in an accompanying report.

Agent Neo Environmental Ltd, in a supporting statement, said: “Whilst there is no change in the rated output capacity compared to the existing turbine, energy production on-site would be greater due to the following factors: improved reliability of newer turbine technology; increased wind speeds at higher elevations; improved wind to energy conversion efficiency of newer turbine technology; and increased swept area of wind capture.”

Members heard the council’s landscape officer has disputed the applicant’s Landscape Visual Impact Assessment view the change in visual impact “for a very large turbine in a rural landscape” would be ‘slight’.

A report for planners also said supplementary planning guidance recommends a far larger scoping area for potential visual impacts on larger turbines; a much smaller 5km study area instead being used, adding the proposal “is considered to contain insufficient information to demonstrate that the development would not have an adverse cumulative visual impact”.

The application was recommended for refusal on the grounds its height and scale would have a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the locality, with the additional clause of failing to comply with supplementary guidance.

Councillor Michael Williams said the issue of visual impact would only affect the local area, which he described as “countryside of a high quality,” adding the impact would be “virtually to the coast”.

“The impact on the countryside would be massive,” he added, warning: “I really think we could create a dreadful precedent if we approve this application.”

The quality of supporting proposed visual impact images came in for criticism, with some merely showing the lower part of the turbine and its replacement, was described as “not particularly helpful,” committee chair Cllr Jacob Williams expressing his “amazement” the applicant’s agent would submit it.

The recommendation to refuse, moved by councillor Brian Hall, was unanimously approved by members.

During the meeting, Cllr John Davies said the authority was likely to see many similar applications in the future as turbines reached the end of their working lives and turbines were likely to become bigger to remain viable.