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23 September 2013
Pupils on the trail at Pen y Cymoedd

Pupils are on the trail at Pen y Cymoedd

School children within the Upper Afan Valley Federation have visited the site of the Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project, to explore the site of a new mountain bike trail.

Pupils from Croeserw Primary School, Cymer Afan Primary School, Glyncorrwg Primary School and Pen Afan Primary School, were given a special tour of the planned trail that will cut through the Pen y Cymoedd site, by energy developer Vattenfall.

The visit was part of a naming competition that Vattenfall is running across the four schools. The energy developer has called upon the help of Years 5 and 6 pupils to name sections of the new mountain bike trail and to create a logo for each section.

Guided by Vattenfall and Natural Resources Wales staff, the pupils walked through the forestry and completed activities to help inspire their entries for the competition. They also learned how managed forestry trees on site were being felled and used for building materials or bio fuel.

The Pen y Cymoedd project is investing £350,000 in the new mountain bike trail, which is planned for completion before the wind farm construction begins in February 2014. The trail will receive long-term funding for 10 years after its completion.

Rob Appleby, Coordinator of the Upper Afan Valley Federation, said:

“We are very grateful to the Vattenfall team for taking the time and effort to show our pupils around the site. It has been very beneficial for them to see firsthand how the mountain bike trail is going to unfold. The visit really helped the children to think creatively about the competition and they’re all very excited about their entries.”

Stephen Holdroyd, Senior Development Manager for the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project, added:

“This is one of many activities that we are undertaking in the Neath Port Talbot area, where we are trying to engage with local schools to make a contribution to the pupils’ studies.

“We are committed to the communities in which we operate and want to benefit local people and organisations as much as possible. We’ve really enjoyed working with the pupils and can’t wait to see all of their entries for our mountain bike trail competition.”

The Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project received consent from the UK Government in May 2012 and will be the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales. Construction of the 76-turbine scheme will commence in 2014 and the wind farm is expected to be operational during 2016. The project straddles the county boroughs of Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot.

Once the wind farm starts generating electricity in 2016-2017, the project will introduce a local community fund which is currently worth £1.8m per annum and will be in place for the 25 year life of the project. The project team will be working with local people over the next three years to develop the fund in a way that meets the communities’ priorities and needs for the future.

Local people and interested parties are encouraged to ‘join the conversation’, regarding the community fund, through Conversation Wales website conversationwales.vattenfall.co.uk and the Pen y Cymoedd twitter account @PenyCymoedd.

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