Wearing my Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales hat again. And had a bit of success in our campaign to raise awareness of the shambles that underpins the system of electricity cabling to wind farms in Mid Wales. Since Anwen ran the story last Wednesday in the Shropshire Star, starting things off, BBC Online ran it on their Wales site, Sally Williams wrote a two page feature in today's Western Mail, and I did the Richard Evans phone-in between noon and one today.
I was on the phone-in with Gordon James of FoE, who is a great enthusiast for wind turbines. He is entirely honest about his belief that wind farms and the necessary associated pylons are a small price to pay in the battle against climate change. He tells us that the people of Mid Wales had better get used to them. Only irritation I felt was when he attempoted to tell us what the CPRW stands for. I think we know that better than he does. Attempts to re-define opponents arguments is usually a sign of someone not confident in their own. Anyway I didn't take the bait, and stuck to the point.
And the point is that the Assembly Government's policy is a complete shambles, with zilch regard for the landscape. If we are going to have these wind farms, (and the Government has decided that we are), the environmental impact of the cabling should be minimised. Of course Gordon James insisted he agreed with this. But he doesn't know what's actually happening on the ground. Planning permission is being granted to wind farms as they come in, which then require Scottish Power to provide a connection to the Grid to carry the electricity out, all of it on an ad hoc basis. Everyone seems to believe that the National Grid has to be extended into Mid Wales, with a 400kv line being built between somewhere in Shropshire, (The current 400 kv Grid line runs from Chester to Ironbrigde Power Station) and somewhere near Carno in Mid Wales - but no-one seems to know whats happening about this. So we're going to have hideous 132 power lines running all over the place, as these wind warms are being brought into service on an ad hoc basis, while National Grid dithers. Its sacrilege. Its Government sponsored vandalism in the countryside, of a very high order.