Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Rape of my Fair Country

Today, I have issued a press statement, in my capacity of President of the Protection of Rural Wales. It is self explanatory, though I have tried to keep my smouldering anger under control.

"Over the last three years, I have opposed and condemned the Assembly Government's policy of imposing clusters of wind farms on rural Wales. My opposition has been based on the cumulative impact on the landscape of these wind farms, and even worse, the scarring of beautiful Montgomeryshire for ever, by hundreds of monstrous pylons carrying a 400 kv cable marching through our lovely valleys in order to provide connection to the National Grid. Very few people have grasped just how horrendous this 400 kv cable is going to be. In addition, the failure to establish any sort of comprehensive plan is likely to make the already dreadful position even worse. At present, we have total shambles. Scottish Power may well be forced to provide extra 132 kv cables (also causing huge environmental damage, and potential health risk) because of the absence of an overall strategy.

The reason I'm raising this matter today is the linked but separate issue of a proposed new 132 kv cable from Welshpool to serve the new wind farm at Llandinam. Already, there is much public concern in the Kerry and Llandyssil areas, through which this cable will pass. I have discussed the proposals and their implications with Scottish Power, and suggest that everyone who lives between Welshpool and Llandinam attend the presentation which is being held at Dolfor Community Hall on 3rd December between 2.00 and 8.00. I'll be there from 2.00 til 6.15.

It is pointless being critical of Scottish Power, who have little choice in the matter. The company is required by statute to offer a service to Llandinam wind farm. The blame for this position must lie with those politicians who have supported these wind farms. Anyone who has supported the creation of wind farms, which will despoil our lovely home here in Montgomeryshire are, by extension, supporting the massive pylons and cables needed to carry the electricity to the National Grid. Anyone who supported the Llandinam wind farm has also, by extension, supported the 132 kv line that will skirt private properties between Welshpool and the Llandinam site, including many in the Kerry area. Anyone who has supported the general policy of wind farms in Mid Wales has, by extension, supported the construction of a 400 kv cable from some point in the Oswestry/Shrewsbury area, to some point in the Carno area. To pretend otherwise is to be dishonest.

I want;

1) In order to minimise impact, its crucial that all wind farm approval and development be suspended until Scottish Power and National Grid have a clear idea of what capacity connection to the grid is needed - rather than the shambolic ad hoc approach which exists at present.

2) No wind farm planning application should be approved without a clear statement of how it is going to be connected to the National Grid.

3) Planning Authorities must require that where these huge cables pass through environmentally important areas, the developer should be required to compensate Scottish Power for the additional costs of burying the cable underground.

Over the last three years whenever I've discussed wind farms in East Montgomeryshire, its usually met with a disinterested shrug because its thought that all the wind farms are to be located in West Montgomeryshire. And my response "What about the b****y cables", has stirred no hackles. Now that reality is kicking in, lets just make sure that we minimise the damage and lay blame where its due.


eric said...

how can one get involved in this rural wales lark.....i'm rural wales born and bred and I and every single one of my school friends have had to leave my area of south powys to look for work. What limited local work is available wouldn't pay for any decent home in our area.
Protect the environemnt Glyn, but don't forget the people. Alas I think its too late.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with you Glyn! The pylons/cables is the 'elephant in the room' that all (except you and few others including me and the CUM) have been ignoring. These giant, lattice pylons will cut across our once beautiful landscape - turning it into an industrialised, scarred ruin. Not just aestetics are at risk, but also health. There are real medical dangers caused by overhead powerlines. Has this been factored in to planning applications?

frankie said...

The Tories policy and yours particularly,against wind farms in Montgomeryshire (and anywhere else for that matter) is why for the first time in my life I shall vote for you in the next election - oh - and of course to get rid of the embarrassing excuse we have for an MP at the moment!

Good for you Glyn, keep up the pressure, maybe it'll get through to WAG eventually.

Anonymous said...

I am one of a group who are trying to stop the march of the pylons so thank you, Glyn, for your efforts. This country has its wealth in its landscape and developing a green tourist industry could bring jobs and wealth to the area. If this beautiful landscape is destroyed that option for the future will no longer be viable. The tourism we have at the moment is in its infancy and will gradually lessen as people find the landscape no longer inspirational but offensive. A little known gem, an area of breathtaking wonder will be of no interest to anyone other than those with money tied up in electricity. We will all suffer - I cannot for the life of me see any potential advantages in the vandalisation of this countryside. In the 20th century, power companies are trying to distribute so called green energy via ugly 20th century methods. I find the whole thing unbelievable and disheartening.

Glyn Davies said...

eric - although I'm President of the CPRW, I always have in mind the importance of economic development - which is why many of my friends were surprised both when I was offered and accepted the position. Protecting rural Wales is a complex issue, but no-one campaigns better than the CPRW (in my opinion).

Roman - Planning permission is being granted for wind farms with no requirement to show how the power will be transferred to the National Grid.

Frankie - Unfortunately, the Assembly Government has refused to listen, and is likely to intensify its obsession with wind farms. We'll all look back in 20 years and wonder at the madness of it all.

anon - There are many people who support wind farms, including Mick Bates, who represents Montgomeryshire at the National Assembly. We live in a democracy, and unfortunately a majority of the AMs are supportive of wind power. What has really frustrated me is that the debate has been between the impact on landscape of the turbines, and the benefit derived from renewable energy - with almost no reference to the cables which are probably even more unsightly. Anwen has done us proud in today's issue of the Shropshire Star. Its certainly being discussed now.

eric said...

glyn, sorry, but i think in terms of economic development and community protection the likes of cprw, ccw, the nat parks have all been detrimental, and the youth of rural wales have suffered. And they seemingly continue to suffer.
You all seem to look for the problems, rather than offer solutions and seize opportunities.
The welsh uplands may be pristine, but the communities that have lived in them for generations are leaving so whats the point....we will be the famed pleasue park that private eye once predicted for us. As for the welsh uplands, lets get rid of theevergreen forestry in the first instance. Your comments in the press today about windframs and their servicing infrastructure are laughable when compared with the damage the evergreen forests have, both visually and for servicing.

Glyn Davies said...

Eric - why not meet me to chat about this. You might be surprised by the level of agreement. In general, my view is that development there must be, but that it should be carried out in as sensitive a way as possible. I wouyld accept wind farms if I thought they provided energy in a cost effective way. The Government have taken this route, with huge subsidy, because its the easy option. I share your views about single species coniferous woodland, as did the CPRW when it was being planted.

eric said...

thanks, glyn, will say hello one day.
Just want you to remember the youth of your locality. Traditional mid wales communites in south powys are pretty much dying out - we need people to raise this, are you aware of the housing policies over the boder in shropshire?