This could be a 'minority interest' post, but it should be significant for any Powys County Councillor who cares about our wondrous landscape. Regular readers will know of my scepticism about onshore wind as a renewable energy resource - particularly on a large scale. Unfortunately, the Assembly Government has decided to ignore my advice and has given a bright green light to the 'industrialisation' of much of the uplands of rural Wales. As a democrat, I accept this - even if I don't like it. But what I cannot accept is that it should proceed in a way which greatly increases the environmental desecration.
I'm referring to the haphazard granting of planning consents for wind farms, with no regard for how they are to be connected to the National Grid. This is ridiculous. "What about the bl***y pylons" has for so long been my plaintive cry. What happens at present is that a developer seeks planning consent for the wind farm, but makes a separate approach to a power supplier for a connection to the Grid - which the power company is statutorily obliged to provide. So when Celtpower Ltd seeks consent to triple the output from Llandinam wind farm in Montgomeryshire, Scottish Power are obliged to provide a 132 kv cable all the way to Welshpool, upsetting a lot of people living near the village of Kerry. The reason this is madness is that National Grid is going to build a 400 kv cable from Shropshire to a 'hub' somewhere in the Carno area (the horror of this makes me shake with despair) - which would be the natural connection point for the Llandinam wind farm, leaving Kerry out of the loop altogether. But this cable isn't going to be built until 2015.
But I have news for the developers. Last week, 'concerned of Kerry' objected to the Llandinam wind farm because of the impact of the cable. And the reply received from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was very interesting indeed. It read thus;
".......Should the relevant Planning Authority (RPA), Powys County Council object, then the Secretary of State will be obliged to call for a public inquiry to be held into the application......If the Secretary of State does call for a public inquiry to be held, he will issue in advance a statement of the matters which seem to him relevant to his consideration of the application. The views of those objecting will be taken into account, together with all relevant factors, in identifying these matters."
Now that makes sense. The public inquiry will be just the occasion to thrash out the madness that is being visited on the glorious uplands of Wales by these turbine inspired Philistines. Over to you County Councillors.