This morning, I attended a 'Community Engagement Session' at Llandinam, in Montgomeryshire. This was a posh name for a public presentation by an energy generation company, Nuon Renewables, of its plans to build a wind warm on the Montgomeryshire/Radnorshire border - around 14 turbines with the capacity to produce around 30 megawatts of power. Now I'm sceptical about the cost effectiveness of on shore wind farms, and reckon that impact on the glorious landscape of Mid Wales is a very high price to pay - but I do like to keep myself informed about what's going on.
Spoke at length with Alistair Hinton, Regional Development Manager of Nuon Renewables, and discussion turned to transport issues - and to the impact that transport of wind turbines would have on the town of Welshpool as they passed through, en route to the uplands to her West. I told him that Welshpool Councillors were protesting with great vim and vigour. I'm told that the next step is to drive 6 sheep across a bridge over the River Thames, equipped with mini wind turbines strapped to their backs. Conversation then drifted, quite naturally to Julian Cayo-Evans, leader of the Free Wales Army in the 1960s. Cayo-Evans came up with a Baldrickesque cunning plan, which involved strapping explosives on the backs of Welsh sheep dogs, and then using a dog whistle to send the unfortunate creatures to squat under advancing tanks for the moment of detonation. I do not know whether he tied little wind turbines on the sheep dogs as well. This plan turned out not to be a success. He finished up serving 15 months for conspiracy to cause explosions.
Anyway, to return from this digression. Lots of Welshpool residents have asked me about what impact lorries carrying towers and blades are likely to have in the town. Must admit that I've never been much for public protesting. though I've nothing against 'making a noise'. It can have an influence if the 'noise' is loud enough. My preferred way is to try 'making a difference' through calm and direct discussion. So I'm going to ask Mr Hinton, perhaps accompanied by representatives of other renewable energy companies to come to Welshpool to meet a deputation to discuss my concerns. And I can see no reason why Councillors and the media shouldn't be included - though too many would render calm discussion difficult. There have been too many unanswered question hanging in the wind for too long. People are concerned. Its time to turn the page and find the answers.