Villagers Up in Arms Against Wind Farms in Wales

by Gopalan on  May 31, 2009 at 12:34 PM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
 Villagers Up in Arms Against Wind Farms in Wales
Green energy could be the toast of the times. Still there are many who could object. Like the residents of the South Wales. They are coming together to fight a move to set up two wind farms in the region.

Pennant Walters has submitted plans for 10 turbines at Pant y Wal, while npower wants to build 11 turbines, which are 115m high, across the Rhondda and Ogmore Valley.

There are already 20 turbines at Taff Ely and plans have been approved for another wind farm at nearby Mynydd Portref

The campaign group South Wales Alternatives To Turbines (SWATT) has several objections to the proposals and fears villages like Glynogwr, Gilfach Goch and Evanstown will soon be "encircled" by wind farm developments.

Plans for the wind farms straddling the Ogmore and Rhondda Valleys are due to go before councillors in July, when protesters will make their feelings known by marching on the council offices in Bridgend.

SWATT claims they will cause house prices to fall, noise pollution, increased traffic and loss of views.

But one of the group's biggest fears is the potential loss of tourism, which they believe could become a lucrative industry in the valleys.

Last month the Welsh Assembly Government announced that £22m would be injected into the valley to promote walking, cycling and riding, and to clean up the area.

SWATT'S group chairman David Edwards, of Glynogwr, said: "The Assembly will invest £23m in tourism, yet these wind farms could decimate the local tourism industry. They're looking at creating a new mountain bike network across the heads of the valleys and building hotels and hostels but who will want to come here when there's wind farms everywhere?

"We want a moratorium on all further wind farm developments until a survey is conducted on the economic impacts.

"This is already one of the poorest areas in Wales and we want to know if this will make things worse."

Charity fundraiser Harry Hayes, 65, of Gilfach Goch, will be leading the march. He said: "We're only now recovering from the effects that the coal industry had on the landscape and I don't want to see it being re-industrialised This is a beautiful part of the country, full of wildlife. It's a prime area for tourism."

On its website, Pennant Walters says the development "will deliver tangible benefits to local people". It adds: "A community trust fund involving local people is also proposed for consideration, so that up to £60,000 a year can be used to promote environmental and social sustainability in the local area."

The npower site says: "Construction of the wind farm presents opportunities for local economic benefit and employment."

Up to 2000 people are likely to be employed during peak construction. The new power station will create over 100 high quality, long term, operational jobs and will provide an ongoing investment of more than £10 million per year into the local economy.

Andrew Duff, Chief Executive of RWE npower said: "The Government's consent for Pembroke Power Station represents a vital step to ensuring the delivery of secure, clean energy supplies while providing a significant boost to the economy.

"RWE is proud to be one of the largest investors in the UK with commitments in renewables, clean coal technologies, nuclear and new, highly efficient gas plant. This programme will bring many thousands of jobs to the UK and this effect will be magnified throughout the supply chain at a time when the UK Government has a stated ambition to bring forward investment to support the UK economy."

In December 2008, npower renewables was granted consent to construct its 750MW Gwynt-y-mor offshore wind farm off the North Wales coast, which will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.

Source: Medindia

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