Sponsor a Child with Plan, I do!

Sponsor with Plan - Help a child realise their potential

Monday, December 03, 2007

A blot on the Landscape?

Near the proposed site - Cefn Coch near Llanfair Caereinion

I have been preparing this piece for a few weeks now, trying to get together pertinent information and trying to come to some sort of rationale. One of my cousin had alerted me to the fact that at Cefn Coch, in the hills above Llanfair Caereinion in Montgomeryshire, plans are afoot to build a wind turbine farm in this particularly beautiful area of Mid Wales. Many local peopled had been demonstrating against the proposal and urging the planning authority to withhold permission. I considered protesting mytself, but I realised that I knew little about the main issues. It seems to me that the fundamental questions that need consideration are 1. Would this wind farm generate enough electricity to be cost effective? 2. Are the turbines a fatal hazard for near flying birds or bats? And 3, Does the noise or visual impact of this farm, placed on the Cefn Coch ridge detract from the natural beauty of this sparsely populsterd area.

I have seen various figures given for the vast amount of wind energy potentially available to us in the British Isles and turbines are becoming a common sight around our coasts and on ridges in hilly areas. I could copy various references, damning or praising wind turbines but would only be adding to the confusion. No one I think would deny that renewable energy must be used where and when possible though because of the noise and the scale of the plant some would say “Not in my back yard or spoiling our view!” I can sympathise with this view, I love this area of Mid Wales that my mother described in her book, A View of Old Montgomeryshire as: humped backed hills, lying like sleeping lizards in the sunlight.

As for a wind farm being fatal for migrating or flocking birds, according to this Eco-Myth and Healthlink articles the danger does seem to be mostly an urban myth, though I would like to see some evidence if there is any, of bird kills from around other wind farms. Some birds have undoubtedly been killed by flying into the blades of wind wirbines, but is the number greater than those killed by domestic cats and irresponsible royal shooting parties far more? I think so!

Any comments gratefully received!

1 comment:

Jennie said...

As someone living in Wales who has windfarms not too distant and more planned, I have my own feelings about this. If the amount of power they produced was a sustained and useful contribution to the grid, all well and good, but it isn't. If they weren't owned by foreign investors, it would be better. It is Spanish companies who are trying to set up local windfarms. If they didn't despoil the landscape - always the most beautiful parts of the landscape at that - they wouldn't have so many people protesting against them. If they weren't so gigantic, and need skyscraperfulls in depth of concrete to keep them upright, they would be more eco-friendly. The concept is good. The practicalities don't match it. A neighbour of ours, a few miles away on the other side of the valley, wanted to take a stand against the proposed windfarm on his hillside. He was the only one of the farmers affected to take this stand. They would all be paid to have the windfarm on their land. He would have it all around him and have none of the payments and all the disadvantages. When a local councillor stood for election to oppose the wind farms, she got our vote . . .