I was interested to see that First Minister Rhodri Morgan has said that Merthyr Tydfil could become the hang-gliding capital of Wales under plans to rejuvenate tourism.
Tourism forms a large part of the economy of Wales and I am happy that the Welsh Assembly Government is thinking of ways in which it can be encouraged. I hope there will be something more substantial than consultants’ fees and reports on offer to assist this rejuvenation.
However, the Welsh Assembly Government is also committed (under its much-disputed and biased Technical Advice Note 8) to the encouragement of wind farms across Wales, especially in certain strategic search areas marked out for large developments.
One of these areas surrounds Merthyr Tydfil.
Hang-gliders and wind turbines do not mix.
Neither do wind turbines and tourism. Or, for that matter, wind turbines and hot air balloons, another growing activity and one South Wales could benefit from, being so close to Bristol which is the UK capital of ballooning.
Rhodri Morgan is going to have to choose whether he wants a healthy tourism industry, or heavily subsidised wind farms producing an intermittent and irregular supply of problematic electricity and delaying the introduction of alternative renewables without the drawbacks of wind.
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