I am prompted to write on the day an announcement is made of the massive expansion at Heathrow Airport.
On a clear morning, I have counted up to seven passing aircraft crossing our skies at any one time. There will always be signs of vapour trails from passing aircraft in our skies due to the fact that the South Wales valleys lie directly beneath the main flight path between Heathrow and New York.
It is these aircraft, and the prospect of an increase in volume, which contribute to carbon emissions and global warming.
And yet it is our valleys that have to bear the solution in the form of wind turbines – how fair is that?
Despite the growing protestations from those who have grave doubts about the efficacy of onshore wind farms, Environment Minister Carwyn Jones tells us we must all make sacrifices.
This borough already has two power stations, 16 wind turbines, another two power stations are in the planning stage, and a further 150 turbines threaten our hilltops.
Sacrifice! Is Mr Jones having a laugh? Has any other UK borough been asked to sacrifice so much?
I wonder if Peter Hain, Carwyn Jones and other champions of onshore wind farms have considered suggesting to the airlines that, in the interests of reducing aircraft load to improve fuel efficiency, the contents of the toilets are discharged as they pass over our valley. Then, not only would we be asked to swallow the rubbish fed to us by some politicians and wind farm developers, we would also wear it!
The problem with this is that if the developers and the Assembly get their way and build 38 per cent of all Welsh wind turbines in our valleys, then the chances of this falling excreta landing on a spinning turbine rotor is very high. This material would be flung over a vast area, even affecting people living outside our valley; some may even land in Cardiff Bay – now that would not be acceptable nor fair, would it?
Mr Jones officially opened the £1 million mountain bike centre in Glyncorrwg and promised the Afan Valley an exciting new future in tourism. Will he now retract this optimistic vision and acknowledge the truth – the future of the Afan Valley, in the shadow of 600ft wind turbines, is indeed bleak.
5 April 2007
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