We are writing to the Welsh Assembly Government as scientists, engineers, business owners, local councillors and concerned residents.
The community in which we live is adjacent to the existing Taff Ely wind farm in Gilfach Goch comprising 20 x 53m turbines.
It is now threatened by six more planning applications for wind farms in the immediate vicinity – including turbines up to 135m tall and some within 500m of housing.
We are not against appropriate renewable energy generation per se – many of us bought our homes after the existing wind farm was installed.
However, as soon as the Welsh Assembly published TAN 8, heralding the current rush of local wind farm planning applications, we were forced to look more closely into the claims made for on-shore wind power – both for and against.
We were determined to find out if its contribution to the community as a whole (with respect to energy provision and reducing greenhouse gas emissions) would outweigh the problems such massive re-industrialisation would bring to local people if allowed to go ahead.
Using only government sources and respected technical documents from the power industry itself, the results of our research have shocked and amazed us.
It is clear allowing these large wind farms would jeopardise our health, wealth and quality of life along with biodiversity and the quality of our landscape/environment.
All this to no real purpose since they cannot replace ordinary power stations and are four times more expensive than other means of reducing our carbon footprint.
It would industrialise Wales without creating much employment simply to secure massive profit for mostly foreign-owned firms financed through higher domestic energy bills.
PAUSE – we beg you – we just ask for one hour of your time to present the results of our research. If, after seeing the presentation, you can prove any of it wrong or non-persuasive – so be it. At least pay us the courtesy of listening to what we have found out.
What we have found is that on-shore wind power is unreliable, impractical in terms of the stress it places on grid infrastructure and very environmentally destructive for trees, peat, wildlife and people.
Moreover, even if every Welsh hillside was covered in turbines, it would have no significant effect on global warming. The answer to climate change lies in a raft of measures – predominantly energy conservation – plus clean coal technologies (which the developing world can afford to implement) and a mix of alternative energy sources.
Giving in to the British Wind Energy Association and ploughing on regardless with TAN 8, without listening to the evidence, would almost certainly be counter-productive environmentally and will do nothing more than make a lot of money for foreign firms.
The future of everyone in the community and many others like it, is in your hands. Please listen to us. An hour is all we ask.
(On behalf of multiple signatories)
5 July 2007
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