The First Minister has sparked fresh outrage after announcing that the Welsh Assembly Government is still pushing ahead to build wind farms on thousands of acres of Forestry Commission land.
Rhodri Morgan said that preferred bidders would now be invited to develop wind farms in suitable areas of Assembly Government-owned forest.
But Cynghrair Hiraethog Alliance (CHA) says that its members are dismayed by these plans which will have dire implications for huge areas of upland Wales.
“We are concerned at the impact so many turbines will have on our area,” said Michael Williams, secretary of CHA.
“Not only on the quality of life for thousands of people living in the area but also the impact these developments will have on the landscape, our tourism industry, on wildlife and wildlife habitats.”
The First Minister justified his governments action saying: “Wind energy is a renewable energy technology that is commercially viable on a large scale and our weather and geography here in Wales means that we are well placed to use it.”
But Mr Williams said: “Since when was a business commercially viable that depended on a 50 per cent subsidy to survive, as does wind energy production? This is the economics of the madhouse.
“These turbines will be over 125 metres high and we can expect hundreds of them. They will also necessitate the felling of thousands of acres of trees across Wales.
“We believe they come at too high a cost to the environment and will do little to reduce C02 emissions.
“When you consider that 140 (2MW) turbines will save the same amount of C02 as is produced by the operation of one jumbo jet, it puts the whole scenario into perspective.”
CHA has also questioned the legality of using Forestry Commission land for wind farms.
“This land was entrusted to the nation for the collective good. By what right does the Welsh Assembly Government have to misuse this wonderful resource in this way without consulting the true owners – us, the public?” said Mr Williams.
“It is no accident that WAG, as owners of the land, will stand to make huge profits out of its exploitation.”
Professor Peter Cobbold, of Derwen, has compiled a map to show the likely extent of what he called the Clwyd Power Station by 2010.
“There will be around 122 turbines, an installed capacity of 250MW. Most will be 400 feet high,” said Prof Cobbold.
“A map published by WAG shows that most of upland Denbighshire is at risk after 2010: from Bylchau, around Llansannan up to Llanfair TH and Betws-yn-Rhos, and from Gwyddelwern to Llandegla.”
2 November 2007
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