In the interests of balanced journalism, I have a number of issues with the Scarweather article published in the Western Mail recently under the banner of Sustainable Wales.
The article on Scarweather should have been called The Convenient Half-Truth.
A key fact conveniently ignored by the pro-Scarweather lobby is that the inspector at the public inquiry into Scarweather recommended that planning permission should be refused on the grounds that the visual impact would be significant and harmful.
This view was also supported by the National Assembly’s own planning department.
Despite this, a Welsh Assembly committee subsequently over-ruled the public inquiry and granted planning permission.
The article mentions the Greenpeace survey in 2003, stating that more than three times as many local residents support the Scarweather offshore wind farm proposal for Swansea Bay than oppose it. Unfortunately, this does not tell the whole story.
Out of 506 adults surveyed by ICM on behalf of Greenpeace, over a two-day period in the Neath/Port Talbot, Swansea and Bridgend areas, they only managed to find 137 adults who strongly supported the building of Scarweather.
Contrast this with the strength of feeling against this development by the local community. More than 3,100 letters of objection were written and signed by objectors and sent to the TWA offices in London, with just nine letters of support.
Porthcawl Town Council, Bridgend Borough Council, Swansea City Council and many local organisations all voted against this development.
The fact that the public inquiry also came to the conclusion that the development should not go ahead shows that the fears of the local community (ie, that Porthcawl’s position as a tourist resort would be damaged) were valid.
The Sustainable Wales article comments that the supporters of Scarweather have been treated shabbily.
It is unfortunate that Sustainable Wales does not recognise the shabby treatment dished out to the people of Porthcawl and the surrounding area with regard to their wishes.
As anyone living in Porthcawl knows, you will not be able to miss rows of spinning turbines, 32 storeys high, stretching from Hutchwns Point to Sker Point.
Curlew Close, Rest Bay, Porthcawl
14 May 2008
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