The letter from Haf Elgar of the Friends of the Earth Cymru published on May 23 is proof of just why people switch off when debate gets long-winded.
She criticises me for not mentioning a particular report. Well, I could have written a 10- page letter going through their entire document about so-called wind farm myths, but the wise editor of this newspaper would not have printed it!
Ms Elgar quotes the survey of residents who can see the Taff Ely wind turbines from their homes of which 78% say they have no effect on house prices. Erected in 1993, those turbines are 53.5 metres/175 feet high. The latest planning applications are for massive turbines reaching 122 metres/ 400 feet high – slight difference really, and a much greater visual impact.
She berates me for not mentioning the Oxford Brookes University report for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors on house prices and wind farms and she quotes estate agents saying “proximity to a wind farm was not an issue”. She does not mention that the authors Peter Dent and Dr Sally Sims conclude it by saying “because of the limited data the findings require a degree of caution”, and go on to say “…as more wind farms are built, more property will become proximate. Therefore a cautious approach should be adopted until a larger and more in-depth study can be undertaken.” The proposed turbines at Blaengwen, Allwalis, are sited within 500 feet of dwellings – that is rather “proximate”, one would think, especially as they will be 110.5 metres/365 feet high.
The Davies family welcomed the turbines being built near their home; now they have to live in rented property some miles away and the local estate agent will not take the property onto its books due the sound and vibration effects.
Ms Elgar is also rough on the planning inspector and his comments that the wind farm at Rhos Garn “could affect property prices”. Surely the Welsh Assembly appoint people as inspectors with the appropriate knowledge, experience and savvy?
29 May 2008