Welsh Conservatives will today call on the Assembly Government to abandon plans for wind turbines on Forestry Commission land.
The party claims this will “open the floodgates for more major wind farm developments on some of the most beautiful parts of Wales”.
However, the Conservative stance was condemned by Friends of the Earth Cymru. It warned the Conservatives were in danger of losing credibility as opponents of climate change.
Last October, First Minister Rhodri Morgan said the administration would release government-owned land for the development of wind farm projects.
Conservative Shadow Assembly Environment Minister Darren Millar said: “The Assembly Government is clearly at odds with itself over its sustainability and environmental strategic objectives. On the one had it is handing over significant tracts of Government-owned forestry land to wind farm developers for it to be felled. Yet on the other ministers are stressing the importance of maintaining Welsh forests because of their value to the Welsh economy and in tackling climate change..”
He insisted the party was not opposed to wind energy, saying: “What we are opposed to is the imposition of large-scale wind farms against the wishes of local people, which have a devastating impact on communities and the local environment.”
The call dismayed Gordon James, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru.
“They are extremely anti-wind – absurdly so,” he said.
Mr James said Tory leader David Cameron had done much in Westminster to raise climate change up the political agenda, but said this commitment was not matched in Wales.
An Assembly Government spokeswoman said: “ It is anticipated that less than 1% of Forestry Commission land will be affected and less trees will be felled than during the normal maintenance of forests.”
by David Williamson, Western Mail
4 June 2008
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