The wife of Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has asked for her name to be removed from an anti-wind farm letter.
Ffion Hague says she had not agreed for her name to be added to the 50-name open letter sent to First Minister Rhodri Morgan.
The letter, which also bears the names of TV weather presenter Siân Lloyd and nature broadcaster Iolo Williams, says: “The uplands of Wales are rapidly becoming wind farm zones… this will mean that some of the most wild and wonderful parts of Wales will be degraded to semi-industrial land.”
The organiser of the letter, campaigner Michael Williams, said last night: “These things are complicated to put together – we are not an organisation with a great big structure.
“She [Ffion Hague] gave her approval through someone; what has happened since then is that she wants to withdraw. That’s fine, I don’t think it diminishes the rest of the names on the list.”
A spokeswoman from Mrs Hague’s office confirmed she “has not agreed to be a co-signatory of the letter”.
One of the letter’s high-profile signatories said they had initially been contacted last December, by a smaller group that is now part of the larger Gwlad Alliance that sent the letter.
“They wrote back and said if you don’t want your name on this new letter, please let us know. That was in March or April.
“Initially it was an organisation with a different name, so if you didn’t see the second letter you can see why some people are vague about whether they signed it or not.”
Mr Williams, who lives near Corwen, said the majority of the 50-plus signatories had personally signed a draft version of the letter.
“What we are trying to do is get together a loose alliance of various interest groups to see if that would have more effect on putting pressure on the Welsh Assembly Government.”
Under WAG policy seven areas have been earmarked for possible wind farm development, including the Denbigh moors, Cambrian Mountains and the hill areas in Montgomery and Radnorshire.
The Assembly Government is planning a three-fold increase in the amount of energy provided by wind turbines by 2025, although it points out that less than 1% of the land mass of Wales is affected.
Friends of the Earth director Gordon James said the open letter was, in any case, a “regurgitation of the discredited myths about wind power” that have been repeated endlessly by opponents of this clean form of energy.
Mr James said: “Wind energy is one of the cleanest, safest and most cost-effective forms of energy available.
“The fuel is free and will never run out. There are no waste products or pollution produced. It is technologically the most advanced of the renewable energy options available and can deliver much-needed cuts in CO2 emissions now.”
A spokesman for the Assembly Government said: “The threat of climate change is clear and urgent and the Welsh Assembly Government is determined that Wales will play its full part in combating this threat.
“The Renewable Energy Route Map, published in February 2008, set out the way forward for exploiting our considerable natural renewable energy resources.
“If sensitively but extensively exploited we could see Wales in 20 years’ time generating a total amount of electricity equal to what we will be consuming – with half of this from marine, a third from wind and the rest from biomass and micro-generation.”
The spokesman added: “We will not place a moratorium on the construction of all wind farms… We will be revising upwards the targets for overall renewable energy and I would expect that major on-shore wind farms would make a significant contribution for the foreseeable future.”
by Tomos Livingstone, Western Mail
25 June 2008
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