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We’ll blow out bid for huge wind farm

Campaigners fighting a controversial wind farm insist they will win over the hearts and minds of locals, following an energy firm’s publicity drive.

Npower has sent out thousands of leaflets to homes in the Pontarddulais area, explaining how turbines on Mynydd-y-Gwair would ease Britain’s energy crisis.

But protest group Save Our Common Mountain Environment (Socme) are planning to storm letterboxes with their own leaflets.

They argue the “400ft monsters” will damage a long-established beauty spot.

Glyn Morgan, Socme chairman and local farmer, said:

“It is the last wilderness left in West Glamorgan, and should not be spoiled for the sake of profit.”

The row over the scheme has been raging since 2004, when Npower first submitted plans to council bosses.

They have been met with fierce opposition from locals, and plans have been amended on several occasions.

The latest expanded plans would see 19 wind turbines on Mynydd-y-Gwair, with a construction site covering nearly 1,200 acres.

The largest of the proposed turbines would stand 127 metres to the tip of the blades – twice the height of Nelson’s Column.

Mr Morgan said campaigners not only objected to the “blot on the landscape”, but also permanent damage to the environment.

“The process of construction would result in 1,000 tonnes of concrete being poured into the landscape,” he said. “Coupled with that, there would have to be roads built for construction vehicles.”

He added that Socme was planning to harness public support for their cause with a leaflet drop next week.

“We will fight all the way,” he said.

“The last time we had a petition, we had 3,000 signatures. A survey was conducted around that time, and 83 per cent of the people were against the scheme.

“When we distribute the leaflets, I am sure the public will be on our side.”

Energy firm Npower stuck to its guns and said the proposed site was one of the best places in South Wales for a wind farm. It would produce enough electricity to supply the average needs of 28,000 homes.

A spokeswoman added: “The turbines are so large because smaller ones have been discontinued.

“There are three planned proposals in negotiation for similar-size farms to be built around Wales.”

Ben Wright

Evening Post

26 July 2008