Hundreds of wind turbine protesters rallied outside Anglesey council – as the local authority announced it would temporarily halt debating applications.
Campaigners marched on the council offices in Llangefni yesterday, reflecting the growing anger over the proliferation of “monster” turbines across the island countryside. Protesters also voiced concerns over biomass and bio gas proposals on the island.
Several speakers addressed the crowd – including a caravan park owner who said it was already damaging his business – before the 300 people gathered shouted their opposition.
At the planning meeting after the rally the committee chairman, Cllr Arwel Roberts, said that no applications for turbines would be decided on until new planning guidance had been implemented.
Commissioner Alex Aldridge told the Daily Post that while wind turbines would help produce low carbon energy they could not be built “at any price”.
Owain Evans, co-founder of Anglesey Against Wind Turbines (AAWT), which organised the event, said: “This is a fantastic turnout on a day when most people are working. Its shows how the people of Anglesey feel about this, something needs to be done. I hope we have got our message across and protests will now continue.”
Resident Nic Moore said: “The people of Anglesey have spoken in their hundreds, and thousands more have signed a petition against these industrial monster turbines. Now the council needs to listen.”
The number of applications for turbines – some 100 metres tall – has rocketed in recent months with fears the entire countryside will be covered in wind mills unless action is taken.
Anglesey council has launched a consultation in a bid to provide new guidance on the siting of turbines, and yesterday said they would delay any planning decision until that is completed.
Philip Charles, who owns Pen Parc caravan site at Brynteg, spoke to the crowd about how the applications for turbines close to his park were hurting his business.
He said: “I have people coming here to buy a caravan but I am obliged to tell them about the applications next to my site – after telling them they are going away. This is already affecting my business and they have not even been built. Imagine how many other tourism business this is hitting.”
Mr Evans added: “Wind turbine developers and investors see the island as an easy target and intend to cover it with these monstrous turbines – not for the benefit of islanders but for their own profits.”
Dylan Jones said he was at the protest over concerns at plans for a £100m biomass plant at the Peboc site in Llangefni. He said: “This will create a few unskilled jobs but will have a negative affect overall by its impact on tourism and the environment.”
Council leader Bryan Owen addressed the crowd and assured them the local authority was listening to their concerns, but he was met with a chorus of boos.
Yesterday commissioner Mr Aldridge said: “Wind turbines are important in the drive for low cost energy, but not at any price. Tourism is of vital importance, there is no point in robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“I drive onto Anglesey and there is a view that has a value that is hard to quantify and really is immeasurable. It (the guidance) is a balancing act and it is a delicate balance. We have to listen to the views of people.”
A public consultation on the draft supplementary planning guidance document on Onshore Wind Energy ends on February 10. See anglesey. gov.uk/consultations to respond.