Whither ‘Energy Island’ as 250 protest wind turbines (& other energy projects) outside Anglesey County Council
Over 250 Ynys Môn residents joined this afternoon’s mass demonstration outside the Council offices to protest against the large number of planning applications which have been submitted on the Island for ‘monster’ wind turbines of up to 100 metres (330 ft) in height – the equivalent of almost four Marquis of Anglesey’s Columns stacked one on top of the other. The large turnout on a weekday furthermore proves that Ynys Môn residents are far more concerned about wind turbines than they are about Wylfa B.
The protesters sought to highlight Anglesey County Council’s lack of preparedness for dealing with these industrial-sized turbines and to encourage residents to participate in the council’s ongoing consultation on new planning guidelines for wind turbines. The demonstration was timed to coincide with the last meeting of the council’s Planning Committee before the end of the consultation on February 10th.
Significantly, for the first time, members of all the major energy project protest groups on Anglesey joined forces. Wind Turbine protesters were joined by people from Bodffordd against the Anaerobic Digestion plant and also Llangefni residents protesting against the massive proposed Biomass plant at Peboc. This highlights the fact I have stressed before that Anglesey County Council has got itself into a real mess with its Energy Island strategy because the majority of energy projects actually coming to Ynys Môn:
• are massively oversized – whether a 100m wind turbine or a 180,000 tonne biomass plant
• deliver no discernible green benefits considering the long distances the source materials need to travel (wood coming from Nova Scotia, Canada, in the case of the proposed Peboc plant; abattoir waste from Powys in the case of the Bodffordd AD plant)
• ultimately provide relatively few low-skilled, manual jobs without a proper assessment of the overall net effect on jobs (wind turbines in particular will generate no jobs at all on Ynys Môn)
• require the shipping into Anglesey of large amounts of unpleasant waste (the Peboc biomass plant alone estimates 78 daily deliveries of wood; 5 daily deliveries of tallow and vegetable oil, and 88 trips related to the shipping of pellets. Thats a helluva lot of HGVs everyday)
• do not lead to Ynys Môn becoming a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in any of these technologies
• potentially have a dubious effect on tourism and other businesses
A senior councillor candidly admitted to me today, “the council has been caught with its pants down with these turbines”. I agree. Now, as today’s joint protests prove, its time for a major rethink of both Anglesey’s planning and Energy Island policies. Ynys Môn needs a coherent strategy which will both protect existing industries (such as tourism) whilst also leading to the Island becoming a Centre of Excellence for emerging renewables technologies (like the tidal schemes at the Skerries) – and not a dustbin for unwanted, over-large, under-employing and inappropriately sited energy projects.
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