An “army of eco-warriors” is being hired by wind farm lobbyists to fight for onshore farms in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain, writes Kirsty Buchanan.
Conservative MP Chris Heaton- Harris said: “It is ironic companies like Centrica now have to recruit an army of ‘Swampies’,” a reference to the Newbury bypass protester.
While thousands of residents in Mid Wales have vowed to fight plans that would see up to 600 turbines carpeting the countryside, Action for Renewables, lobby arm of trade association Renewables UK, is seeking campaigners to champion its wind farms. The job description includes building a “network of local campaigning groups across the region” and identifying “campaign leaders in local areas close to existing and proposed renewables sites”.
The group, which was unavailable for comment yesterday, is part-funded by Centrica, parent group of British Gas.
Mr Heaton-Harris, who set up a parliamentary group calling for subsidy cuts to onshore wind farms, called it a desperate strategy by an organisation losing the battle for public support. He said: “In an effort to try to protect their massive subsidies from the taxpayer, onshore wind developers are not just employing huge numbers of lobbyists in Westminster but now are trying to recruit a fifth column.”
Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said his constituents would fight to protect their area, adding: “What is planned is the complete desecration of Mid Wales, transforming it into a wind farm landscape.”
More than 20 applications are pending in Mid Wales over plans to connect the area to the National Grid line in Shropshire. The project raises the spectre of at least seven years of traffic disruption and building.
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