Swansea poet and writer Nigel Jenkins is hoping that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword when it comes to a battle to save a piece of common land close to his heart.
Mr Jenkins, who is head of Swansea University’s creative writing programme, a former winner of the Wales Book of the Year award and one of the country’s foremost poets, has written a letter to Swansea councillors ahead of a vote on a new wind farm to the north of the city.
In the letter, Jenkins asks the councillors to say no to German company RWE npower renewables’ planning request to erect 16 turbines on Mynydd y Gwair, near Felindre.
In an effort to persuade the councillors, he invites them to read a chapter of his forthcoming book, Real Gower, which outlines the beauty of the area.
He says: “So far, Swansea councillors have taken a principled stand against (what I see as) the desecration of this exceptionally beautiful part of our county, and I hope to encourage you to oppose the application by inviting you to read a chapter from my forthcoming book.”
The chapter is a result of the writer walking the mountain and talking to some of those who farm it.
He says: “We take our time to cross the mountain, savouring the mile after mile, in all directions, of grassy wilderness, with no trace of humanity anywhere in sight.”
This vista would be dramatically changed if the wind farm were built, and so he adds: “It is often, sadly, not until we are threatened with a serious illness that we come fully to appreciate the wonder and beauty of the world that we are suddenly in danger of losing.
“So too with Mynydd y Gwair – the imminent demise of this plaintively beautiful wilderness gives one’s experience of the place a heightened intensity.”
Firmly stating his opposition to wind power and questioning the large subsidies that they come with, he adds: “Let’s not call them ‘windmills’ or even ‘wind turbines’, deluding ourselves that they are somehow helping to ‘save the planet’; let’s call them what they truly are: cash generators.”
Real Gower is to be published by Seren Books towards the end of 2014 and if the council turns down the application Mr Jenkins, who has also written two Real Swansea books, has promised to rewrite the chapter.
He said: “If things go well for Mynydd y Gwair on Thursday – from the viewpoint, that is, of those who love this part of the county – then I shall have the happy task of rewriting this chapter, which at the moment anticipates a negative outcome.”
A spokesman for RWE npower renewables said: “The proposal has been designed to take into account local sensitivities and impacts.
“It is a proven windy site within a designated wind farm area, and has been amended to take into account changes which minimise the impact of the development on areas of peat on the site.”