Monday, 7 January 2013

Windfarms in Wales

In 2004, the Welsh Assembly produced Technical Advice Note no. 8 (TAN 8) on the subject of the recommended siting of windfarms in the Mid Wales uplands. More recently,  huge subsidies have been made available for wind development, as the British government seeks 'green' energy sources. The result has been an outburst of applications for windfarms all over the Mid Wales hills. Instead of rural wilderness, the remote hilltops around Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Tregaron and Machynlleth are threatened with an industrial landscape. If the windfarm permissions are granted, the National Grid will build a new line of 45-metre-high pylons from a hub at Cefn Coch near Newtown, through the outstanding beauty of the Meifod Valley, to join the existing 400 kV transmission line near Oswestry.  

But there's nothing green about windfarms. The turbines are built abroad and (being so massive) cause traffic chaos as they are transported round the country on the backs of special lorries. They hum loudly and are implicated in the deaths of roosting and migrating birds. Windfarms are also notoriously unreliable, operating at only 20% efficiency. When there's no wind, they produce no energy; yet when there's a gale blowing, they have to be shut down! Surely solar panels, built locally and installed by local businesses, are a better way forward. For more information, contact Montgomeryshire Against Pylons, at

I would like to thank local naturalist and broadcaster Iolo Williams for clarifying my thoughts on this issue.

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