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Turbines ‘could spoil countryside for no reason'

A government "in a muddle" over its energy policy has been accused of allowing developers to make a fortune out of ruining the countryside. Ivor Russell, secretary of the Carmarthenshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, said ..."What will our children make of it if they look back in a desert of useless wind turbines that have been made redundant by other major factors like nuclear power?" said Mr Russell in an address to the branch's annual meeting in Llanarthne on Saturday.

A government "in a muddle" over its energy policy has been accused of allowing developers to make a fortune out of ruining the countryside.

Ivor Russell, secretary of the Carmarthenshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, said the Welsh Assembly Government was in danger of making matters worse and destroying the countryside for no real purpose.

"What will our children make of it if they look back in a desert of useless wind turbines that have been made redundant by other major factors like nuclear power?" said Mr Russell in an address to the branch's annual meeting in Llanarthne on Saturday.

He recalled that the branch had submitted a detailed response to the WAG consultation on the issue two years ago calling for a two-tiered approach of passive and active measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

The passive measures, including insulating all buildings, using only long-life lightbulbs, increased energy efficiency and reducing demand carried no risk but were being widely ignored. And on active measures - wind, wave, tidal, hydro and solar power - the Government was concentrating almost... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A government "in a muddle" over its energy policy has been accused of allowing developers to make a fortune out of ruining the countryside.

Ivor Russell, secretary of the Carmarthenshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, said the Welsh Assembly Government was in danger of making matters worse and destroying the countryside for no real purpose.

"What will our children make of it if they look back in a desert of useless wind turbines that have been made redundant by other major factors like nuclear power?" said Mr Russell in an address to the branch's annual meeting in Llanarthne on Saturday.

He recalled that the branch had submitted a detailed response to the WAG consultation on the issue two years ago calling for a two-tiered approach of passive and active measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

The passive measures, including insulating all buildings, using only long-life lightbulbs, increased energy efficiency and reducing demand carried no risk but were being widely ignored. And on active measures - wind, wave, tidal, hydro and solar power - the Government was concentrating almost exclusively on wind.

Mr Russell warned that huge tracts of the Welsh landscape could become an industrial powerhouse with massive turbines and hundreds of miles of new pylons and wires across the countryside.

"All the wind turbines built in the world have together made only a very small diminution in the amount of CO2 emissions," he said. "And there's only any point in doing it if the major polluters - the United States, China and India - reduce their emissions.

"The turbines are getting higher all the time, along with the effects on people's lives through noise and the loss of all the other amenity issues which have been ignored so far by a Welsh Assembly Government that is failing to conform to the European Landscape Convention."

The move towards reopening coal mines and building biomass power stations also came under criticism. Robin Cammish, from the Coed Bach action group, near Kidwelly, spoke on plans to build a 50MW biomass power station, even though biomass power generation produces as much CO2 as coal.

With a similar one planned for Swansea Docks the fuel would have to be imported 6,000 miles from Alaska as there is insufficient timber in Wales - yet the local authority was recommending approval.

"When you think of a 10-storey- high power station in the middle of the countryside you would have thought the council would have been a bit more critical of it," said Mr Cammish.

Developers are attracted by huge grants and subsidies. Mr Cammish said 40% of the £80m construction costs would be recovered immediately and the subsidies could total more than £40m a year.

The UK Government expects the subsidies - paid through Renewables Obligation certificates or Rocs - to developers to total £1bn a year by 2010.

The money comes from a levy on every electricity bill and the Rocs, currently worth about £40 for each 1,000MW hour of "green" electricity, can be traded like shares.

With authorities actively encouraging developers to build wind and biomass power stations, the price of Rocs has doubled this year.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "The threat of climate change is clear and urgent and the Welsh Assembly Government is determined that Wales will play its full part in combating this threat. That is why the WAG is committed both to targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to a rapid expansion of renewable energy."

He said Wales' natural renewable energy resources could, within 20 years, provide more renewable electricity than the total amount currently used. In addition to wind, the WAG Renewable Energy Route Map route map looks at marine, hydro, biomass, micro-generation and energy efficiency measures that feed into an overall energy strategy, which would be published next year.

"Contrary to the allegations that measures such as energy saving, insulating buildings and increased energy efficiency are being ignored, the WAG has actively promoted policies and investment in all these areas which will be brought together in a National Energy Efficiency Savings Plan to be published this autumn," he said.

"It is a fact that wind energy is the most commercially viable renewable technology available at the present time."

But he said supporting wind energy did not mean that the Government believed in overriding proper planning process.

"All wind farm proposals are subject to a strict planning process, addressing siting, environmental, visual and community impacts," he said.

"It is important to remember that less than 1% of the land mass of Wales will be affected by our proposals."


Source: http://www.walesonline.co.u...

SEP 9 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/17008-turbines-could-spoil-countryside-for-no-reason
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