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The following article appeared in the October 2006 edition of The Post, a local community magazine published by PostDatum, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire.

 

A forest of giant wind turbines

The ancient Brechfa Forest, according to the Welsh Assembly, is an ideal setting for giant wind turbines. If the Assembly has its way, about 40 to 50 turbines will be built and the landscape of the Brechfa Forest will be changed forever. Wind farms will de-value this area’s greatest asset – its tranquillity and scenic landscape. Those recreational and tourism businesses that rely on the scenic value of this area will be under threat. Property prices are likely to fall. Who would come to visit or live in an area infested with wind turbines?

  Where will they be built?

Take a look at the map below. The smaller inner area shows the original section of the Brechfa Forest earmarked by the Assembly for wind farm development. The Carmarthenshire planning department is preparing the way for this invasion and has even expanded the proposed development area. The larger area outlined on the map shows this new expanded wind farm development area.

  As you can see, the new expanded area includes many more communities and many more of us will be directly affected. These are huge machines, 400 feet tall and sited on high ground. So even if the turbines are built miles away from your home, you will probably be able to see them, especially at night if they are equipped with flashing red lights. And you may also be able to hear them.

  What about planning regulations?

The Carmarthenshire planning department in its latest Discussion Paper on wind farm development in the Brechfa Forest is proposing that County Councillors adopt a new planning policy for this area. This new policy is intended to override the normal planning regulations that would, in any other situation, prevent this kind of industrial development in the Carmarthenshire countryside. If the Council adopts this policy, wind power developers will meet with fewer constraints and the people of Carmarthenshire will have fewer, if any, grounds for objecting to wind farm developments.

  Why is this happening?

It’s happening because the Welsh Assembly and the Carmarthenshire planning department have declared that wind farms, despite their harmful effects on the landscape and local residents, should be built because they serve the greater public interest. However, the planners have not explained how wind farms serve this ‘greater public interest’. Not one fossil fuel plant has been closed because of wind power. Wind farm construction itself causes environmental damage and destroys wildlife habitats. Turbine blades kill birds and bats. Recent evidence shows that wind farms have not lived up to their promise. They do very little to reduce CO2 emissions and the electricity they produce is intermittent and unreliable. So it seems that a new planning policy that makes it easier to built wind farms is not serving the public interest but rather the interests of wind power developers who benefit from generous subsidies and those politicians who want to present a ‘green’ image.

  What can we do to stop this?

Contact you local County Councillor. Write to your local AM. Join an action group.  

For more details contact the local campaign organiser at brechfaforesteag@yahoo.co.uk

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