Assembly 'Could Spoil Countryside with Wind Turbines for No Purpose' 'Other Green Measures and Energy Efficiency More Useful' COUNTRY & FARMING
Byline: Steve Dube Farming Editor
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 reduceCO2 emissions.
The passive measures, including insulating all buildings, using only long-life light bulbs, 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 ofa10-storeyhigh 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. …