St. David’s Day 2003 Speech, by Nick Bourne A.M.

Ladies & Gentlemen.

There is no more appropriate day than St David’s Day on which to meet together to protest against the dreadful industrialisation of the precious landscape of rural Wales.

My opposition to windfarms generally is based on a number of reasons.

The first is their complete inadequacy and failure to live up to the propaganda and the second is the dreadful impact they have on the landscape, and the inevitable consequences this will have on our tourist industry.

Wind energy is fundamentally an expensive piece of political correctness that only benefits the subsidised companies that are exploiting the desire of the government to be seen as “green”.

It is symbolism on whose altar the Government wishes to sacrifice the rural landscape of Wales.

Windfarms are grossly inefficient. They cannot turn in a light wind and must be switched off in a strong one.

With speeds above twenty metres per second turbines can become dangerous, the blades must be feathered and production stopped.

With such intermittent and unreliable levels of generation, it is therefore necessary to have back up generators, which necessarily run on fossil fuel.

It is claimed windfarms will help prevent global warming on the basis they will help cut emissions of carbon dioxide.

This however takes no regard of the fact that the running of back up generators, usually coal fired, is necessary due to the unpredictable nature of the wind.

The belief that wind power is pollution free is a misconception.

Its impact on the local environment includes visual and noise intrusion, electromagnetic interference and possibly wildlife collisions.

If the proposal had been to build 39 wind turbines each 100 metres tall had been proposed for the South Downs or the Chilterns instead of here at Cefn Croes it would never have happened.

It would not have happened if Ceredigion Council had followed the advice of the Countryside Council of Wales which said the development was “inappropriate because of its detrimental effect on the landscape.”

It would not have happened if Rhodri Morgan and the Welsh Assembly Government had responded to calls for a full debate in the National Assembly, and for a public enquiry.

But the First Minister stated that the subject of windfarms is all about planning, and nothing else.

Not environmental issues, not economic development or anything else.

It would not have happened if the Environment Minister in Westminster, Brian Wilson, had actually deigned to visit Cefn Croes.

Instead, thanks to the dithering and inaction of the Welsh Assembly Government, approval was announced by Brian Wilson on a day return to Carmarthen.

The power to decide on windfarms must be devolved to the National Assembly with the final decision being taken after full debate, with the views of the local Assembly Members heard, by the Welsh Environment Minister

And now we have proposals for 165 turbines each 120 metres tall to be built above Strata Florida Abbey.

It is vital this proposal is subject to full debate in the National Assembly and a public inquiry.

How many people in Wales would welcome higher electricity prices and unpredictable production in exchange for the virtual desecration of the Cambrian Mountains.

The effect on tourism can only be negative.

Tourists to Mid and West Wales come to see the unspoilt beauty of our countryside, not mile after mile of giant steel turbines.

It would be far better, in terms of environmental impact, and the efficiency of energy production, for us to develop other forms of energy production.

Solar power is cheap and not unsightly. Geothermal energy and wave power are in their infancy.

For all the damage that these windfarms do to the environment, tourism and the local economy, they bring no economic benefits in return.

No new jobs are created through either the manufacture or maintenance of these turbines.

We in Wales should no longer have these monstrosities foisted upon us by a Minister in London who represents a seat in Scotland.

We demand the Government of Wales listens to the democratic will of the people and obtains the power to decide on further developments of this kind.

It is time to stop the desecration of our countryside.

Nick Bourne
1 March 2003