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  6. Welsh wind site policy under fire

Welsh wind site policy under fire

A Parliamentary committee has been urged to investigate current and future plans for wind farms and grid connections in mid-Wales.

That prospect was revealed during a Commons debate about wind farms in that area which had MPs from both sides of the border between Wales and England queuing up to complain about the impact of the planning policy of the Welsh Assembly Government for wind set out in its document called Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN 8).

Conservative backbencher Daniel Kawczynski, who represents Shrewsbury and Atcham, told MPs he had formally asked the chairman of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs to hold an inquiry into proposals for energy developments in mid Wales and Shropshire. Kawczynski invited other MPs to join him in persuading the Commons committee to intervene

The Commons heard that wind farms with a total capacity of between 600 and 800 turbines, as well as a 20-acre electricity sub-station and over 100 miles of overhead power lines, were under consideration because WAG had earmarked mid-Wales as an area suitable for large-scale wind generation.

The proposals have generated significant local opposition and concern about the impact on communities and tourism

Glyn Davies, the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire who secured last week’s Parliamentary debate, said: “Not even the enemies of Britain over the centuries have wrought such wanton destruction on such a wondrous part of the UK.”

A Welsh Assembly Government spokeswoman said: "Whilst wind energy is currently the most commercially viable technology available, our energy policy utilises the full mix of renewables, including biomass, marine, hydro-electricity, PV (photovoltaics) and energy from waste.

"We recognise the balance that has to be struck between the environmental and economic advantages and disadvantages of windfarm developments and our aim throughout has been to preserve the landscape and environment of Wales and to prevent the proliferation of large on-shore wind farms in an ad hoc manner."

Read the Commons Hansard record (10 May, column 347WH).

 

Roger Milne

19 May 2011