Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Written Evidence

Written Evidence from Alun John Richards

  I am a life-long environmental campaigner deeply concerned about climate change. The evidence that this is caused, at least in part, by pollution from the burning of fossil fuel is as yet unproven, but whilst even a possibility exists that this may be the case, it must be urgently addressed.

  The government clearly has no cogent energy policy and appears to have turned its back on the most obvious way to reduce emissions—use less energy. It has also singled out just one pollution source—electricity generation, and to this end has concentrated on probably the least effective, least reliable and amongst the most expensive, means of generation—wind.

  Quite apart from the technical evidence as to the ineffectiveness of wind as a large-scale power source, the fact that developers massage statistics—cite installed capacity rather than actual output, confuse average demand with maximum demand, talk emotively about homes despite domestic consumption being just a fraction of total needs and spurious employment predictions—suggests that their case is defective. Unfortunately present fiscal arrangements mean that wind generation is more profitable than any other industrial activity, providing developers with great financial leverage.

  Climate change is too serious a matter to have resources dissipated on such ineffectual measures while tidal and other means offer the probability of more effective and indeed cost-effective, ways of pollution attenuation. In the meantime nuclear and clean-coal technology offer fully developed technologies for so doing on a scale that wind never can.

  In the meantime TAN 8 places such pressure on Local Authorities to ignore local wishes and people's lives, livelihoods and property values, not to speak of the 50MW referral, as to call into question the legitimacy of the present regulatory framework.

  In the interest of protecting the landscape, the public purse and the well-being of individuals, I commend a moratorium on further wind power development in Wales.

25 November 2005

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