Written Evidence from Janet Haworth
I am writing to the Select Committee because
I feel desperate about Npower's planning application to site the
8th largest off-shore wind factory in the world in our beautiful
The Select Committee on Welsh Affairs has been
considering Welsh energy policy and I wanted to take this opportunity
to write to you about the Npower proposals because I believe the
proposals illustrate serious flaws in the government's energy
policy as it is being applied in Wales.
A year ago if asked I would have expressed a
preference for wind power over nuclear or carbon based energy
generation. I have changed my view because my understanding of
these issues has been changed by knowledge.
The knowledge that wind power is far less efficient
or economic than is being claimed by the developers of wind factories.
An understanding that if the UK is to be able call upon its own
energy resources then nuclear will be part of that provision.
The realization that wind power generation has negligible impact
on the level of CO2 emissions.
I am disappointed that government has not incentivised
local councils to promote responsible energy policies. For example
national awards for local authority buildings that meet energy
conservation targets and maximize opportunities for re-cycling.
A review of building regulations to insist on energy conservation
features in all new builds. Better public transport and support
for research and development into tidal power and the exploitation
of biomass. These latter ideas have less impact on our environment
than wind factories.
The evangelical rush for wind power has resulted
in Wales having 50% of the UK total number of wind turbines while
having only 8.5% of the UK land mass:
"Wales is becoming the dumping ground for
the UK's wind turbines" (1)
This is what happens when democracy is silenced.
When TAN 8 was formulated no debate was permitted in the Welsh
Assembly. Cumulative impact as a valid reason for objecting
against the development of wind factories has been removed and
this has encouraged developers such as Npower to place before
the DTI their outrageous proposals for the last stretch
of heritage coastline between here and St Bee's Head in Cumbria.
We already have 30 wind turbines off Prestatyn
some 14 miles off our heritage coastline and they currently intrude
upon our bay on clear days. Consent already exists for Rhyl Flats
which will bring 30 larger turbines much closer into the bay.
These will further erode the sea scape views currently enjoyed
by visitors . The well established residential areas of Rhos-on-Sea
and Colwyn Bay will be adversely affected by this development.
Not satisfied with this and doubtless attracted by generous government
grants Npower has submitted a third proposal to site some 200
of the largest turbines ever, in the bay. The visual impact will
be to fence our bay with a wall of steel.
Npower claim that there will be no impact on
tourism and that the industrialized landscape which will result
from their endeavours will attract tourists. Tourists do not visit
industrialized sites in significant numbers. Hundreds and thousands
of our visitors work and live in urbanized and industrialized
locations in the Midlands and North of England and they come to
Llandudno to escape that environment for a short while. Hotel
rooms with a sea view attract a premium and year after year our
town guide proudly displays our stunning promenade and the sea
Llandudno is unique among the Victorian seaside
resorts. It has survived largely intact because Mostyn Estates
has been able to protect the original vision of the Victorian
architects and engineers who have bequeathed us this wonderful
town with its wide streets and elegant buildings. The Victorian
crescent on the promenade has survived virtually in tact and unblemished
by the usual planning disasters which have defiled other seaside
towns. Llandudno has survived and continues to thrive because
of the way it looks. It really is that simple. That is why people
come here. That is why 18% of all bed space sold in Wales is sold
here. Tourism supports a prosperous local economy which ripples
out into Wales. We are a gateway to North Wales and further into
Wales. The local tourist industry provides jobs and work for a
multitude of small businesses which exist to serve the local tourist
industry. Npower's plans will threaten that economy and they will
deny to hardworking people from our Midlands and northern towns
a delightful holiday resort which is accessible to them within
two hours. With the new virgin train service from London many
members of the local Hospitality Association report that they
are now welcoming visitors from a wider catchment area.
There are plans to extend our theatre and conference
centre, developments to our popular shopping centre and the building
of a new swimming pool. Llandudno prizes its Victorian heritage
but not at the expense of sensitive developments which are in
keeping with our town and its breathtaking and unique sea and
The placing of any more wind factories in our
bay will threaten and put at risk the local tourist industry.
The assessment made by Npower regarding the
noise we are likely to hear from 260 wind turbines are unconvincing.
They fail to acknowledge the impact on our town of the constant
flickering of light when 780 blades are slicing sunlight.
Most disturbing of all is their avoidance of
any in depth analysis of the possible impact of massive and unprecedented
engineering works on and around a natural marine sand bank, namely
the Constable Bank. This feature provides a natural wave break
when the sea is stormy. It is a vital resting place and feeding
ground for marine life and sea birds. It is part of our natural
During the construction phase marine life and
birds will be distressed and their feeding grounds endangered.
The constant pile driving will be heard on-shore.
People will say:
"Llandudno is just not the same anymore."
"What a pity, they allowed all those turbines
to be put in the bay."
1 December 2005