Written Evidence from Conwy Locals Opposing
Unnecessary Turbines (CLOUT)
We would like to take this opportunity to comment
on the current and future portfolio of energy provision in Wales
as it relates to wind farms.
Over the past four years the rapid expansion
of speculative wind farm development within our area has been
a cause of great concern and upset to many local residents. Indeed,
our group was set up specifically to deal with wind farm applications
within the county of Conwy. It consists entirely of local residents:
busy, working people, who, with their own time and money, have
fought vigorously to protect the environment in which they live.
As such, we have had much experience at a local level on the issues
surrounding wind farm development.
In general terms, we would like to raise the
following as points for discussion in relation to the Welsh Assembly
Government's policy on wind power, with particular reference to
Technical Advice Note 8:
TAN 8 is too heavily biased in favour
of wind farm development to the detriment of other less environmentally-damaging
The inefficiency of wind turbines
and the need for back-up power generation has not been adequately
examined. The unpredictability of wind power results in little
or no reduction in CO2 emissions and thus it is not clean energy
in any true sense of the word. Indeed, CO2 emissions continue
to rise each year and, to our knowledge, no power stations have
been stopped or turned down because of energy substituted from
Too little emphasis is placed on
energy conservation and energy saving measures.
In TAN 8 no account is taken of the
impact of wind farm developments on tourism.
No mention is made of the indirect
subsidy received by the wind farm developers from Renewable Obligation
Certificates and the cost which will ultimately be borne by consumers.
TAN 8 proposes using heavily-forested
areas which will ultimately mean the removal of trees which provide
valuable CO2 sinks. Similarly, peat reserves play a valuable role
in carbon sequestration but these areas will also be badly damaged
by turbine bases.
No mention is made of the potential
for flash flooding on lower valley areas as a direct consequence
of soil/peat displacement from wind turbine bases and associated
No mention is made of the social
disharmony caused by wind farm developments and the devastating,
dividing effect this can have on small, rural communities.
Environmental Impact Assessments
are invariably written by wind-energy consultants and are thus
biased in favour of wind power schemes. The visual impact of proposed
developments and the effects on wildlife and local ecology are
routinely played down. Energy outputs are exaggerated and incorrect
efficiency factors are frequently used. Similarly, the Welsh Assembly
Government did not seek impartial advice in the writing of TAN
8 but relied almost entirely on wind-energy consultants for its
No mention is made, or the issue
explored, of the possible harmful effects of low frequency noise
and the impact on human health.
No mention is made of the detrimental
effect of wind farm developments on property prices.
TAN 8 places undue pressure on regional
Planning Officers ie. counties must produce their quota of so-called
renewable energy, whatever the circumstances. Seemingly, no mitigating
planning policies will be taken into account and Planning Officers
are using TAN 8 as a justification for granting approval of often
controversial planning applications.
Assuming the off-shore development
at Gwynt-y-Mor is granted consent, we have not been given a clear
answer as to whether the output total will be awarded to England
We would like to know why the DTI
and the WDA have consistently blocked tidal energy as a viable
and more cost-effective alternative to wind power. Though we were
told by Tidal Electric that the Swansea Lagoon could be generating
before 2010, this was refuted by Welsh Assembly Ministers. We
now learn that the project has been allowed to proceed beyond
the consents stage and could be generating before 2010. Such misinformation
on the part of the DTI and WDA has seriously skewed opinion and
the market in favour of wind farms.
28 November 2005