Friday, 22 April 2011

Fighting talk

For almost as long as I have been writing this blog, I have talked about the little village in the hills in which we made our home and how much it means to me.

This area is of negligible economic significance.
There is a small amount of light industry down in the Severn valley. Once you rise into the upland areas there are sheep and very little else.

Apart from wind.
There is certainly no shortage of that.
As a result, there have been wind farms springing up on the hills all around the area. There is one that I can see out of my office window, up on Mynydd Clogau, on land owned by my friend Angie and her husband. I remember the day that the turbine blades were fitted, seemingly all at once, and in that instant the view from my window changed forever.

That feeling of shock took me by surprise as I had always previously been in favour of wind power as a source of alternative energy. Over the years, I have grown accustomed to seeing them, and although a jarring sight, they are now familiar friends.

But the battle to have that wind farm erected nearly tore this village apart. When we moved here, it was a topic that was generally best avoided as there was still an undercurrent of bad feeling on both sides of the argument. And as the Welsh Assembly Government has earmarked this as a strategic area for alternative power generation, permission has been granted for several more wind farms, each bigger than the last.

Early in the New Year, we all received a large envelope through the post from the National Grid. The contents outlined in very vague terms their plans to build a substation for the wind farms to feed into, three incoming 132 kV power lines and a main 400 kV outgoing line to feed into the grid.

The two suggested locations for this 20-acre substation site and the 160 foot high pylons needed for the 400 kV line are either just outside my own little no-horse village or about a mile from the place that R is buried. The thought of either of these beautiful places being desecrated in this way just breaks my heart.

For the last few weeks there has been talk about little else around here, and the rounds of public meetings, collecting signatures, writing letters, etc. have started.
It is a long time since I have done any political agitating. We moved here for a quiet life and to leave the 'dirty' aspects of the world behind. But it appears that the world has followed me with its clumsy boots and greedy ways. There aren't really enough hours in the day already, but I think this is one fight worth making time for.