Being close to and caring for the natural environment has always been close to my heart, and it has had a profound effect on my life. Whatever life throws at me it is always to the countryside that I turn to restore my health, my balance and to recharge the incredible energy I derive from just being out there. This is especially so of the mountains and wild places. It gives meaning to my paintings and keeps me in touch with reality when much of the world is in turmoil.
It goes without saying that when such places are threatened by inappropriate development that I naturally feel the need to spring to their defence, and sadly never before have such threats been so potentially devastating as we now see unfolding before our eyes. Much of my work has had to be put aside so that I can protest about what is now happening in Wales, and indeed much of Britain.
Wales is a small country of considerable natural beauty, and Mid-Wales where Jenny and I live is a land of green, rolling hillsides where sparkling streams tumble down from the wild uplands to lush valleys sprinkled with cottages, farms and the occasional village, a haven of peace for those who enjoy the quieter life or want to recharge their batteries worn down by modern stressful living.
For many years we have seen the building of wind turbines across these landscapes, and now it is difficult to drive through Mid-Wales without actually seeing one. Soon, if those in government get their way, there will be a veritable flood of these gigantic industrial structures: some 800 are planned for Mid-Wales alone, scattered around without any thought to how this massed invasion will effect the lives, the economy, the health or the well-being of those that live here. The Welsh Assembly refuse to conduct a survey into how all this is likely to affect tourism, the lifeblood of our economy, or one to ascertain the health and social issues on locals.
The fact that this form of renewable energy is grossly ineffective makes this programme of industrialisation of the natural environment utterly bizarre and irresponsible. The drawbacks of wind energy include:
- where turbines are built on peat blankets they destroy the ecology system;
- massive concrete turbine bases en masse exacerbate flooding during periods of heavy rain;
- turbine blades cannot be disposed of safely except by landfill;
- turbines emit an insidious low-frequency noise that can drive some people mad;
- where turbines are built too close to property many have had to abandon their unsellable homes;
- they can cause severe sleep deprivation, acute hypertensive crises, heart attacks and depression;
- they can lower property values considerably, sometimes to the point of being unsellable;
- turbines kill birds, particularly raptors, and bats, and can spook horses;
- tourists and those that enjoy natural countryside are simply going to go elsewhere;
- during periods of construction even major highways will be blocked by the massive loads;
- in Mid-Wales it is estimated to take 5 to 7 years to construct the projects under consideration;
- where the RAF will go to do low-flying training is anybody's guess;
- wind turbines collapse, explode, catch fire and hurl ice, thus creating a wide danger zone;
All this is for unreliable, intermittent and pathetically small amounts of energy with the outrageous proviso that if the grid cannot cope with any wind energy at certain times, the company involved is paid vast amounts of money for not producing any energy. Additionally, the turbines have to be backed up by conventional power stations 100% of the time, a process which is more energy-demanding than if the power stations were running under normal conditions.
If all these further proposed developments go ahead would you wish to visit Wales? I certainly wouldn't blame you for staying away. If you feel that way why not drop the Welsh Assembly first minister an email telling him that you would not wish to visit such a place - his address is firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading this.