A hardy group of STEMM supporters spent the day in Bala recently giving out information about Scottish Power Renewables’ plans for a massive wind farm only a few miles from the heart of the town.
During the day the group chatted with not only local residents, but also visitors to the area who were all keen to sign STEMM’s petition as they did not want to see such a beautiful area ruined by 25 wind turbines which, at 145 metres or 475 feet, would be the tallest currently onshore in the UK. One of the fears is that the development could deter visitors to the Upper Dee Valley at a time when the economy is already struggling.
STEMM members were also helping promote a new UK wide body which is giving a voice to the hundreds of anti wind farm groups across the country. NOW, or National Opposition to Windfarms, was launched on April 19 at the Palace of Westminster by the eminent lawyer and politician Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC. More details about the organisation can be found at http://www.nowind.org.uk/
One point that was raised by a number of tourists who were heading on to the Snowdonia National Park after leaving Bala, was why the Upper Dee Valley had been chosen by SPR for such a major scheme. This was difficult to answer given that the area lies outside TAN8, the seven areas designated by the Welsh Assembly government in 2005 for large scale wind farms, with the aim of curbing their proliferation in the stunning Welsh countryside. However, it could be that SPR is using this as a test case as, if this scheme gets the go ahead, then it will have set a precedent which could open up swathes of the Welsh landscape to this form of industrial development.
Therefore, this is a fight that MUST be won, not only for our area, but potentially for many other unspoilt parts of Wales, too.