"Vast arrays of massive industrial wind turbines are, to any rational mind, entirely incompatible with delicate marine ecosystems...."
The Welsh government has, some might say, gained a reputation for something of a 'gangster' approach to industrial wind farm development, riding roughshod over the land, ignoring the wishes of local people, whose lives are being adversely affected by the industrialisation of their timeless landscapes.
Take the debacle at the Hendy wind farm site at Llandegely. This is a farce of the highest order. But a farce might imply comedy - and there is nothing remotely funny about the vandalism of the wonderful Llandegely countryside.
The Hendy wind farm was strongly opposed by the local community, and the local council too rejected the plan. But the government overturned both decisions and the development is sadly now progressing. With concrete being poured into the pristine landscape, local people are utterly dismayed that their treasured countryside is being ruined forever.
But they are still fighting, determined to resist.
'Protected' Seas At Risk Of Industrial Development
Speaking of Wales, it's worth noting that the Welsh government is perhaps not even satisfied with ruining the beautiful Welsh countryside with onshore wind farms.
Ministers seems likely to pursue plans for more offshore wind farms in spite of the fact that 69% of the seas around Wales are classed as Marine Protected Areas and of international importance to wildlife. Marine Protected Areas constitute a combination of: Special Areas of Conservations (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ), Nature Conservation MPAs (NCMPA), Marine Nature Reserves (MNR), and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The reason for the existence of such designated areas is to protect the unique natural environment and delicate ecosystems that are covered by these classifications.
But a report for the Welsh Government, produced by Carbon Trust suggests that this protection may not necessarily be a major barrier to new projects, provided that Habitat and Environmental Impact Assessments can demonstrate 'no significant adverse effects'.
The problem is that such assessments tend to be led by the Crown Estate (who claim ownership of the sea bed to 12 nautical miles) and the wind farm developers themselves.
Dolphins, Whales, Turtles - All At Risk
The development of more offshore wind farms will present a significant threat to birdlife of course - we know the effects of turbine strike on birds - but there are major concerns too over their impact on marine mammals such as the Harbour Porpoise. This species is thought to be especially vulnerable to wind farm development, especially in the construction phase, and has been the subject of strict European protection laws in recent years.
Many other legally protected species are present in the waters of the Irish Sea, around the Welsh coast.
These include Bottlenose dolphin, Short-beaked common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, Minke whale, Sturgeon, Loggerhead turtle, Green turtle, Kemp’s Ridley turtle, Hawksbill turtle and Leatherback turtle.
In order to carry out work that might affect these vulnerable creatures, it would be necessary to apply for a licence. Unfortunately for the animals, the licences are issued by Natural Resources Wales, the same body that thought it was acceptable to hand out licences to shoot some 20 endangered species of birds....
New laws that came into effect in 2017 (Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations) (CHSR) prohibit, among other offences, 'disturbing' whales, dolphins and porpoises.
I suggest that the installation of industrial scale wind farms would, without doubt, 'disturb' such animals.
Vast arrays of massive industrial wind turbines are, to any rational mind, entirely incompatible with delicate marine ecosystems.
Worldwide Problem - And Worldwide Protests
Wales currently has three offshore wind farms, and although there are no confirmed plans to further industrialise the Irish Sea around the Welsh coast, it seems likely, in the wake of the Welsh Government report, that there is an intention to develop wind farms in the area.
It would of course be wrong to single out Wales in this matter.
The UK as a whole has the dubious reputation of possessing the biggest offshore wind farms in the world. It's nothing of which to be proud. In a recent article, I put forward the theory of a possible correlation between the proliferation of wind farms around the UK and the huge number of cetacean deaths in seas around Britain in recent years. Not enough research has been carried out into the plausible and potentially catastrophic effect of wind farms on marine life and yet we find ourselves having already filled the seas with industrial turbines on a massive scale.
Ireland too is exploring the possibility of industrialising its seas.
In France, communities are fighting projects that include building large wind farms off the beautiful Atlantic coast much to the chagrin of those living on the region's beautiful islands.
And further afield, worried residents of coastal United States are fighting their own David and Goliath battles against big wind companies who want to monetize the ocean.
Wind Energy - The 'Quack Cure' Remedy For An Environmental Crisis
This voracious appetite and fashionable trend for wind energy is so misguided.
It isn't, and will never be, the solution to climate change, global warming, whatever label you'd like to place on the crisis facing this amazing world that we share with so many other forms of life.
Pursuing wind energy, as I've said many times, is adding to the chaotic damage that the human race is wreaking on our planet and is putting even more of our wildlife and its habitat at risk.
It's all bad.
Trashing the seas, killing the creatures that inhabit our oceans. Humankind has learnt nothing. How many windmills will it take before the idealists realise the gross stupidity in believing these monsters to be some miracle that is going to save our world?
It's not a solution, it is nothing more than the old remedies peddled by quack doctors that were claimed to cure all ills and yet contained nothing more than a spoonful of sugar mixed with a dash of gullibility.
It didn't work, it didn't cure the problem - and neither will wind turbines.
We have an environmental crisis and they are trying to make it better with a sugar pill. But it's a sugar pill dipped in poison - because while the wind turbines spin, they are potentially killing the oceans.
Worshipping false idols and believing them to be the saviours of the world.
It's an age old story - and still it is being proclaimed as truth.
It seems that humankind will never ever learn.
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