They came from Ceredigion, they came from Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Radnorshire, Snowdonia, from Shropshire, Devon, Cornwall, Cheshire, and many more places; but most of all from Montgomeryshire. They descended on Cardiff to protest against the destruction and industrialisation of the beautiful Mid-Wales countryside by over 600 wind turbines, with their associated tall pylons, substations and other structures. To protest against the gridlock of main Powys roads every weekday for six years or more, with the associated works of building new roads, bridges, and moving road furniture to carry massive turbine structures and thousands of tons of concrete for their bases, concrete production being one of the most polluting processes known to man. At the same time destroying peat blankets that store CO2, thus releasing the very thing these turbines are supposed to be reducing.
Jenny and I travelled down with a coach-load of protesters. My first problem was when they handed out the song-sheet – no-one else on the bus appeared to be able to read Welsh, so Muggins had to blast away…..anyone who has witnessed my singing will recoil with the awful memory, and in the confines of the coach it must have sounded dreadful – I’m no Katherine Jenkins! We’re deeply concerned that it is clear that most of Mid-Wales will become one vast windfarm if these plans go ahead. We certainly would not want to walk and sketch amongst these useless structures. They would devastate the local economy that relies so much on tourism.
This was the largest demonstration they had seen at the Welsh Assembly. All the political parties sent out a representative: Labour sent out a girl who had only been an AM for a couple of weeks, while her leader hid away in the Senedd; the Lib-Dem leader, an AM for Mid-Wales shamefully made no appearance; Plaid Cymru, the party whom one would expect to stand up for Wales, made it sound as though he’d fought on our side, which was patently not the case; only the local Conservative MP for Montgomery, the man who galvanised the growing protest movement, stood up for our glorious countryside. Most magnificent was Myfanwy from Meifod who tore into the Welsh Assembly with a ferocity and touch of humour that received a tremendous applause.
But then, not to be outdone, stepped forward that wonderful organisation that strikes terror into the heart of any British government, should they step out of line – the WI. The representative from the Womens’ Institute told the Welsh Ass in no uncertain terms that this wasn’t good enough – a rethink on their energy strategy was necessary. Then, finally, as is always fitting in Wales, we all sang, and sang……
Whether we are artists, walkers, riders, tourists seeking solitude and peace, or whatever, we need the countryside for our health, our sanity and to de-stress. Nothing works better than nature, but if we are not careful we have so much to lose now. If you feel you would like to sign the Welsh Assembly petition against these proposals please see http://www.assemblywales.org/gethome/e-petitions