Bona fide Anglesey based tourism businesses have been asked to complete a survey about what is vital to ensure the survival of quality tourism here on Anglesey, as it is possibly THE most important sector of the island's fragile economy. This post comes from one of my answers to a section of the survey all about the potential damage to tourism from wind turbine development:-
The photo illustration I created from one of my landscape images on sale in the gallery, is just a scaled 'guide' to what the different sized turbines actually look like in the landscape. It is not based on a specific location, size or turbine type. It will show just HOW huge the largest turbines will appear from land to sky from half a mile away. Look at the church at the base of the biggest turbines, and then REALLY use your powers of vision to imagine just what it would be like to stand near one of those monsters. Click on the image to see a much larger version.
In an area SO dependent on tourism, and tourism based on beautiful landscape, vast open views of mountains and sea, over rolling hillsides - as promoted in every brochure and website about Anglesey, the proliferation of applications and actual erections of ad-hoc turbines across the island, trashing views in every direction by what will be a canopy of 100-500ft turbines (and bigger if we look at Montgomeryshire's problems) will increasingly destroy one of the islands biggest employers, i.e. all of the tourist related industries.
In my particular case of course it's even more direct, I am known for my dramatic and serene Anglesey landscapes, I have published books of the beautiful Anglesey views and these books have been sold all over the world, even the Royal Couple have copies of my Anglesey landscape books, but I could no longer be able to shoot more open views of Anglesey without turbines thrusting upward all over the scenes from land to sky.
It's a disastrous move which will only serve to offer massive funds to already rich landowners at the expense of everyone else. All businesses will suffer, but any businesses based on photographing unspoiled landscapes and promoting Anglesey world wide, has an even more acute practical problem, unless we just photoshop turbines out and create blatant lies.
This is not even a wind versus no wind argument, it's about WHERE these awful, massively sky-scraping industrial structures will be placed. IF they work as successfully as the developers claim, and are 'for the good of the planet' then they should be out at sea, way off shore, so that they don't affect the lives; health; emotional and spiritual well being; jobs; businesses and therefore economy of local people, and as importantly, the asset we need to promote and celebrate, a beautiful island renowned for it's landscape and natural beauty, to visitors from all over the world.
Since April 2011 Anglesey was finally given the world stage once again, as a land fit for and loved by Royalty, yet within a year, a disease-like spread of wind turbine applications, predominantly from greedy landowners has shown that we can potentially destroy all the good that the Royal wedding brought us, in one fell swoop. I gather that Prince Charles is not in favour of on-shore wind turbines either, but a handful of landowners here, out of vested self interest, are willing to destroy that same rural countryside beauty rumoured to be so adored by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, regardless of the damaging effect for everything and everyone related to countryside tourism in this area.
The disgusting bribes that are called subsidies should be stopped without delay, this would show that turbines applications here on Anglesey are all about profit and greed and nothing to do with saving the planet. Landowners simply wouldn't want these things on their land without being paid for it.
Anglesey really must insist that any wind turbines are in 'farms' miles out at sea. Why should this island's economy and landscape suffer simply to make global energy and turbine companies more profit ? What matters more to island councillors, here in one of the poorest county in the UK, and for whom Anglesey's beauty is all we have left to offer - maintaining for the local people the beautiful rural island they depend on, with it's stunning views over the Snowdonia mountains and the Irish Sea, or lining the pockets of company directors many of whom don't even live in the UK, let alone Anglesey? Simple question.
Energy infrastructure is already scarring enough across Welsh landscape, but to add even more turbines and more pylons will be disastrous. Why does Anglesey even have a planning department and designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, if they are prepared to permit structures of 400 to 500 ft high (or more) to cover 240sq miles of this stunningly beautiful island?
It has been estimated in terms of power output, that it would take 57,000 turbines to match just one new nuclear station. Please think about that, FIFTY SEVEN THOUSAND turbines ! Even if we took that figure with a huge pinch of salt and halved the figure, we'd still need 28-29,000 turbines! This shows that even a hundred or so random turbine erections wouldn't even scratch the surface of our energy needs, but WOULD disfigure beautiful countryside and the views there-from for generations to come. Supporters talk about simply removing them in 20-25 years time when better energy solutions are found, but no, it will be just like at Cemaes, turbines will be replaced instead for after spending millions erecting these things, do we honestly think any company would simply take down their own investments when something else comes along!? That's cloud cuckoo land.
People come to Anglesey to escape large urban areas and visually confined spaces, rows of streets and buildings, acres of buildings, suburbia, the networks of roads, rails, cables, phone lines and pylons - the noise, the hustle and bustle of town & city life. They look for something simpler, less cluttered, more open, more space, more freedom, wide views, un-obliterated skies, a chance to recollect they way things once were, free of huge man made developments.
At present they can walk or cycle down tiny country lanes, they can look up at skylarks and swallows circling in the summer sky and buzzards & kestrels hovering over open countryside. They can look out over rolling hills of crops and hedgerows and woodlands. They can look towards the magnificent Snowdonia range, and discern all the different peaks with their beautiful names and characteristic summits. They can reflect upon the ancient history of Anglesey, and conjure imagination about a land of Celts, an an island which was the golden grain centre for Wales under Llewellyn the Great. They can sit at Barclodiad y Gawres or Bryn Celli Ddu and imagine times even further past, thousands of years ago - it's not a joke, we can still do that now, it's what the tourists adore and flock here for.
Now imagine the same scenes, the mountains, the rolling hills, the ancient settlements, the historic churches and chapels, the archaeological sites from stepping stones to castles, and THEN ADD TURBINES, in from of them, behind them, to the side of them. Look up at the sky to see the skylarks and you will only notice the 150ft turbine blades, rotating at over 200mph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine), slashing the air, slashing the land with headache-inducing shadows of blades, relentless - you CAN hear the actual turbines too, sit under any of those at Cemaes to find that out for real.
Is THIS the beautiful isle we want to live on, celebrate and promote? Is this the ancient isle of magic, myth and rich history ? This 'wonder' that is Anglesey, is NOT the place for a canopy of industrial metal turbines, pylons and overhead cables. This is NOT the island to destroy narrow lanes for, just to permit access traffic. This is not the island to be nail-gunned by turbines so that huge corporations can simply make vast profits, this will not be 'free energy' for anyone, yes the wind is free but the investments will see all of us paying for it for ever. This is not the island to polarise the rich and poor, by increasing the wealth of the already privileged landowning few, at the expense of the majority of Anglesey loving residents. Other UK energy generation is at least generally confined to spaces a couple of miles wide, and doesn't visually impact so destructively for over 240 square miles of beautiful island !
These 'green' turbines are themselves hewn from landscapes in other countries, leaving other scarred landscapes and toxic lakes as a result - both from the mineral extraction used to build the units, millions of tons of iron & aluminium, copper & magnetic materials, amongst many others, for the towers, turbines & rotors - followed by the massive CO2 emissions caused by their production, from smelting, manufacture, transportation (mostly from abroad), turbine erection, and the replacement of units after just 2 or 3 decades - NO these are not our green salvation, (though off shore farms may have to be seen as part of the overall provision of new energy sources) but most certainly should not create the loss of such precious, beautiful open countryside like Anglesey. I will restate again, build them OUT at sea, not onshore.
Most of us, residents and locals alike, are generally supportive of tidal schemes, subsidies for solar panels, geo-thermal energy, heat exchange generators and so on (whilst we wait for government to find alternatives which should have been researched and developed 20-30 years ago when Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace first started warning us). The fact that Wylfa B would provide around 1000 permanent local jobs has at least offered some positive benefit to energy generation here on Anglesey, which turbines simply will NOT do after they have been erected. Whilst I am personally not a fan of nuclear power, primarily due to the inherent dangers and unsolved waste problems, I'd nevertheless now rather see one modern nuclear station in this relatively non-seismic area, than 57,000 turbines across spectacular mountains and coasts. We've lived with Wylfa B for 25 years already, in it's square mile of coast, so I think it's something we have already learned to accept. A canopy of only partially green, partially effective turbines is another matter altogether!
One of the advantages of a gallery, is that I get to talk to many many hundreds of visitors, and I can categorically state that whilst ALL of us desire to find genuine renewable energy for the planet, not ONE of my visitors believe that a development of onshore turbines are right here on Anglesey, and are indeed horrified by the information that 400ft+ turbines are being applied for, genuinely horrified.
My customers, who by and large are the from Cheshire, the Wirral, Lancashire & the Midlands, buy my images to take the beauty of Anglesey home with them. I know, that the love they share for this amazingly beautiful rural landscape will be badly affected by a proliferation of large turbines. In terms of the images they take home, they are taking home memories of a place which has given them joy and a sense of the wild, of nature, and of freedom.
Permitting onshore turbines is the single most catastrophic mistake we could make if we wish to keep Anglesey magical, beautiful and a top tourist destination for visitors and locals alike. The Prime Minister has recognised the madness of turbines in his recent turnabout over planning guidelines for wind farms. He has even angered European turbine companies over his enlightened new view about them, but will Wales have the same foresight, the ability to employ clear imagination and vision what the landscape will REALLY look like after it's abuse - as it's nothing like the romantic picture of tree-hugging Windy Millers in white walled, isolated windmills, which seems to be the myth perpetrated by those who stand to make millions out of what will actually be monstrous industrial aliens.
They are already planning on building turbines in Snowdonia as well, and in Denbighshire there are plans to erect 25 x 475 ft high turbines on the MOUNTAIN TOP of Mynydd Mynyllod! The only place for them is OFFSHORE - Yes this costs money, but we can't feel sorry for the developers. Like any business they just need to factor in the extra development and erection costs and see their profit return over a much longer period. Why should so many people and businesses suffer simply so that massive businesses can make bigger bucks at our expense ? If they are a viable planet saving solution (which we know they are not, just a small part) then easy profit shouldn't come into this, protecting landscape and economies dependent on landscape really should.