Another issue which featured on Pawb a'i Farn this week was the 'uglification' (or not) of the uplands of Montgomeryshire by an invasion of wind turbines. Must admit I don't enjoy discussing this issue, because its so divisive, and so difficult to hold discussion in its proper context. I'll just bring two aspects of the debate into this post - two aspects which should always form part of the backdrop to any serious discussion.
Firstly, its not logical to even consider whether wind farms are ugly or not, without including connections to the National Grid in the consideration. When I tried to broaden the discussion to include cables and pylons, I could sense immediately that Dewi thought this was drifting off topic. Well its not. Its central to it. Many of the wind farms that are being considered on the uplands of West Montgomeryshire cannot go ahead without the construction of a 400 kv cable hanging on massive metal pylons stretching from somewhere in Shropshire, all the way up either the Severn or Vyrnwy valleys to somewhere in the Carno area - a truly hideous prospect. Many people are under the impression that this cable could be buried. In my opinion, there is an inherent dishonesty in this suggestion, because it is just not going to happen - because of cost. I'll argue for underground cabling wherever its possible, but its going to be limited to short stretches - at best.
And secondly, some people seem to think its 'better wind turbines than nuclear power', as if they are alternatives. I've even heard of unscrupulous politicians seeking to engender support for wind turbines by raising this 'option' as a serious consideration. If it was, I might consider supporting wind turbines myself. Reality is its not. All debate about new nuclear power generation is over. The Government is so committed to nuclear that its fixing the planning system to facilitate the easiest possible passage for planning applications, and bulldozing through public objection.
Anyway, we had a debate about the issue, and I was on the losing side - again. When Dewi asked the audience whether they thought wind farms 'uglified' the Montgomeryshire Uplands, the Ayes lost by at least 3-1.