Wind turbines – will they allow them to destroy the iconic world renowned view from Laugharne and the Dylan Thomas land of inspiration become a clouded memory in verse.
http://www.gofundme.com/hz04yo – official fundraising site where donations for help with the legal costs for the Judicial Review which is now to take place in mid January.
Although totally committed to alternative energy to help the world to survive a bit longer – we are passionate about the preservation of the natural beauty of the countryside in this special area and indeed right across Wales. As the person from the National Trust said they want 50% of their energy use to be from sustainable alternative energy, but it has to be without destroying the beauty of our natural and built heritage. To this we must add: without spoiling the habitats of our rapidly declining wild-life that is seriously disappearing particularly because of modern farming methods that are turning our countryside into green deserts.
Sun painted view from just above the Boathouse – the turbine will be seen on the left hand side
This dilemma is compounded by the fact that the true story is not revealed and that wind turbines, in their present form, do not actually do anything to solve the problem of global warming and they are paid for by a stealth tax imposed on every household bill in the country because of the huge subsidies given to the developers and land owners. What is even more extraordinary is that individuals in our small community are not allowed solar panels on their houses if they face the street because they might spoil the character of the village and yet they would consider a huge white monster wind turbine on the skyline placed in an area that has many conservation categories such as SLA – (Special Landscape Area), an area of historical and cultural importance, an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and EU Marine conservation area which covers the whole of Carmarthen bay and the three estuaries.
Wind turbine opposite Laugharne in view of Dylan Thomas Boathouse – our cultural heritage.
This paper was published on 22nd July 2014 by the European Parliament about the urgent need to protect, enhance and promote our cultural and environmental heritage. http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/publications/2014-heritage-communication_en.pdf
Geese, in their hundreds, come flying in from many directions to roost on the marshes at night. Resting, gathering together in the fields around the area. Wind turbines have been proved to kill birds such as birds of prey that get killed because they are looking for prey on the ground.
What this document states fits so well with our thinking that the Dylan Thomas legacy is a great deal more than just a local issue as cited in the refusal by Carl Sargeant (Assembly Member of the Welsh Parliament – Minister responsible for Housing and Regeneration) to ‘call in’ the planned wind turbine. The site proposed is directly opposite Dylan Thomas’s boathouse, the 13th century castle and this small town that attracts tourism to the whole of Wales, not just to this small community. Many people requested this planning application to be ‘called in’ because if passed would be a blight on the horizon that would not only spoil the immediate area, but which would ruin the whole atmosphere of the landscape that so inspired Wales’s most famous poet. Dylan Thomas’s legacy lives on to give a sustained income not only to the local community, it is also a driving force that brings many tourists to Wales that in turn bring in foreign currency so badly needed by the Principality.
Only Local people’s objections to this wind turbine worth considering?
It was also stated by Carmarthenshire County Council that objectors outside the county were not relevant – even Americans. Dylan Thomas was like a present day ‘pop star’ he wooed and won over the hearts of generations of Americans whose understanding of Dylan Thomas is as a romantic, conveying idyllic enchantment, stories that give vibrant reality to the social history of the time and these travelers want to go to the places and meet the kind of people that inspired his extraordinary work. Llansteffan is where he made notes of many of his observations and thoughts, these notebooks written in as a young man sustained his creativity for many years. This is the landscape that will be destroyed, especially if more and more wind turbines are built on the horizon as hinted at in the application document – phase 1. What the locals are afraid of is that this wind turbine will become a precedent and that will open the door to many more being sited on the land next to the site – coincidentally owned by the financially strapped County Council. Added to this there will be the infrastructure to take away the electricity that is generated – pylons.
The planning statement said that this development was in line with other such structures in the area for instance the pylons. These pylons were installed in the 1950s when the National Grid was formed in an attempt to rationalise the electric supply throughout the country after WWII and long before we began to take greater care of our environmental heritage. They are also 3.5K away, so the argument is irrational.
Carmarthenshire County Council Planning Committee (made up of elected councillors) decided in a predetermined and prejudicial way to pass this planning application despite it being recommended for refusal by the professional planning officers, with a massive list of reasons for rejecting the application for this single wind turbine. They passed this planning application even though it went against their own stringent guidelines for the siting of wind turbines and the guidelines of the Welsh Assembly. The local community council of Llansteffan and Llanybri and the town council of Laugharne fiercely opposed the proposed turbine, as did the National Trust, who endorsed their objection by sending out a press release citing their views. There were 500 letters of objections from both within the county, other parts of Wales, the rest of the UK and abroad. A petition of 200 signatures from Laugharne and many other objections and protests are still being voiced. There was only one letter in favour of the proposed turbine.
Locals say “NO TO WIND TURBINE”
A group of local protestors desperately trying to show how strongly they felt about this turbine application.
The local councillor campaigned vigorously on behalf of his friend and business associate – completely against all codes of conduct as laid down by Carmarthenshire County Council and the Ombudsman. His one sided support of his friend incensed the Community Council of Llansteffan and Llanybri so much so that they took the unprecedented step of passing a ‘vote of no confidence’ in their chairman. He did not represent the constituents who were so opposed to this wind turbine. The community council have made official complaints to the monitoring officer of Carmarthenshire County Council as well as the Welsh Assembly Ombudsman. This councillor is Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council and vice-chair of the Planning Committee using his status, perhaps, to influence other councillors to vote in favour of his friend’s application – who will be paid a substantial subsidy as a guaranteed income for 20 years, and I believe index linked. He will also be paid if the wind turbine is turned off due to high winds – loss of income! This is not a poor hill farmer – he owns approximately 600 acres in this area (three farms all probably subject to single farm allowances) and another 2 farms in Brecon. He already has a bank of solar panels on his very large agricultural shed roof, which he boasts provide more than enough energy for the farm use and is often paid by the grid for surplus. His friend, the local councillor, declared that ‘he did not know what the fuss was about because the farmer only needed the turbine for his own use’. The farmer has geothermal for his domestic needs as well as the large bank of solar panels.
Many ordinary people have sent in complaints to the ombudsman about this councillor’s lack of professional integrity and disregard of the protocol and code of conduct. They are also greatly angered about the council planning committee’s decision and are completely astonished that this planning application was ever passed in this totally undemocratic way.
The local councillor and his friend, the wealthy landowner, attending a private site meeting of the Carmarthenshire County Council Planning Committee and the Planning Officers, together with the land owner’s family. The public were prevented from entering the site – gate closed, tied and guarded! They took so long deliberating about the view that the turbine might enjoy, if it had been about 6ft high, that they did not have time to go to Laugharne or stand on the balcony of the nearest resident to see what an overpowering and offensive structure this would be in this idyllic landscape.
The local communities are still fighting hard to get this wind turbine plan quashed by applying for a Judicial Review. Is there anything that the Welsh Assembly could do to help by perhaps revisiting the possibility of a ‘call in’? Protocol guidelines can sometimes stifle common sense, but surely the way that this whole procedure has been shockingly conducted and without due regard to the wider issue of tourism across Wales that is initiated by the Dylan Thomas story. – there must be something that can be done to stop this in its tracks?
Carmarthenshire County Council take on expensive barrister to fight the Judicial Review for this one wind turbine despite huge cut backs.
What is also pretty shocking is that Carmarthenshire County Council have taken on a very expensive and high profile barrister to fight the Judicial Review for a single rural wind turbine! This when they are complaining about the severe cuts there will have to be in services because of cost cutting demands throughout the county. Is this moral when they have a full-time professional legal team? http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/Cuts-cause-service-meltdown/story-21642928-detail/story.html
This newly published EU document is about our responsibility to preserve our cultural and environmental heritage. It voices our views so succinctly that our heritage is not just the stones out of which the monuments are built and only extending to the tight confines of the curtilage of such buildings. It is also about the wider views that inspired many great poets, writers, film makers and artists throughout the ages as well as the historical journey of these places and the surrounding landscape.
The wider imagery leaves a legacy of the artists’ visions and an ability for students of all ages and from anywhere in the world to learn and study this legacy in the context of the original inspiration. The story is not about the bones of heritage, but the whole body – going deep into history and widely across the landscape. Dylan Thomas hardly wrote anything about the little cottage that he lived in – his vision included the far reaching views, the intimate raw and realistic stories of the people, nature and wild-life – he created the music of words formed by pictures in his mind while observing his surroundings and the people and nature that was the energy and life-blood of his art.
Another strange comment from the council was that the writing shed was not open to the public so they would not be able to see the wind turbine from Dylan Thomas’s writing shed. The tourists would be able to see straight through the shed and see the wind turbine and just standing outside, of course they will be able to see the wind turbine. What a dishonest comment to make and totally misleading for those who do not come to or know the area.
Many other artists have been and still are inspired by this unspoilt landscape. Turner painted Laugharne Castle and Llansteffan castle cleverly incorporating the story of the people that lived around these monuments. Augustus John, the Welsh born artist, was a frequent visitor. Today many creative people live and work in the area – artists, writers, film makers, musicians – all adding new layers of creativity and interest to this iconic place in Wales. The stories of these modern day artists draw interest, publicity and vital tourism to this ordinary and extraordinary place either side of the Taf estuary. The magic in turn inspires people from all over the world to visit many other parts of Wales. They do not just take a bus to Laugharne, visit the Boathouse, buy a bag of chips and go home – they take a tour around Wales which might last just a few days or several weeks – exploring, experiencing, studying many different dimensions of this amazing country.
Contemporary art – a reflection of Laugharne – celebrating the centennial of Dylan Thomas’s birth in 1914. A copy of ‘the writing shed’ in mirrors bobbed strangely on the water and then sat in the mud throwing back pictures of the surroundings.
Laugharne in early morning – as seen from the other side of the Taf Estuary – the heron priested shore – is it now to be a ‘wind turbine priested shore and herons and larks no more’?
Night-time view from above The Boathouse of Dylan Thomas
Llansteffan – great tranquil beauty throughout the year and any time of the day or night – a perfect holiday destination. http://www.llansteffan.com/
UNDER MILKWOOD by Dylan Thomas
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobble streets silent and the hunched, courters’ – and – rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crow-black, fishing-boat-bobbing sea.
The beauty of our natural heritage – lanes bedecked with flowers and clusters of humbug snails on dried winter stems. Llanybri, Llansteffan beauty – near Fernhill.
The Force That through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower – By Dylan Thomas
“Or waves break loud on the seashores;”
And Death Shall Have No Dominion –
By Dylan Thomas
”Blackbirds again flew out from the topmost boughs”
“there was no end to the black, triangular flight of birds toward the sun”
”Blackbirds again flew out from the topmost boughs in a cloud like cone; there was no end to the black, triangular flight of birds toward the sun; from hill to sun the winged bridge mounted silently; and then again a wind blew up, and this time from the vast and proper sea, and snapped the bridge’s back. Like partridges the common birds fell down in a shower”
Dylan Thomas – Short stories “A prospect of the sea”
Fern Hill – By Dylan Thomas