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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Wind farm 'would end jet training'
Hawk jet
Jet training requires the wide-open spaces of mid Wales
A 200m project to build the largest wind farm in Europe in a mid Wales beauty spot would make the area unusable for low-flying military jets, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has told the BBC.

The MoD is formally objecting to plans to build 165 turbines - each 400ft high - in the Cambrian Hills near Tregaron.

Due to its close proximity to this other proposed wind farm, and the construction of 300ft high wind turbines, the value of this training area would be negated

MoD statement to BBC Wales

It has told BBC Wales Welsh-language current affairs programme Taro Naw that if the plan by the Camddwr Trust goes ahead, it will end low-flying training in mid Wales.

That could also have an effect on RAF Valley on Anglesey in north Wales but might also appeal to those who, while uncertain about the wind farm, are opposed to the low-flying exercises.

Campaigners against plans to build wind farms in mid Wales have held a series of public meetings in their opposition to the turbines.

The Camddwr Trust wants to build one of the world's biggest wind farms.

Supporters of the development say that it will bring millions of pounds a year to the local economy, and that it is a way of keeping young families in the area.

Wind turbines
Wind turbines are seen as vital to producing "green" energy

But the opposition disagrees, arguing that the project will be of little benefit to the local population and that it is a misconception that mountains provide stronger winds for the turbines.

The Ministry of Defence is one of the more high-profile opponents of the Camddwr Trust scheme.

It is concerned that one of the cornerstone's of its training regime in mid Wales, the practising of low-level flying, may have to be abandoned.

In a statement to the programme the department said: "The proposal at Camddwr lies within one of the MOD's Tactical Training Areas, where fast jet and Hercules training is conducted down to a height of 100ft.

"In addition Camddwr would also be located close to the large proposed development at Cefn Croes.

"Due to its close proximity to this other proposed wind farm, and the construction of 300ft high wind turbines, the value of this training area would be negated.

UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson
UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson has agreed to wind farm expansion

"It is on this basis that we have formally objected to the Camddwr proposal."

The Taro Now programme features an interview with a German businessman who owns a company that produces wind turbines.

He said there is a need for Wales to develop areas where windmills could be built or European companies, keen to develop, will go elsewhere if there were bureaucratic hold-ups.

He said: "In Germany we have the political will to go ahead with wind farms. This is needed in Wales and Britain too."

The programme also features Brian Wilson, the UK Minister for Energy, who in December last year gave the go-ahead for the Cefn Croes wind farm, the biggest in Britain.

BBC Wales's Steve Jones
"The MoD says the windfarm will make the area unusable"
See also:

10 Jul 01 | Wales
Wind farm plans scrapped
07 Dec 00 | Sci/Tech
Sea wind farm sets sail
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