Green Wales

Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Theft hits 'green' radio station

Solar Panels
The panels were taken from Gtfm's transmitter site

A radio station shortlisted for a green award for running largely on renewable energy is struggling to stay on air after its solar panels were stolen.

Gtfm in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, went on air as a community radio station in 2006 and has run mostly on wind and solar energy since 2007.

The station, up for a voluntary sector green award, is surviving on diesel power after the theft of four panels.

"It's a bitter blow," said station manager Terry Mann.

Gtfm will learn on Thursday if it has won a Wales Council for Voluntary Action/Network Wales award for its pioneering energy-saving work.

"Given that we're shortlisted for that it's ironic that we're having to get by on diesel, a costly fossil fuel, at the moment," said Mr Mann.

It's ironic that we're having to get by on diesel, a costly fossil fuel, at the moment
Terry Mann, station manager

Mr Mann said the station operates its local radio service for Pontypridd and surrounding communities on a charitable basis and on a shoe-string budget.

He said: "We are largely reliant on the valiant efforts of an army of dedicated volunteers plus a handful of staff.

"So this is a bitter blow, on top of the tough year we've had finding sufficient funds to continue broadcasting due to the effects of the recession."

Mr Mann revealed that, to make matters worse, the station's two wind turbines have also been damaged by recent wintry storms.

Anyone who has seen people carrying or trying to sell the solar panels is asked to contact Pontypridd police station by phoning 01443 485351 or 01443 493515, or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111.

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