Planning refused

Bob Robarts and wind turbine
One man & his turbine

A Welsh family have had their dreams of living off wind power blown away by a ruling from the National Parks Authority which refused to allow Bob and Daisy Robarts a small wind turbine at their Crosswell home.

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The three metre turbine and 11 metre high mast in a nearby field would provide all the electricity needed for their home and office. Despite letters of support from neighbours, the turbine at Llwyncelyn Bach was turned down on the grounds that it would be visible from footpaths on the nearby Preseli Hills.

Bob said: “It’s very disappointing. We’ve spent three years planning it and working out all the details, only to have it turned down because of policy. Bob is an electrical engineer who has 20 years experience of installing renewable energy systems including wind, solar and hydro.

“The turbine would be very difficult to see from most directions, except for a path which runs through a bog. We can’t put it any closer to the house because the wind would be blocked by trees.”

Wind power would have created energy for all their domestic needs, from heating water to chopping logs. Any excess energy could be stored in batteries giving Bob, Daisy and their two young children Finn and Ash, a constant supply even when the wind is low. 031423859x-01-_scthumbzzz_-5231334“Land Use in a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)” buy it from Amazon US

The couple eventually planned to go off-grid completely, and demonstrate the possibility of living just on the energy they could produce themselves.

Daisy said: “It’s seems strange when our customers ask us what type of energy we use, and we have to tell them we are still on mains electric.”

Bob and Daisy are now looking into appealing against the National Park’s decision.

They would have loved their home and office (from where Bob runs his business, ‘Sustainergy’) to be powered by wind and, as a renewable energy specialist, Bob could have combined a living model with all the technical details that visitors would ask for.

When the wind blows, as it often does in Europe’s windiest region – coastal Britain, Daisy could have put the washing machine on or Bob could have gone out and cut logs for his wood stove with his electric chainsaw. Any excess electricity would have gone to power a dehumidifier to keep the house dry, to heat water or charge their electric bicycles.

Waldo Williams (1904-1971), a famous welsh poet, spent many days roaming the Preseli Hills. He was among a group of independent thinking hill farmers who campaigned against the conversion of the Preseli hills to a tank range. In the end the Range ended up in Castlemartin where tenant farmers put up less opposition. He wrote many poems as part of the campaign and in them he shudders at the thought of the beautiful Preseli’s being used for the purpose of war.

The Preseli Poets such as Waldo Williams, W.R. Evans and T.E Nicholas were all radicals in different ways. Not forgetting Twm Carnabwths who led the Rebecca riots in Mynachlogddu.

This spirit lives on in the heart of the Preseli’s. You can imagine we are still in the 1950’s. A few of the old tin sheds linger and the rambling hill farms are still held together with bailer twine. There’s the old quarry and abandoned Rosebush railway and even a few of those old American steel wind pumps, one of which is still running near Glandy Cross.

This landscape, the hill farmers and the many bluegrass and folk musicians that are living up there gives a lovely sense of the past still living today.

So when a tourist walks through the Preseli’s and sees a smallholding with its own wind turbine, rather than spoil their day, they will see it as part of the spirit of survival and independence that one feels when looking at any other hill farm or smallholding in these beautiful hills.

One Response

  1. Typical government (local or not) decision. They tell everyone to save power but when someone tries to do just that they change their minds. How much did the local power company pay them as I refuse to believe 1 turbine would worry people. We have them on the hill tops here in Co. Tipp and they don’t spoil the view at all. In fact they are so graceful they almost improve it.

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