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Round And About - Trefor Roberts

A friend of mine who spent his annual holiday in Spain every year struck up a friendship with a Spanish family.

After a few years, he invited them to come to visit him in Ebbw Vale.

Meeting them at Cardiff International Airport - on a typical wet and windy late summer day - his Spanish friend asked if the weather here was often like this.

On being told 'pretty much' he responded: 'You must be very sad'.

That probably sums up the feelings of many after the almost constant rain of the past few weeks.

I overheard a conversation between two elderly women the other day, that went something like this.

First woman: 'It's terrible all this rain, I don't know where its all coming from.'

Second woman: 'I know. They say it's all that global warming causing it but I blame it on all those big windmill things they keep building - it wasn't like this before we had them.'

Now, I know wind farms are a sore point in our valley communities but, in all honesty, I don't think they can be blamed for the rain!

But they can be blamed for ruining the beauty of our hills.

Obviously, we must address global warming, climate change and find sources of sustainable energy - but the Government's commitment of 38 per cent of potential wind farm sites in Wales to Neath Port Talbot is not only unreasonable but unfair.

I always find it interesting that those who accuse protestors of 'nimbyism' are not themselves affected by the subject of the protest!

I wonder how many of those speaking up in favour of these 400ft high windmills would be happy to swap locations with those who are adversely affected by them?

Surely the regularity of tidal energy - given our large amount of coastline - should be among the first options and, with the abundance of rivers in Wales, I am baffled as to why this potential source of power generation appears to be ignored.

For Neath people, the refurbishment of the Gwyn Hall and the redevelopment of the old Civic Centre site is indeed good news.

But it does seem a pity the museum will be lost until the redevelopment of the civic centre is complete.

We are told some of the items are to be given away on permanent loan because there is no space to keep them now the Gwyn Hall is closed.

Why do we have to lose part of the collection? Surely there must be enough storage space in the borough to accommodate this material.

Or, as an alternative, why can't the collection be displayed at an alternative venue, such as Cefn Coed Museum, until the new facility is available?

Undoubtedly the extra shopping options to be created with the redevelopment of the Civic Centre site will raise the profile of Neath as a shopping venue, bringing increased prosperity to the town.

Let us hope that it is not just the town that benefits.

The valley areas, too, need to benefit from any boost to prosperity in the area.

Their prosperity will be generated mainly through tourism - and that brings me back to the ruining of our magnificent landscape with windfarms.

Newspaper: Port Talbot Guardian
Date: 18/01/07