Much to the sorrow of the locals the pipeline has arrived in the Golden Valley on its way from Milford Haven to Tirley in Gloucestershire where it will link up with the national gas grid.
A working corridor of 44 metres wide known as the “ spread” snakes its way through fields and meadows. One such meadow has never been ploughed since mediaeval times and Turnastone Court Farm was purchased by the Countryside Restoration Trust specifically to preserve its ancient meadows with their mix of flowers and grasses and to restore its traditional farming methods. Not only has190 by 44 metres of the meadows been disrupted, but every time the pipeline crosses a road or field boundary the ancient hedge is grubbed out. What the lapwings and curlews will make of this remains to be seen.
Let us hope that the promised five year monitoring scheme will show a good recovery to both flora and fauna. In the meantime those of us with wood burning stoves who don’t like to see good timber go to waste, wonder where all the timber will end up, especially the balks of timber used to cushion the arrival of the giant diggers.
Viewed from the hillside the huge scale of the operation can be appreciated. If all this ingenuity could have been invested in a sustainable energy system my reluctant admiration would be joined by positive feelings for the future. Instead I am left with a feeling of betrayal and remember my father saying 40 years ago that the great thing about our valley was that it wasn’t on the way to anywhere important, so we were safe from the coming national motorway construction programme. None of us could have imagined that one day we would be living near a super highway to more global warming