Saturday, June 04, 2011

Hello, I'm back - blown in by a wind storm

Have not blogged for weeks. Truth is that I'd become a bit bored - mainly because there are too many individuals around with so little to do that they spend time reading my musings in search of something to cause me or my party embarrassment. So I've decided to take a different approach. No-one who fails to identify themselves will have comments published. So the trolls can p*** off. Anon will need to be relevant, clever or funny.

Reason for me coming out of retirement is that I want to write about some issues which matter to me, one being the industrialisation of the uplands of mid Wales with wind turbines and cables. This first post is no more than a reflection on where we are. I'm going to tell you what is going on over the next few weeks. To begin, we need to look (briefly) on where we've come from.

In 2005, the Assembly Government decided that mid Wales should become the dumping ground for a 400kv cable's worth of wind turbines (as a starter) - 600+ turbines. The then Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, Mick Bates thought this to be a splendid idea. I didn't. I stuck with that opinion thereafter. I knew that the local population would agree with me, when they realised what this all meant in terms of infrastructure. But even I did not expect the level of public outrage. When I called a public meeting in Welshpool Livestock Market in April, I was stunned by the numbers that turned up - somewhere between 1500 and 2000. I did get a bit carried away standing on a couple of big bales in front of such a responsive crowd, and asked the assembled throng to come to Cardiff with me to show how much we cared. I thought a bit of a do on the Assembly steps would be a good plan. They all came - and some. It was the best demonstration there has ever been outside the Assembly. At a conference two days later, the Secretary of State for Wales said that the people of mid Wales should not be ignored. Carwyn Jones told the conference that they would be ignored. I wasn't disappointed because I expected him to say exactly that. Within the Welsh Government, the opinion of mid Wales is of no consequence.

The Cardiff event was a stunning success - way beyond the wildest dreams of those of us involved in arranging it. But there is the question of where go now. Ideas are welcome on this blog. But a few of us did meet this morning to develop a strategy, and I was shocked by how things have changed in just a few weeks. Tentative beginnings have been replaced by cast iron resolve. The onshore wind farm sector will rue the day they joined in with the Welsh Government to trample all over the people of Mid Wales. They just picked on the wrong target. I always thought there would be a bit of a rumpus. I was wrong. There's going to be a bl***dy conflagration. I have no idea how its going to end. All I know is that they picked on the wrong people. Next blog will be about strategy - or at least that part of it that we are content for our enemies to know about.

23 comments:

Valleys Mam said...

hello Glyn nice to see you
how are the famly
Miss your post on life and your garden

Yasin said...

I support your attitude with regards to internet trolls. I've found that the less identifiable they are, or the more anonymous they are the more rude or cantankerous they are.

Anonymous said...

It's been so dry this spring the garden has been like a desert.
Silage gonna be light this year - wonder what food prices will be by the autumn?

frankie said...

George Monbiot, in his last article in the Guardian, made some swipes at you and the "misinformation" we anti-windfarm advocates give out. He made a fatuous comparison between uplands being grazed by sheep and windfarms, claiming that CPRW are only obsessed with windfarms and nothing else. Be interested to know your thoughts on his comments, if you get a chance to read it.

the outsider said...

Well done Glyn. I hope the people of Mid-Wales and elsewhere will dig deep into the untruths surrounding wind energy and expose the damage it will do to the landscape; the lack of any economic benefit to Wales,and therefore stop stupid developments of this sort. There are great hopes afoot for nuclear fusion, with Chinese research due to be published later this month. Sea water is a valuable input into this new technology. So what with off-shore wind, tide and wave technology and fusion, Wales is well placed to generate low carbon power. I hope that the Welsh Government has half a clue about how to capitalise on all of this. And that they realise that destroying the highly valued landscapes of Wales is just plain economic madness.

Glyn Davies said...

Hello VM.

Yasin - Truth is that some of them are just too cowardly to stand behind what they write. They are best ignored.

frankie - I didn't read what George Monbiot wrote but heard about from the source I used to back up some of my speech - the Renewable Energy Foundation, who are outraged by what he wrote, and tell me that he is plain wrong. I have a meeting with the REF on Tuesday morning. He is also completely wrong about the CPRW. Until a year ago I was President (had been for 3 years) and when I took on the role, I made clear that my main interest was in protecting local services in rural areas - and CPRW were entirely happy with that. So happens I think George Monbiot is a good journalist, but it is a pity that he has the same downright rude attitude towards elected representatives that many journalists have. But I'm beyond taking offence. I always think rudeness demonstates a weak argument.

Outsider - I fear that the Welsh Government may be a lost cause at present, which is why I could not possibly support devolving any further powers over energy. My Tuesday meeting with the Renewable Energy Foundation will begin the process of expanding my knowledge on this issue, giving you and others to agree or disagree with future posts on this issue.

Anonymous said...

wot i rite is approved by Lembet

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Please ignore the above message. Good to see you back Glyn... for another bushwacking.

Seriously, good work on fightingn the industrialisation of the uplands of mid Wales!!!!!!

Keep it up!!!!!

Glyn Davies said...

anon - that was quite funny so I've masde an exception

Mike said...

Hi Glyn

Glad your back. Just a quick point. George Monbiot tried to claim you were wrong that onshore wind turbines only had a load factor of 19% last year and he put a link to you saying that in the Westminster Hall debate, in which you state that REF gave you the figures and they are the most recent ones. George then tries to claim this is not the case and says that the capacity factor was 26%. However, he provides full referencing on his website for these figues and guess what? They are from 1998-2004!!!! see
http://www.monbiot.com/2011/05/30/underground-movement/ go to ref 7. To get to the point. George has cocked up big style and tries to use stats from over 7 years ago even though you are quoted as saying you are using the latest figures (2010). He at least owes you a public apology.

mike said...

Glyn

I forgot to say, have you seen that Ramblers Cymru have appointed Jane Davidson as their President?

The woman who did most to enforce TAN 8 on Wales. I wonder what she is going to say about Glyndwr's way being wrecked or wind farms on the Kerry Ridgeway and Offas's Dyke?
I am sure she will say its worth trashing our heritage for some feeble intermittent power.....

Matthew Jenkins said...

Glyn,

I agree with you stance on wind farms. However isn't the sort of developments we are fighting in mid-wales the responsibility of the Westminster government?

I disagree with Tan 8 completely but at the same time we mustn't mislead campaigners. The Conservative-Lib Dem government have ultimate control over big wind and energy developments in Wales and whilst Carwyn Jones and his crew have to shoulder their responsibility I don't think its acceptable for you to suggest your party could not do something in this field. As a party of government, and you a member of that government, surely you could do more than just lambaste Cardiff Bay?

alexanders said...

Your blog has been sadly missed and now that it will take the form of dispatches from the front in the fight against the industrialisation of our dear county, it will be more avidly watched than ever

Gareth ap Meirion said...

Glyn - TAN 8 is an absolute disgrace and was prepared in haste with very little scientific or technological analysis. A Powys County Council planner was seconded to prepare the advice and he was horrified when arriving at Cardiff to find out that he was being asked to do the work in a vacuum - without any involvement of the Highways Directorate at the Assembly or the Energy Department or the Electricity Companies. The MOD was consulted but never commented. The planner from Powys had to plead with WAG to employ a landscape architect to assist. A simple sieve mapping exercise was undertaken that identified areas of high landscape value - so all the National Parks, AONBs, Conservation Areas etc were omitted from the search, leaving just the windswept Mid Wales plateau uplands and a few forested areas of Denbighshire and the Heads of the Valleys as candidates for this landscape industrialisation. The seconded planner has always maintained that the exercise was simplistic and required further work - indeed he says that Carwyn Jones insisted that TAN 8 be published before it had been properly considered. Welsh planning authorities attended a half day session at Llandrindod to be "told" about TAN 8 - just a matter of days before its publication. It was indeed a "half-baked" document in all senses of the word. WAG promised that Powys CC would be assisted financially to undertake a further refinement exercise of the TAN 8 Strategic Search Areas within its administrative area. This offer reflected the fact that the initial WAG TAN 8 study was very broad brush and that each of the Strategic Search Areas required a far more sophisticated landscape assessment study and involvement of interested parties. We now know that Powys received no further help from WAG - either in the form of financial assistance or expert guidance. Instead Powys has been "hung out to dry" and TAN 8 has effectively become a development plan policy by default. Most of the wind farm projects will by-pass the WAG planners and the Planning Inspectorate, with Powys CC becoming just a "consultee" and national government giving the go-ahead with no local involvement and no chance for proper scrutiny.

So Mid Wales - as has so often been the case - has been sold down the river. National decision makers will observe that Powys CC has no planning policy on this issue (Powys having been unable to invest in reviewing/refining TAN 8) and that the only policy of note to aid the decision making process is the less than adequate TAN 8.

TAN 8 goes to the heart of this mess and, believe me, it is not worth the paper it was written on.

Glyn Davies said...

Yes Mike, I'm told that George Monbiot was wrong. My source was the Renewable Energy Foundation, who I'm told are very cross about what he wrote, and believe he should apologise. I'm fairly used to people distorting what I say, and cannot generate much concern. But I'm pleased you commented.

Mathew - Its 'horses for courses'. My first big move on this issue was at Westminster, where I secured a debate which I opened and to which the Minister, Charles Hendry responded. Some great quotes for future use. A rally would not have worked in London because it needs 50,000 to have any impact. There may be such a rally in opposition to the obscene subsidies going into onshore wind at some stage. I know its being talked about - but I'm not involved in that.

The local planning authority are also much involved, and I anticipate our next major rally being in Llandrindod Wells at an appropriate event.

The reason the Welsh Governmnet matters is that it's policy TAN8 will be a 'material consideration' wherever any decision about onshore wind farms is decided - London, Cardiff Bay or Llandrindod.

Charles Turpin said...

Mike,

When you refer to windfarms on the Kerry Ridgeway and Offa's Dyke, where exactly do you mean, please? I had thought that the nearest windfarm to the Kerry Ridgeway would be at Llandbadarn Fynydd, but maybe I am wrong on this. What windfarm threatens Offa's Dyke, apart from the planned windfarm at Stonewall Hill, just outside Knighton? (That proposal is bad enough, but is not part of TAN8)

Jan Westwood said...

Are we seeking to try and gain status as an area of outstanding natural beauty as this might help our cause?The BBC have already done a series on the conflicts wind farms cause but the wind farm was not on an industrial scale and was for local use so didn't need the pylons/ sub station. Is it worth trying to interest them in a follow up programe but about the kind of industrialization and destruction of the environment that is being proposed here which involves the power giants rather than a small operater? Sorry if either of these is being done...am very new tothis, in fact, this is my first contribution to a blog. Jan W

Elizabeth Ruth said...

Glyn,
I know I speak for more than a few hundred, thousand even? when I say we, the people of Mid and North Wales, Shropshire, are ready to fight and await your command.
Tell us where to be and what to do, your troops are ready.

Debbie said...

WEll welcome back Owain Glyndwr! I said we needed a leader and you were the man. Ignore all the dickheads. They've got no lifes and aren't worth bothering about. We are behind you and its what we say that should count. Thank you for listening and standing up for your constituents even when it means going against party policy.

David Bellamy said...

Glyn,

Congratulations on your amazing success in rising the flame of hope in Mid-Wales against these appalling turbines and their associated pylons. I think it is now opportune to march on Westminster - I'm sure we would have the support of very many English counties if we took the lead following the tremendous organisational success of our Cardiff protest.
As president of Powys area Ramblers Association I am doing my best to get the RA Cymru's decision to appoint Jane Davidson as president rescinded - it was done secretly and unconstitutionally by RA Cymru HQ very much against the wishes of many members, and after I had warned them it would be controversial. Davidson, as you know is very much one of the architects of the disaster we are facing.
Best wishes,

David Bellamy (artist)

dave said...

Why is an MP campaiging against government policy. I don't get it? If you don't want windfarms, what are you proposing instead?

Glyn Davies said...

Lets get this straight. I am not opposed to Government policy - which is that onshore wind has a role to play as part of the energy mix, but that proposals must have a solid degree of community support and democratic legitimacy. That's what I think. I also think that protection of landscape should be an issue, and scale (cumulative impact) should be considerations.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn (11:59)> wot i tink 2 Glyn.

(Chris Wood, PhD; author of: "wot i rite is approved by Lembet")

Seriously, there has to be some semblance of common sense, but sadly a steam-roller once started is hard to stop. But stop it must or the landscape of mid-Wales will be plastered with pylons and giant wind-turbines - all erected on the tyranny of stupidity.