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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Welsh Government’s jaw-dropping viciousness

Every day, all over Britain, Local Authorities are fighting wind farm developers in a seemingly hopeless attempt to keep their part of the countryside safe. Safe from the colossal structures that industrialise our beautiful land.

Andy Howell wrote a great piece on the huge financial risks the councils face when they decide to take on the well funded developers’ teams of QC’s and defend the countryside from industrialisation. His article “ The Monadhliath, Wind Farms, Planning and Big Money” spells out those risks. The costs can run into millions of pounds.

I noticed this article today, tucked away, fairly typically for a wind farm story from the BBC, on the BBC news website for Mid Wales. Just how many people are going to find that??? It reminds me of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

" ...You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anyone or anything.”

“But the plans were on display...”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That's the display department.”

“With a torch.”

“Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look you found the notice didn't you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard"

 

This is the story: I have copied it from the BBC’s site in case it disappears:

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Powys wind farms: Council faces £2.8m public inquiry bill

Welsh Wind Farm

A council has appealed for extra help as it faces a £2.8m bill to contest a major public inquiry into five wind farm applications next year. Powys council has set aside the money from its reserves to tackle the inquiry, which is expected next spring.

But it wants Welsh government help, saying the county deals with more wind farm projects than most councils.

The Welsh government said it had given Powys over £130,000 to help it cope with wind farm applications since 2010. The council confirmed it had received the government money, but said it was not for funding public inquiries. It said planning inquiry costs were considerable and would be an additional burden on its budget at a time when it was under "huge financial pressure".

Opposition to wind farms has grown in Powys since plans were unveiled to build an electricity sub-station in the county. Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, was chosen as the preferred site for the sub-station in July.

About 1,500 campaigners gathered at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay in May last year against the plans, which includes a corridor of pylons from 10 planned wind farms.

The five public inquiries follow the council's rejection of large wind farm applications in Llaithdu, Carnedd Wen, Llanbadarn Fynydd and Llandinam, and a National Grid connection from Llandinam.

Council cabinet member for planning and regeneration, Graham Brown, said as a consequence of the Welsh government's Tan 8 policy Powys had a higher proportion of wind farm applications than other authorities in Wales.

The technical advice note (Tan) 8 policy was introduced in 2005 as guidance on wind farms. It allows councils to decide on wind farms up to 50 megawatts in size.

Mr Brown said the authority had been "forced to set aside £2.8m to fund legal action to defend the county council's interests". He added: "We are appealing to current governments both in Cardiff and Westminster to recognise this unfair situation and provide additional resources to councils like Powys who have been placed in this very difficult position."

The council said more than 12 other wind farm applications were in the pipeline, so more public inquiries could follow.

Earlier this week it rejected plans for two wind farms at Pentre Tump, near New Radnor, and Mynydd-y-Cemmaes near Llanbrynmair.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "We have given extra money to Powys County Council to help it deal with the wind farm applications in the Tan 8 areas within their boundary. This support is for those schemes which are decided by the UK government.

The UK government does not offer any extra resources to planning authorities in England, so Powys has access to more financial support than most other councils. It must be remembered that the decision to object to the wind farm applications referred to is entirely down to Powys County Council.

They were aware of the financial implications when they decided to object to these schemes."

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I emboldened those last two sentences.

So: The Welsh Government is saying “Tough! It’s up to you to pay for the costs of these inquiries.” Not the developers, not central government who is providing the economic framework for the developers to plan for, and profit enormously from, these huge power stations. Because Powys has huge chunks of wild land that, to a wind farm developer, are ideal for hundreds of hilltop turbines, the population of Powys are on their own!

This is disgraceful. It is jaw-droppingly vicious.

It is nothing more than a gang of skinheads threatening to beat up an old lady, telling her it’s her own fault for being a victim and then making her pay personally for police protection.

The Welsh Government should be ashamed of themselves.

32 comments:

  1. That's unbelievable and I thank you for posting the details.

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    1. It's a shame the BBC didn't name the "Welsh Government Spokesman".

      His family should know what he does for a living.

      Delete
  2. "It must be remembered that the decision to object to the wind farm applications referred to is entirely down to Powys County Council." Exactly; if only they would stop this silliness and allow their opinions, like their landscape, to be steamrollered by government and big business, we could all just rub along famously.

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    1. Exactly, Dave.
      As it stands the locals not only have to suffer the imposition of this industrialisation on their beautiful landscape but also suffer all the costs of trying to defend a development they don't want, but central government does.

      Whatever happened to "localism?"

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  3. Thanks for bringing this situation to wider attention.

    Whilst much of the focus has been on the rape of Scotland's wilderness, it has, unfortunately, allowed the problems in (particularly mid) Wales to slip under the radar somewhat.

    There are already great swathes of turbines on the hills above Newtown and the Clewedog Reservoir, visible from miles away - for example the Long Mynd in Shropshire.

    The thought of what is to come is terrifying: for example one of the oldest "roads" known in the UK - the Kerry Ridgeway, a conduit for travellers for over 2,000 years - is under almost constant threat, and any development around there will almost certainly have a direct impact on the (more well-known and internationally famous) Offa's Dyke.

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  4. I have copied this to my local AM and my MP for comment. (Carmarthenshire)

    The Llanllwni wind farm application was refused recently by Carmarthenshire and now they will I assume be faced with the problems that Powys has.

    Localism is fine as long as it doesn't affect Govt Policy!!

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    1. Good luck
      From what I've read about the Welsh Assembly, you'll not get much joy there. I hope you do better with your Westminster MP.
      :-)

      Delete
  5. Pretty shocking but very unsurprising to be honest. Good old Democracy in action, as long as it does not affect the profits of multinational companies (who appear not to have to chip in with public enquiries).

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    1. Put me in charge.
      Democracy can go hang for a few months whilst I kick out the shysters in a Cromwellian purge of parliament. Once we have got rid of the hippy-shit economics of the green agenda, purged the Climate Change Committee and the DECC of all the trough feeders, re-established a genuinely balanced BBC and torched the Guardian's offices, we'll let them back in, but only under sufferance.

      Of course, others might not agree entirely with that solution, but hey! It's better than what we have at the moment, and someone will re-invent the Guardian, housed in an office block whose owners are not hypocritical tax dodgers.

      Delete
    2. Hmmm, unfortunately I reckon you do manage to loose a fair bit of support Alan with your rants. It really is not as simple as blaming it on the Guardian! I really don't get what your obsession with it is. I read it but still think Monibot can be a twat...........

      I hate the generalisation that the right are anti wind and the left are pro. And just to get you in a flap I like Polly Toynbee.......

      From a lefty, hippy turbine hater.............

      Delete
    3. Did I blame the left?
      *innocent face*

      I don't see many Labour MPs lining up with with 100 in Westminster. I think it *is* fair to say that most of the left are besotted with the green agenda. It was Ed Miliband who made the infamous remark about those opposing windmills should be as socially acceptable as mowing down children on a school zebra crossing (or something similar!)

      And you would have to admit, if you read Damian Carrington - the lead writer on the environment at the Guardian - that he is a totally bloody clueless idiot. Not even a science A level between his ears. As for Roger Harabin at the BBC - he did English at Cambridge. Probably great on Chaucer: Crap on science.

      Some of the biggest hippies own wind farm companies, by the way. The chap who owns Ecotricity was a hippy in a bus in the bean field in Wiltshire all those years back. He now owns a £3M mansion, funded entirely by electricity subsidies.

      It's an odd world. It would be even more bleak if we weren't allowed to let off steam now and then, James
      :-)

      Delete
    4. It appears a lot if big companies don't have to do tax either. In fact there is one rule for the wealthy and another for the poor as always. It makes no difference, left or right. They are nearly all in it for power. Even if they start from an ideological viewpoint, they end up being polluted by power. History shows it. Just wish they would stop polluting our wild land and all fuck off somewhere else.
      I was once left, now I am just angry.

      Time for a chill pill and sleep. Now where did I put them?

      Delete
    5. Yeah but was the steam produced by using electricity...............?

      I'm gonna get the Levellers round to the house of the chap who owns Ecotricity. I'm gonna look him up. Bastard.

      Btw I thought it was Prescott who made the remarks about opposing wind mills being socially unacceptable. Bastard.

      I feel better now too.

      My steam was produced on my woodburner though.

      Delete
    6. Happpiness restored.
      :-)
      It was definitely our Great Leadrer, Ed Miliband - I found the reference: HERE

      It makes him unelectable, in my eyes.

      Delete
    7. And I believe I'm right in thinking that it was Ed Miliband who brought in the Act saying that if planning applications were refused at a local level for wind farms were over 50MW in size then the Planning Inspectorate could be brought in to overturn that decision.

      That's is what did for Scotland, where a great number of wind farms are put in at over 50MW.

      More on that from the original article HERE

      Delete
    8. Prescott the class warrior made some jaw-dropping remarks about how we should ignore the 'country squires and landowners' and pile into windfarms, showing amongst other things that he's not quite clear on how the subsidies work...

      Delete
  6. They are shameless. I have met a few of them and they are beyond shame, some because they are knowingly sucking on the taxpayers teat and others because they are so stupid they really think that their political and economic views are MORALLY superior to any others.

    It is the way, and the decline, of the western world.

    Yours Aye, Pete
    Anglsey Against Wind Turbines

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    1. Hi Peter.

      When I started looking into the economics and theories behind wind turbines and came to realise that it was all a monstrous con trick, I realised that we were too late to save huge swathes of Britain's countryside. This was because I realised that the vast majority of the public believed (as I had done) that wind turbines were a "green" solution to our energy problems at what would be a reasonable cost.

      Why was this? This was the message that had been pumped relentlessly at us by the BBC, the Guardian, and most of the newspapers at the behest of the Wind Energy Association, which went on to rebrand itself as the fluffier sounding "RenewablesUK"

      It was only when I started digging about and reading around on the web that I realised it was all a massive con trick.

      The thing is, most of the politician are either too stupid to do this reading for themselves or have their snouts too deep in the subsidies trough.

      And we, the consumers, are paying for these bastards to get rich at our expense.

      It is still not too late to save some of the wild land. At least there is a core of politicians who now oppose this madness, so we *do* need to keep letting people know the truth about wind turbines. When they find out they have been conned they are our best allies in this fight.

      I agree with your last comment. We have let the lunatics in and they are now running the asylum.

      Delete
    2. It also doesn't help when schools come down on the side of wind farms helping to save the planet either.
      They need to be showing a balanced viewpoint, but if course they are paid by the govt, and cannot afford to be controversial. I would love to know how many schools are providing a non biased discussion on Green Energy.

      Delete
    3. It is not by chance that Schools support wind farms. The wind industry supplies them with masses of pro wind propaganda and take them on trips to Whitelees Wind Farm Education Centre. It was Paucholi of the IPCC who stated “Children…I think we have to Sensitise the young……They will probably shame adults into taking the right steps” Oh and go on Alan, have a rant. Most of us are right behind you.

      Delete
    4. I think it's time for the mainstream energy producers to fight back. They should be taking school kids around gas powered and coal fired power stations - letting them see the fantastic scale of the operation and the number of households that these generators are serving on a 365/24 basis.
      Children should understand the enormity of the energy supply operation so that they too can make up their own minds on the sense of ploughing more money into intermittent renewables.

      Delete
  7. You have to remember schools show this by Al Gore

    http://documentarylovers.net/an-inconvenient-truth/

    they have to include a verbal coverage of points agreed by a judge not to be correct.

    However they do not have to be balanced and show any of these.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPtC5K8wck8&feature=gv#!

    monktons 1.30 exposure of the Gore fraud.

    or

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtevF4B4RtQ

    channel 4s The great Global Swindle

    or this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANMTPF1blpQ

    Henrik Svensmark's The Great Cloud Mystery.

    So hoping for schools to take kids to the proper power stations that keep the lights on day and night is a forlorn one.

    I doubt if any if the ipads in schools have the link to the app which shows just how little energy is supplied by windmills especially on very cold calm days and nights.

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  8. One for the little children...:

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/perth-kinross/windfarm-opponents-angry-at-loss-of-birds-of-prey-1.62387

    Two magnificent hen harriers killed by the Griffin Wind Farm, a plant that only became operational this year.

    The perverse aspect of this is that it is known in advance that birds of prey will get killed by wind plants, yet no one is prosecuted for that.

    And it is also known that strike numbers are underreported.

    But try telling the RSPB about this and they'll say that climate change is a far greater threat than wind farms. The point they miss is that there is no connection AT ALL between wind farms and reducing the impact of climate change. None whatsoever. Apart from the money that flows in their coffers, that is.

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    1. The wind farm developers assured everyone that their turbines would be well sited, away from areas that raptors frequent. Sadly that was just another lie. For the RSPB to blithely accept that climate change is a bigger threat can now be seen for what it is: Complete rubbish.

      In fact, wind turbines built on peat soils produce absolutely no CO2 emissions savings, as published by the University of Aberdeen and funded by the Scottish Government : LINK

      This makes the RSPB's assertion that this wind farm mitigates climate change a complete nonsense.

      As for the hen harriers "colliding" with the turbine blades - nothing could be further from what actually happens. The tips of the turbine blades are travelling (typically) at well over 100mph. The blades actually smash down onto the birds, often cutting them into pieces, such is the force of the blow..

      Quite how "working closely with SSE, operators of the Griffin windfarm, to avoid any more deaths." will work will be interesting - Perhaps the safest solution is to stop the blades turning and shutting down the wind farm before any more endangered species are slaughtered.

      Delete
  9. 2 turbines going up a mile away from my house as we are on the coastal plain of the severn estuary.
    Can hardly wait.....

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    1. Oh.
      Sorry to hear that, fella. I don't suppose the Severn Bore will wash them away? (assisted by loosening the holding down bolts...)

      Delete
  10. Just finished watching 'The Scottish National Trail' on the BBC iPlayer.

    From our perspective, three interesting things to note:

    1) they somehow managed not to show a single turbine throughout the 400-odd miles of the trail, despite going through the Borders and very near the Braes of Doune plant.

    2) Given that Salmond is on record as saying that having so many turbines adds to the attraction that Scotland has to visitors (feel good factor of some kind, apparently), it was rather odd that the first 'National Trail' should not include any stopping point by an appropriately located wind plant so that walkers could feel good to be in a country with such an admirable environmental stance.

    3) If you watch it, you'd better turn off the iPlayer right after Cameron visits the Cape Wrath coffee shop. In the final five minutes, you get Alex Salmond himself inaugurating the trail... 'Nuff said...

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    1. Hi Andy
      :-)
      Quelle surprise! I thought the programme was okay, but woeful in its portrayal of the wonderful landscapes that the trail passes.
      The backing music was pretty woeful too. It all felt slightly miserable. I wish they could have spent more time on the filming - waiting for days when the weather could show the landscape in a better light.

      I didn't spot a single turbine either - and, as you say, in the Borders and the Pentland Hills that would have taken some doing!

      It will all add to Cameron's pension pot and the book sales should do well too.

      Delete
    2. I thought it was all pretty superficial but to be fair two hours is nowhere near enough to convey almost 500 miles of Scotland. That said, I thought that plenty of the two hours they did have could have been better utilised.

      The absence of turbines was no surprise to me; there is a wealth of experience in the technique of 'turbine avoidance in shot' available to the BBC. Just my opinion, but Gordon Buchanan, as presenter, would have bought a better eye to the proceedings.

      Delete
  11. Dear Alan. We're sorry to learn that you've been unwell. We wish you luck with the transplant and a speedy recovery!
    Best Caroline and Tony

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The wonders of electronic communication.
      This comment has just come through to me from Blogger.
      Sorry it's late!
      Thank you C&T
      :-)

      Delete
  12. Agree with you on the music (they must have had a very low budget... it sounded like some slightly inebriated bloke tinkering with the ivory on a pub piano...) and the general production value.

    It was also quite clear that Cameron did not walk the entire trail, nor that he did it in one go (it was snowy May in the Borders, and suddenly by the time he got to the Caledonian canal it was autumn! But then in Cape Wrath it was summer!) and if you kept an eye on his clothing, it did change surprisingly often for a hill walker!

    It was little more than a plug for his book, clearly. The bit with Chris Townsend talking about his Trailstar was also a bit incongruous. All of a sudden we were in gearhead territory rather than Sunday afternoon viewing for the general public.

    But the elephant in the room was really the complete lack of turbines in a National Trail! Amazing. Just amazing.

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