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