Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wind Farms and Nuclear Power.

Rhodri Morgan announced today that the Assembly Government is to lease land in its ownership for the construction of wind farms. The BBC contacted me (as President of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales) for comment, which led to an 'appearance' on the Richard Evans Programme. Also on was Gordon James of Friends of the Earth.

I agree with Gordon about most things but not on the subject of future energy generation. He is fully in support of maximising the construction of wind farms on the mountains of Rural Wales - and he is adamantly opposed to new nuclear generation under any circumstances. I think that he and the Assembly Government is wrong on both of these issues.

I accept that some wind farms could go ahead where Planning Authorities and local communities are in support - but I do not believe that wind farms are sufficiently efficient to justify the damage that large scale construction of them will inflict on the Welsh landscape. I have always been vehemently opposed to the Assembly Government's TAN 8 planning guidance document which identifies 7 large tracts of Wales (Strategic Search Areas) where there will be an irresistible presumption in favour of permission being granted. Over the next few months, planning permission is going to be granted for hundreds of the things. As it happens, I accept that today's announcement is logical and I didn't oppose it specifically. If we have to have all these confounded wind turbines, they might as well be located where they will do least damage - and so it is logical that the Forestry Commission land should be considered. Even if the Assembly Government is behaving just like every other property owner and trying to maximise financial benefit from its asset - under the guise of doing social good!

I have more sympathy with Gordon James about new nuclear power stations. I have always been a sceptic because of cost and waste disposal uncertainties. But I fear it is too late. There is an approaching gap in energy provision which cannot be filled without resorting to new nuclear generating capacity. The lights are going to go out. There will first be panic - closely followed by a mad rush to nuclear with corner cutting and risk taking. Better by far to accept that we have reached the point of no return and proceed in an orderly way. Or is this too defeatist. Mrs D thinks so. She has a strong opinion on this issue. Even I would like to be proved wrong.


Anonymous said...

But then there's the question of who gets energy produced in Wales. Is the energy produced by Wylfa and Dinorwig exclusively for Wales? Somehow I doubt it.

Mountjoy said...

Although I am very worried about nuclear power (waste etc), I have watched in disgust as wind farms have been built in rural areas - against the wishes of local people - and destroying some beautiful landscapes. The Government simply doesn't know its a*** from its elbow on this issue.

Glyn Davies said...

Sanddef - I do not believe it is sensible to adopt a policy of Welsh energy for Wales. This is another area where I do not think discrete areas within Britain are sensible. Its the same argument as elective neurological treatment for North Wales patients, and disposal of hazardous waste, including nuclear waste and many other things.

Mountjoy - In general I agree with you. The position in Wales is much worse than in England because of the prescriptive nature of TAN 8. Over the next few months there will be a rush of wind farm applications that Planning Authorities dare not refuse. I'm told that Powys alone has about 15 current or imminent applications.

johnny foreigner said...

Absolutely off topic.

It must be noted at this time that you appear to have, to date, not yet found time to respond to the answers given to your questions on the Brunstrom Revisited thread.

As you have made some quite robust comment regarding Mr. Brunstrom's professional judgement I feel that a response is well overdue.

You also seem to have removed your subsequent comment wherein you claim that you have had insufficient time to do so. Yet, you seem to have found more than enough time to post threads about other subjects including much regarding Rugby.

Care to comment?

Your pal.


Glyn Davies said...

Sorry Jhnny but I suppose I'd moved on. When I get to my keyboard, I tend to post on what is in my mind at the time - and it often is sport related. I'll revisit the thread over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

really no one can win on this can they. People take thier stance and entrench on wind farms and nuclear.
May be reducing consumption rather than increasing supply may be an idea.Laws of elasticity of supply and demand are good to revisit sometimes.

Glyn Davies said...

There will be pressure to reduce consumption through the market as prices rise far faster than inflation. The UK is facing even bigger problems as a result of the rapid growth in population that is occurring through population movements.

I would, with a heavy heart, accept on shore wind farms if they produced significant ammounts of cost effective energy. And I would like to maintain my previous antipathy in respect of nuclear power, except that I fear a desperate and dangerous rush to nuclear when the lights go out - which they inevitably will. the current debate about all this is too late. Our Government has failed to grasp the issue of energy supply in time.