Thursday, October 09, 2008

The pragmatic politics of wind.

I suppose you could accuse me of supping with the devil. But I rather enjoy the company of this particular 'devil'. He's the 'representative' of a foreign renewable energy business, which is particularly active in Wales - and today, at the Old Station Restaurant in Welshpool, we supped and chatted in highly convivial fashion for over an hour.

Now you might ask what on earth I'm doing engrossed in such deep discussion when I'm very much on the record as seriously unconvinced by the Assembly Government's policy of promoting wind farms. My negativity towards wind farms was a feature of my stint as Conservative spokesman in the National Assembly on environment matters - and is also a feature of my current stint as President of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW). Its all to do with my preparedness to accommodate reality. This is always a tricky business.

I've often recited on this blog that I was opposed to the establishment of the National Assembly. But immediately the decision to create it was irreversible, I turned my attention to what sort of Assembly was best for Wales. Similarly, the decision to drive on full speed with onshore wind farms has been taken by the Assembly Government. I don't like it. But I want to have some influence on how this policy is implemented. Development of wind farms is going to be very significant in Montgomeryshire over the next five years. I have no doubt that the Minister is going to greatly increase the target output from each of the identified SSAs (Strategic Search Areas). Parts of our landscape will be dramatically changed. I really don't think any political candidate can do other than try to limit the damage and maximise the community benefit. Wind farms have to be located on the least damaging sites, and the developers must be forced to provide as much community support as possible to compensate for the imposition of turbines. (reparations of a sort, I suppose). Call it supping with the devil if you like, but to me its pragmatic politics. Pass the long spoon.


Blodyn said...

Can you persuade the CPRW to update their website? It's hopelessly out of date. The last press release is dated May - surely they have issued ones since then. It would be useful to know what campaigning they have been doing lately.

Anonymous said...

I hate the way wind farm companies offer support to the communities as long as they can stick these monsters all over our mountains. It's tantamount to bribery - if that's too strong a word, then sweetners - same thing though.

Glyn Davies said...

blodyn - I'll passs it on.

anon - But what do we do about it. I too see at as a form of bribery, but I since the financial arrangements deliver such a good deal for the developers, I feel that I must try to secure as much benefit for local communities. Its a tough one to decide on.

Anonymous said...

could cprw try and protect the communities of rural wales a bit more - generally seems to be the plaything of incomers as the youth of the area leave.
Not one of mys choolfriends live in their home town, we should embrace these new energies and develop home grown, indigenous companies and ensure local communities befeit. ignoring it and hoping it'll go away is not acceptable

Matt Wardman said...

>I'm very much on the record as seriously unconvinced by the Assembly Government's policy of promoting wind farms.

That looks like an excellent reason for such a conversation.

Anonymous said...

Today has been a sad day for me, it's the day I've discovered that when it comes to wind farms, you're obviously no better than 'Windy' Bates!! Supping with the devil has rattled your brain, and the passion you feel for your precious Montgomeryshire has gone out the window. You might think that these useless monstrosities are being located on the least damaging sites, residents of these areas would most definitely not agree with you. Poor William Clough Ellis must be revolving in his grave, to think that that as President of CPRW you have no intention of opposing these ridiculous plans, but merely try to get a few extra pieces of silver, which will go nowhere towards replacing what we'll be robbed of. Obviously Montgomeryshire doesn't mean anywhere near as much to you as it does to some of us, perhaps it's time you should find out just how many of your electorate do oppose them.