Four/five years ago, I was dropped into a deeply embarrassing position. Not that unusual for me, but this was particularly so. As 'Environment Spokesman' for the Conservatives in the National Assembly for Wales, I was leading the opposition to the Government's drive to cover large tracts of Wales with wind turbines. And then a Spanish energy company, Gamesa, approached me with a proposal to site turbines on my land, near Llanerfyl. No chance was my first reaction. But I discovered that this response was not quite so straight forward. Firstly, several of my neighbours, who are also friends were very keen to go ahead, and my land was a key part of the development. And secondly, every other member of my immediate family was also keen, and it was a family decision. They were in favour of both the money and the principle. I was outvoted 5 -1.
At the time, my solution, was to do nothing. Surprising how often this turns out to be the best strategy. I didn't think it would win planning permission, so I declined any 'exclusivity' payment, refused to sign any 'option', but agreed verbally that if it were eventually to go ahead, we would participate in the scheme. I was deeply grateful when the Strategic Search Area was redefined to take my land several miles outside the zoned area. Huge sigh of relief. Dilemma evaporated. But not before the media, political opponents and turbine haters had given me so much stick. We did forego quite a lot of money.
Today, another wind farm company is offering me (and I suppose my neighbours) financial inducement if I will sign an option to allow them to seek planning approval for a 13.5 megawatt wind farm on the same land. I was stunned. I'm the President of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, and Conservative Candidate at the next General Election. Its ridiculous. The site is several miles outside the SSA, as far as I know no work has been done on transport issues or on grid access issues. Its not going to happen, so why are these people embarrassing me so. Well, I'm not going to agree to it. No realistic option. And if I have any more trouble I'm just going to sell it. OK, so I know that doesn't help anyone, but it will get me out of a tight corner - and stop this sort of situation arising again.