Friday, March 18, 2011

Pawb a'i Farn tonight.

Travelled up to Blaenau Ffestiniog tonight to appear on Pawb a'i Farn. Don't get much chance to use the Welsh Language at Westminster, and so was a bit tense about it. Felt a bit knackered as well. A head cold which has stopped me sleeping properly. Anyway, I set about preparing myself by stopping at the George 111, near Dolgellau. Nothing more than to talk to myself in Welsh about nuclear power and Libya, two subjects that were bound to be on the agenda. What a wonderful place the George 111 is. Just sitting quietly looking out over the Mawddach Estuary, glass of wine in hand, mountains all around, watching amorous swans participating in essential preliminaries to spring lovemaking. Wales at its glorious best. A place where memories are made.

I was wrong about Libya being an issue. Surprising, since we were contemplating declaring war while the programme was being broadcast. Personally, I think that current events in North Africa and the Middle East are hugely important to our world. But we did talk of nuclear power. Must admit to much ambivalence about this issue. I was a long standing opponent until about 6 years ago, when as Chair of the relevant National Assembly committee I was obliged to become involved in discussion about the disposal of radioactive waste. During discussion it dawned on me that we no longer have any option. Because previous Government's have refused to take seriously the approaching 'energy gap' the only technology which can deliver in the short term is nuclear. Except coal of course, but carbon emission targets rule that out. Surprisingly, almost the whole audience was supportive of nuclear. I suppose that the local economy has crashed since Trawsfynnydd was closed - and not far away, the economy of Ynys Mon depends on Wylfa 'B' going ahead. Dewi Llwyd pushed Elfyn Llwyd and me (the two politicians on the panel) about whether we were in favour of building new nuclear power stations. Both of us would probably have preferred not to be asked. I said 'Yes' but I'm not sure what Elfyn said.

As driving home, listening to Radio 5, I was amazed to hear the tragedy in Japan had been relegated to a distant second place in the news headlines. If UK and French planes go into combat tomorrow, it will be difficult to find news of Fukushima anywhere. "Events dear boy, events".

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bizarre that a Welsh minister would be so ignorant of Blaenau Ffestiniog's economy, especially as it is only 30 miles or so from his own constituency.
Trawsfynydd employs many hundreds of people today in decommissioning - almost as many as it did when it created energy. The truth is that Blaenau's economy was in freefall in spite of nuclear (as is Ynys Môn's) and nobody has done anything to bring alternative jobs to the area for decades.
I'm also not surprised the people of Blaenau are - like the people of northern Anglesey - pro-nuclear because that lobby is so powerful and many have direct experience in working on the nuclear power station.

Anonymous said...

please try and catch last night 'question time' on the bbc iplayer.
This energy issue needs serious debate

Glyn Davies said...

Anon 1 - I do not think its reasonable to write that I do not know the Blaenau economy. I know it very well indeed, and spent several years involved in trying, with some success, to repair the damage that industrial change has visited upon the town. It was the Welsh slate industry which led to the growth of Blaenau, and Trawsfynnydd Power Station that retained some spending power until its closure. There are still many decommissioning jobs (I thought it was around 200 but could be wrong). When I was visiting the power station through the 80s and early 90s it was more like 700. I think your wrath should BE turned on those who have abandoned Blaenau over recent years, following the efforts of the DBRW. Blaenau remains one of my favorite towns - even though I do not sense much poliical support there. Unrequited love unfortunately. And I'm not a Welsh Minister - just a PPS (bag carrier of sorts) who is usually described as "part of the Ministerial team".

Anon 2 - The 'energy' issue is a major issue of our time. The world has committted itself to nuclear, including the UK, and the terrible events in Japan will cause a lot of rethinking. Not every nation would be as committed or organised in dealing with the sort of problems that have happened following the earthquake.

Anonymous said...

Glyn, it seems to me that you, as a Politician have an almost impossible task with the Energy gap problem. In my opinion, you do not help Wales by publically joining anti renewable energy groups, often the main purpose of these groups is to make sure there is no change in their imediate locality and they are not against a project itself. Their usual opening line is 'we are not agaisnt renewable energy but we think this location is unsuitable' says it all really. Those very same people have visited windfarms and commented on how they have enjoyed the experience! I would ask you to consider those that wish to be employed in this industry, in their local area and those who are currently being made redundant due to the lack of progress.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness that you made more sense than that John Davies, why does he still get asked onto programmes when he's so obviously well past his sell by date, or is n another planet?!

Glyn Davies said...

Anon 3 - 'Renewables' is not the same thing as onshore wind turbines. I am in favour of offshore turbines, solar, tidal and I accept nuclear. All of these technologies deliver a worthwhile output. I just do not think onshore turbines do. I also think that the destruction of the mid wales landscape, which is only now being fully realised by residents, will create a uprising of anger in Mid Wales, never seen before in our lifetimes.

Anon 4 - I've always thought that John Davies is very good value.

Simon Dyda said...

I've yet to meet any fellow "Anglesonians@ who are happy with having a nuclear power station on their doorstep, but then I've never been to the north of the island. At any rate it seems to me that the nuclear "debate" on the island is far too one-sided.

Anonymous said...

Glyn, onshore windfarms are part of the 'renewables'. I agree that it can only be a part.
I also agree with your opinion on the Tan 8 which has only encouraged developers in an area where there is no way of connecting the power and difficulties in delivering componants. It seems unfair that the developers that have got connections in the area without the requirement of a major upgrade and are also repowering have been grouped with the rest, in the eyes of the anti groups.

Anonymous said...

With the Radiactive mess in Japan speewing out it's poison, don't you think that the people of Wales should be better informed if the situation continues in japan,and also do you think we should call it a day on the planned expansion of Wylfa?