Was driving home from Llandrindod when I heard the news. Almost drove through the hedge. Carwyn Jones, First Minister of the Welsh Government had issued a Statement on Planning for Renewable Energy in Wales - blowing the project to industrialise the uplands of Montgomeryshire right out of the water. He said "My Government could not support the construction of large pylons in mid Wales and my ministers are pressing this case with Nationl Grid Transmission and with Ofgem" - and he made special mention of Montgomeryshire. I promise never to be rude about Carwyn ever in my life again. Well not for a few days anyway.
Of course there were the crudest of smokescreens to cover the huge reversal in policy, but the important point is that he did the right thing - so there will be no churlishness from me. The people of mid Wales have begged and pleaded and persuaded Carwyn Jones to amend Tan 8, and help us save mid Wales from the sentence passed upon it in 2004. Just as David Cameron has done in respect of the NHS, Carwyn has recognised that his renewable energy policy needed changes, and he's had the courage to deliver.
Lets look at the cover, which is itself interesting. First is the tossing of the ball into the Westminster Government's court. For weeks I've been building up my campaign to persuade Charles Hendry, the Minister to publicly reject the National Grid 400kV connection from mid-Shropshire to mid-Montgomeryshire. It had been going well, and I was planning a big speech on July 19th. Now I will have a new message. Its not just the people of Mid Wales who are opposed - its the people of Wales. To approve National Grid's plans when every political party in Wales, the thousands of campaigners and the First Minister would make Tryweryn look like a vicarage tea party. I will be asking National Grid to abandon its plans forthwith.
The second lovely strategy (which I really enjoyed) was to claim that there's a danger of Westminster imposing large wind farms on mid Wales, and that the responsibility should therefor be transferred to the National Assembly - supposedly to save us. Laughed when I read that. The main reason these wind farms were proposed in the first place was Carwyn's TAN 8 policy guidance. But lets be done with this churlishness. Today has been a great day, and I genuinely feel for the first time that the Powys protesters have a great chance of pulling off a spectacular victory.