Just read reported comments to the BBC from the Welsh Gov't that has left me incandescent with anger. Only in what is effectively a one-party-state would such comments be made in the name of a government. Lets start with a bit of background.
In 2005, the then Welsh Gov't published 'guidance' for planning authorities about how to deal with renewable energy applications. This directed wind farm developers to 7 areas of Wales where permission for their obscenities could be granted. 3 of these areas were in mid Wales. The full implications of this document (popularly known as TAN 8) were not fully appreciated by the local population until National Grid announced their proposals to build the associated infrastructure needed. Unsurprisingly, international energy giants saw £million signs flash before their eyes and piled in with planning applications. Many of us have been horrified by the proposed desecration of our valued landscapes and protested. Powys County Council have considered some of these applications, and have recommended that 5 of them be refused. This automatically triggers a public inquiry.
Public inquires are very expensive. On the one side will be the developers, fattened and bloated on public subsidy (taxpayers and customers money). There is almost no limit to the public's money they have stuffed in their ever open wallets. On the other side is one of the smallest councils in the UK, which can only find the £2.8million the first five applications are going to cost from Council Tax payers. Powys is a comparitively poor part of Britain. Inevitably much of the money will have to be diverted from public services. All this is bad enough (appalling in my opinion), but today's comments from the Welsh Gov't (as reported on the BBC) had made it much worse.
In response to a request from Powys County Council for financial help to carry out its proper role in deciding planning applications the Welsh Gov't says;
"It must be remembered that the decisions to object to the wind farm applications referred to is entirely down to Powys County Council. They were aware of the financial implications when they decided to object to these things"
The position we are in is that councillors serving on my local planning authority are being told by the Welsh Gov't that they should decide applications not on what is right in planning terms, but on the basis of cost - when the developers access the money to pursue their case from public subsidy. And that their multiple applications are driven by Welsh Gov't policy. Its an absolute disgrace. And what will be most disgraceful aspect of all this is that these people will not even understand quite how outrageous this is. Its what happens when one party has been in power for so long, and sees itself beyond the normal democratic process.