Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Powys Council Cabinet puts fear of Welsh Govt before the people.

I am grateful to Jill Kibble, Chair of the Montgomeryshire Branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales for briefing me about the way in which Powys County Councillors 'rolled over' before the Welsh Government juggernaut last Tuesday. 60 members of the public heard the Council Cabinet decide to proceed with last minute changes to its controversial renewable energy policy section of the Local Development Plan. These last minute changes attracted unprecedented county-wide opposition, 593 of them. Objecting to raising the Powys renewable energy target from 50MW to 600MW and designating huge areas throughout Powys for wind development projects of up to 25MW, the equivalent of twelve giant turbines for each site, and solar development projects up to 50MW, the equivalent of 250acres of solar panels for each site. You do wonder just what Powys has done to be so brutally treated by the Welsh Govt - not vote Labour I suppose.

Council Planning officers reported that these were minor changes to the energy policy. I'm told they said this with a straight face. However in view of the public response, they did concede that revisions would be needed. The flawed report on which these proposals were based were adopted wholesale, without assessment, refinement or consideration of the Powys landscape, by the Powys CC LDP team.  Forthcoming revisions are planned during the Planning Inspector’s examination of the LDP but no-one knows when or how this will happen. No-one is sure it will happen.

Cabinet members complained that the Welsh Government had put them in an impossible position, forcing them to approve all the changes or face the prospect of more years with no Plan to guide future development. "Roll over Fido, or no biscuits". The Council had promised the public to oppose further spread of wind farms in Powys. Now the Cabinet had renegaded on this promise because of pressure from Welsh Government. Local democracy - Welsh Gov't style. 

The public looked on in despair as the Cabinet duly approved the changes without amendment.  They seemed to acquiesce that any Plan however deeply flawed and dangerous to Powys, was better than none. Local democracy - Powys style. It's enough to make anyone who loves the landscapes of rural Wales cry.


Bril said...

With elections coming in May, Councillors' constituents will have their say and throw out those who insufficiently reflect their views.

Anita said...

Glyn, you are not up to speed my old friend. The Welsh government has cross party support to address climate change including from the welsh conservatives. Legislation was passed. Local authorities cannot undermine Government policy. Simple as!

It is the job of local authorities to encourage growth. An independent report commissioned by Powys county council in 2012 highlighted that renewable energy was one of only a few sectors within Powys with scope to grow. If we are to address ensuring that our communities are sustainable, then we need growth!

When will you stop pandering to these climate change denying windbags? Their whining and misleading the public has become boring. Powys county council have had to dip into their reserves for an additional £90,000 to continue with the LDP process. The LDP should have been submitted in 2014. Surely in this time of austerity, this money would be better spent retaining essential services.

TheWeekend said...

"Fear of Welsh Government"? Deplorable language from someone who should know better. Everyone knows local authorities cannot undermine Welsh or UK governments. It's the way it has always been.
Glyn, you are a good MP but the CPRW are making you look like a laughing stock.

Anonymous said...

What is the Welsh Tories position? Would they comply with government legislation or risk Powys not having a development plan. That is what it boils down to.

Anonymous said...

Glyn, I was expecting a reply re my earlier post. You have made some bizarre statements to the media about this topic. You are the knowledge with your words but reading between the lines it's just noise with no substance!
Would you comply with government legislation or risk Powys not having a development plan?

Glyn Davies said...

More chance of a reply if you were not 'anonymous'.