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Petition launched for temporary ban on onshore wind projects in Wales

20 Jun 2023 5 minute read
Wind turbines

Martin Shipton

A petition has been launched calling for a temporary moratorium on onshore wind energy projects in Wales pending a review of the full potential of other renewables including offshore wind, rooftop solar, tidal, wave, hydrogen and nuclear.

CPRW, the Welsh countryside charity, has tabled the petition to the Senedd’s Petitions Committee at a time when groups are battling against onshore wind proposals in various parts of the country.

Ross Evans, a spokesman for the charity, said he was astounded when the Climate Change Minister Julie James confirmed that the Welsh Government’s current energy policy does not include offshore wind as it hasn’t been updated in three years.

CPRW believes that without the inclusion of the full potential of far offshore wind, which is currently being rolled out at pace, the Welsh Government’s calculations of what is needed to get Wales to be a net energy producer is going to be one-sided.

Mr Evans said: “Proposals in the Irish and Celtic seas are forecast to produce up to 100TWh of electricity, which alone is more than twice what we are predicted to need by 2050. And, partially due to the effective ban on onshore wind in England, offshore wind is now as comparatively as cheap as onshore.”

Rooftop solar

A recent study for CPRE, the sister body in England for CPRW, showed that rooftop solar also has a major role to play. Installing solar panels on new buildings, existing large warehouse rooftops and other land such as car parks, could provide at least 40-50 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon electricity, contributing more than half of the total national target of 70GW of solar energy by 2035.

Rachel Evans [no relation] from the Countryside Alliance said the petition has the full support of the CA, as more and more of our countryside is being sacrificed when it doesn’t need to be, adding: “We are not calling for an end to onshore wind or solar, indeed, this petition would not stop small-scale community and farm-based projects. What we are saying is that when taking all options into account, the land needed to be sacrificed is reduced dramatically.”

“The UK as a country of 65 million only produces enough food for 20 million. It is vital that we are not sacrificing much-needed farmland.”

The tourism sector will also be impacted by the industrialisation of the countryside with energy projects, and the pylons needed to connect them, stretching across the heart of Wales.

Pylons

Katie Barstow from Fforest Fields campsite at Hundred House in Powys, said: “Many guests have expressed concerns about the disruptions that will be ongoing with pylons running right through the park. The idea of enormous amounts of concrete being poured into Aberedw Hill behind us makes us feel very uneasy. Let alone what it means for our community and the important Radnorshire upland biome.

“It has been a hard time for the tourism sector and now as things are starting to pick up a huge cloud of doubt has been placed over our and many other businesses. People come here to experience this unique and historic upland countryside; it would never be the same again.”

Brecon and Radnor Tory MP Fay Jones said: “I simply do not understand why the Welsh Government is determined on industrialising our countryside when there is no need to.

“The ‘pre-assessed areas’ that the Welsh Government has commissioned give presumed consent to 200+ metre high turbines over huge areas of untouched rural areas, miles away from any National Grid connection. This would also mean that we face pylons criss-crossing our scenery, which would be unnecessary if they can be placed offshore. We are only now seeing the tip of what is to come.”

Massive projects

Jenny Chryss from campaign group RE-think: Don’t Break the Heart of Wales said that hardly anyone knows about the sheer scale of proposals facing Wales.

“There are over 60 massive projects being proposed across Wales through the Welsh Government’s Developments of National Significance (DNS) application system with at least another 30 waiting in the wings,” she said.

“All we are asking is for the full potential of all clean power sources to be taken into account.”

Mr Evans said CPRW supports a wide mix of clean energy to be used for Wales to transition to net zero: “We are in a climate emergency, but we are also in a nature emergency: we need to give equal focus to addressing both. Destroying habitats and industrialising our countryside is not going to help nature,” he said.

“In order to fully transition to Net Zero we need a mixed approach that takes nature into account as well as climate change. The level of energy needed to help the likes of TATA steel to decarbonise can never be produced by onshore wind. Offshore could provide the level, but not consistency of energy needed. This means that we would either need new nuclear or hydrogen for the steel works to move to either an electric or a hydrogen furnace.”

The petition is live on the Senedd’s Petitions Committee website until December 8.


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Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
11 months ago

Where i live in Merthyr Tydfil wherever I travel around the valleys that’s all i see is wind farms were going to be exploited again like with the COAL and not getting any benefits

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
11 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Jones

True, Malcolm – they only build them here because they refuse to install windfarms where the Jeremy Clarkson types live over in the Cottswolds. We get to export electricity to them, and who gets the main benefit? The landowners, of course..

Bethan
Bethan
11 months ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

Well yes. If they’re installed on private land then of course the landowner’s would profit from the export. I can understand why people might want to petition against that if they consider renewable energy a national commodity. Which lets face it, it is. This is something incidentally that independence would greatly resolve, but why petition against the idea of onshore wind farms full stop? The ownership rights can be negotiated. Malcolm used the word exploited. That’s automatically putting the Welsh population in a position of weakness. It’s on Welsh land, English companies are interested in utilising the product. Why is… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago
Reply to  Bethan

Wales is seriously disadvantaged by not being independent – that much I agree. However you are being very naive if you think that Drakeford and his regime are going to back a majority of localised ownership. Thus far they have plotted to take land out of anything remotely like local ownership so that wind farms become j.v’s between corporate/institutional land owners and the large scale energy corporates operating through a network of subsidiaries and affiliates. Our position could be worse if Starmer and his crew get to run things out of London. With Labour in charge at Westminster, our Welsh… Read more »

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
11 months ago
Reply to  Bethan

Wales has the ability to generate all the power it needs to reach net zero, so that’s every home heated by a heat pump and every car an EV, using ONLY offshore wind … AND generate 100% more for England. Offshore wind is more efficient, cheaper for the consumer and has greater support from the public. Wales has a staggering offshore resource and does not need ANY onshore generation bar hydrogen powered backup and balancing. That’s why you should sign this petition, as if the WG doesn’t actively pursue offshore with a vengeance we will fill our iconic landscapes with… Read more »

Non Davies
Non Davies
11 months ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

Agree wholeheartedly, the developers are multi national venture capitalists, no local nor national benefit. Money and energy flowing 1 way out of Wales.

Dave williams
Dave williams
11 months ago

What don’t these petitioners understand!,,?.! We are in a climate emergency and everything must be done.
We are a nation of sanctuary,

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
11 months ago
Reply to  Dave williams

Wales can reach net zero using ONLY offshore wind. That’s what they understand. More reliable, more efficient, lower cost

Dafydd
Dafydd
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Dean

If Welsh owned this technology gives us the opportunity to become energy independent – something that will become absolutely critical in the decade to come. With that clean electricity we can produce green hydrogen to replace fossil fueled cars and HGV’s… and once thats beendone we end the multi £ billion leakage of funds to pay for foreign climate destroying fossil fules.

CPRW are only thinking of the aesthetics of windfarms whilst climate change is already wrecking our rural ecosystems.

Windfarms are a necessary temporary eveil whilst we transition to future power generation technologies such as fusion.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
11 months ago
Reply to  Dafydd

Fusion has always been 10 years away since I left school in 1980!

Onshore wind potential in Wales is not sufficient to reach net zero, whereas with offshore wind we can both reach net zero and export half what we make

If you want net zero we HAVE to have offshore wind and yet the WG have no plans or policies to get it

That’s what the petition is about

Non Davies
Non Davies
11 months ago
Reply to  Dave williams

unfortunately we are a nation which is being exploited once again.

Non Davies
Non Davies
11 months ago

Reasonable request – a lot has changed since the FW Plan was developed. Timely opportunity to consider the policy’s unintended consequences and our emerging understanding of the capacity of offshore which itself will meet targets. Reflection and review is a sign of mature government. Unless of course there is another agenda.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
11 months ago

No to Nuclear.
Dont forget to consider small scale wind power rooftops etc

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
11 months ago

Small scale stuff is all under 10 MW and no one is suggesting that be stopped

With offshore wind we don’t need nuclear, we don’t need anything except offshore wind.

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