Wales facing an ‘absolute onslaught of development’ warns rural charity
“Wales is at the start of an absolute onslaught of development” says the Director of a charity founded to protect rural Wales.
Dr Jonathan Dean is Director of The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) claims the “onslaught” he refers to as “all being driven by net zero.”
To this end, CPRW has been working on a new energy policy – which is in the process of being sent out to their members for consultation. It will be published in the New Year.
According to Dr Dean: “There is a whole host of proposals for 250-metre-high turbines on land in Wales (the likes of which) have never been seen before.”
The Welsh Government Net Zero Strategic Plan was published last week (6 December). The document – which stops short of just 50 pages – sets the foundation to reach net zero by 2050.
Reaching net zero means completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity.
According to Dr Dean, CPRW “strongly supports” reaching net zero.
“My personal view is that Wales could reach net zero quicker than by 2050 if we actually got on with it. We have a vast wealth of offshore wind – currently Wales generates twice the electricity it uses.”
This is mainly, he says, “Because of Pembrokeshire (natural gas) power station. But if we got on with building offshore wind (farms) we could reach net zero and still generate twice the energy that we use. There is so much wind power out at sea.”
The Crown Estate – which manages land and property owned by the Royal Family – is devolved in Scotland but not in Wales. This means that the money generated by the Crown Estate in Scotland goes into the coffers of the Scottish Government. In Wales it goes straight to the UK Treasury in London.
Not only that, but because the Crown Estate is devolved to Scotland, it means that offshore wind is one of Scotland’s largest sources of renewable energy.
According to Dr Jonathan Dean: “The Crown Estate – acting for England and Wales – is balancing where the power is generated. That is, predominately in the North Sea (between Britain and Europe), so very little is being licenced around the seas in Wales (between the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea).”
Stating a personal view, rather than that of CPRW, Dr Dean said: “With the Crown Estate not devolved to Wales, The Welsh Government cannot make decisions on its own about what happens in Welsh waters.
“Since the Crown Estate is not putting emphasis on Welsh waters, the only thing Welsh Government can do is build things on land. They are pretty much backed into a corner, because me must have more renewables. But the Welsh Government aren’t being allowed to use their own sea.”
The new CPRW energy policy – to be given a name and published in early 2030 – says Dr Dean: “Will spell out why we believe the sea is, basically, the saviour of the Welsh countryside. We have so much capacity out at sea, we don’t need (turbines, pylons etc) on land.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.