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Opinion

The Conservative Party will try to use Wylfa as an olive branch to Ynys Môn voters, when in fact it is little more than a fig leaf

14 Sep 2023 5 minute read
Anglesey County Council Leader Llinos Medi

Llinos Medi, Anglesey Council leader

My vision for Ynys Môn is ambitious and positive. It includes helping us reach our potential in energy while making sure our community genuinely benefits. Ynys Môn will always be my priority, and as council leader it’s been my honour to be able to directly influence the island’s future.

We arrive at the Nuclear Industry Association’s third ‘Annual Week in Parliament’ as we enter the dying throes of a UK Government which is more interested in clinging on to power than keeping the power on.

As the lights flicker on this current Conservative government’s time in office, we remember the long list of broken promises they’ve made about delivering a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Ynys Môn.

It’s not just me saying this. A recent report by the UK Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee said: “We are concerned that expectations are being raised again on Ynys Môn and question how long the uncertainty can continue about whether or not a new nuclear build will be delivered at Wylfa.”

We should also prepare ourselves for more empty words as the general election moves closer. Much as they did in the run up to the 2019 election, the Conservative Party and candidates will try to use Wylfa as an olive branch to voters when in fact it is little more than a fig leaf intended to hide their failure of delivery.

I have always worked constructively when convinced that a new nuclear power station at Wylfa is in the best interests of the local community and Ynys Môn’s economy in particular.

The challenging economic outlook has highlighted the need for high skilled and well-paid jobs, particularly in areas where depopulation is a growing concern.

As leader of Anglesey Council I worked with Horizon to make sure that our community’s needs were at the heart of the Wylfa Newydd project. We delivered! Then the Conservative UK Government pulled the rug from under Horizon’s feet, and the government’s failings led directly to the project’s failure. Ynys Môn will not forget that.

Bluster

With bluster rather than delivery characterising the approach to nuclear so far, it becomes more important than ever to focus on renewable energy.

Only last month it was announced that Ynni Cymru, based at M-Sparc in Ynys Mon, is being established to expand community-owned renewable energy generation across Wales – a concrete example of Plaid Cymru delivering through our Cooperation agreement with the Welsh Government.

Again, we delivered through working together. That is how we deliver positive change – not by shouting into the void.

It’s time for Westminster to step up too.

For too long, a lack of strategy and ambition on tidal energy projects in the Irish Sea has slowed down the potential socio-economic advantages that will arise from diversification and decarbonising the energy supply in north-west Wales.

The UK Government’s renewables auction flop of recent days further epitomises an approach that talks a good game without playing it very well. There was some good news for Morlais, the tidal flow energy project off the Anglesey coast – a project supported by Anglesey Council and championed by Plaid Cymru since day one – but the UK Government seems unable to see its real potential.

Supporting it to reach its potential capacity would create real jobs today. If we are to achieve our goal of a net-zero economy, the key is an energy mix. This means that on Ynys Môn in particular, not only do we need the UK Government to bring forward a firm commitment on the future of Wylfa and a detailed timeline to deliver it, we must also strike a balance with wind and tidal to untap Wales’s wealth of natural resources.

Engagement

We also need engagement with the industry. By refusing to engage with the offshore floating wind sector ahead of this year’s renewables auction, the Conservatives have set back a crucial aspect of our climate efforts by yet another year.

With large-scale developments, we must also ensure that they work with communities rather than against them. Households in north Wales currently pay the highest standing charges in Britain. If we want Ynys Môn to regain our status as Ynys Ynni, we must ensure that those charges come down for people living close to energy developments.

So far, the Tories in Westminster have done more to drive our economy into the ground than get any diggers in the ground. Next year’s general election and the promises made – and most importantly kept – by each party will be the true test of who is really fighting for Wales.

Our track record on energy in Môn clearly shows that it’s Plaid Cymru.


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Jonathan F Dean
Jonathan F Dean
7 months ago

The “failure” of AR5 was deliberate as now that CfD auctions are annual they are choosing to get the good news next year, just before the election

The Irish Sea off Ynys Môn is shallow enough to not need FLOW, so that’s where the main focus needs to be

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

Who is fighting for a nuclear-free Cymru these days?

Make yourselves heard, if it is independence you want, because once the yoke is placed around our necks that is it…

Bachgen o Lerpwl
7 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

You mean independence is a yoke?

Jonathan F Dean
Jonathan F Dean
7 months ago

The Welsh parts of the Irish and Celtic Seas have the potential to generate 100 TWh while Wales needs 50 TWh to reach net zero. Any other generation is optional, as it’ll all be exported to the rest of the U.K.

Bachgen o Lerpwl
7 months ago

That’s only fair after all we use UK hospitals and airports because we ain’t got enough.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

The Tories have not only failed Wales but also betrayed the voters of Mam Cymru. And they would be absolutely crazy to trust anything the Tory party promises regarding Wyddfa Newydd will be built. Anyway, any olive branch offered by them will likely be followed with poison ivy, and less said about Virginia Crosbie the better.

ELFED R. WILLIAMS LLM MA FRICS
ELFED R. WILLIAMS LLM MA FRICS
7 months ago

Llinos Medi for MP ?

Silenced!
Silenced!
6 months ago

A radioactive, cancer causing, dangerous, polluting olive branch

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