I took a week off last week. It was too hot for blogging. For which we must all blame anthropogenic global warming. Then again, it might just have been normal summer weather.
It certainly was when the rain arrived. So different to when I was a boy . . .
Back then, summer started in mid-March, many over the age of 50 were dead from heatstroke and malaria by the time we celebrated the Feast of Saint Blodwen of Cwmrhydyceirw. And we played cricket ‘frae morning sun till dine’.
For these and other reasons I suggested the Green Man angle was perhaps a distraction. I’ll go further now and suggest that Gilestone itself might not be the thread to follow if we want to know what’s really going on.
There seem to be two possible ways of explaining it. Both start from the same point.
WATERSHED AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL
And that point is the visit to Wales in March 2018 by a delegation from the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), based in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. This trip was organised and hosted by Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water.
This northern reach of the Appalachian mountain chain supplies New York City with its drinking water, and of course NYC wishes to ensure a supply of good drinking water.
As the video below explains, legislation introduced in 1990 meant that water for NYC would need to be more rigorously treated, but one option was prohibitively expensive, even for the Big Apple.
The need to find a cheaper alternative to the $5 – 7bn outlay on a new filtration plant led to the link-up between NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Catskill farmers, foresters and others.
Following that visit to Wales in March 2018 for the Watersource conference the next contact was in June 2019, when a party representing Dŵr Cymru visited the Catskills.
The next step was the formation, in May 2020, of the Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). Roderick and Davies were among the six directors, as was Charles Weston, who owned Gilestone. But at the formation of BWG – some two years before Gilestone was sold to the ‘Welsh Government’ – Weston gave a Crai address.
Had he already vacated Gilestone? Had it already been bought?
A fourth Founding Father was Anthony Hugh Martineau. He farms land at Llangorse lake owned by the Raikes family of Treberfydd House.
Martineau is also an ‘advisor’ in sustainable agriculture at Black Mountains College in Talgarth. Which is interesting because back in New York State there’s Bard College, another George Soros-backed institution.
And Bard College seems to work with the Watershed Agricultural Council.
Perhaps to complete the circle, Dŵr Cymru is chummy with Soros College, Talgarth. Our water supplier is sponsoring an Ecological Futures Camp in August.
So if you want to learn how to catch and skin an illegally released beaver, and then turn the pelt into a nice pair of slippers for Auntie Ceinwen, get your name down now!
Oh, I can’t wait!
‘WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE . . . ‘
So, as I suggested in a tweet last week, the events around the Gilestone purchase could be all about Dŵr Cymru getting together with farmers to ensure a constant supply of good drinking water.
But if we were simply talking about clean drinking water, then I might not be writing this. For who could argue against?
There has to be more to it.
Let’s think back to the video we looked at earlier. The one in which we were told that the Watershed Agricultural Council came into being as a result of new and more stringent regulations regarding water quality.
That’s true, though things got off to a rocky start. There was clearly local opposition to what them folks from the big city wanted to do.
Though relations between NYC authorities and Catskill farmers seem to have improved, perhaps because (penultimate paragraph): “Farmers have been given 100% funding from WAC for infrastructure to improve water quality. WAC is trusted intermediary and all work is locally led, science based and voluntary with no regulations.”
By comparison, I get the impression that the ‘Welsh Government’ and Natural Resources Wales hope to use new regulations to bankrupt farmers and free up land.
Though I’m writing about the USA I still don’t understand why Dŵr Cymru needed to go there to learn about clean drinking water. They could have gone anywhere in Europe without the cost and environmental damage of transatlantic flights.
Some might conclude – as I have done – that certain agencies in Wales were attracted to New York City’s watershed model for reasons other than just clean water.
Either way, I’d like to know how or through whom Dŵr Cymru first made contact with those US organisations.
Whatever the answer, it would not justify spaffing £4.25m of public money.
SO WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE?
The Watershed Agricultural Council website has a page on Conservation Easements. A term and a concept with which I was unfamiliar. I found it fascinating.
‘In the United States, a conservation easement (also called conservation covenant, conservation restriction or conservation servitude) is a power invested in a qualified private land conservation organization (often called a “land trust“) or government (municipal, county, state or federal) to constrain, as to a specified land area, the exercise of rights otherwise held by a landowner so as to achieve certain conservation purposes.’
The Environment Act 2021 that comes into effect in England on September 30 allows for Conservation Covenants. Read about it here. Note the references to “carbon offsetting” and “carbon insetting”.
I’m not aware of similar Welsh legislation, but the ‘Welsh Government’ usually follows London’s lead. Often with ‘variations to accommodate local circumstances’.
‘The CWC was officially born January 17, 1997 with the signing of the landmark New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between City, State, Federal and environmental entities and Watershed municipalities. The MOA and associated Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD), allowed the City to avoid building an expensive facility to filter its Catskill-Delaware Water Supply as long as it proved it could keep this surface supply clean through land acquisition, regulations and city-funded, locally-administered environmental protection programs.’
‘In the late 1990s, DEP began a Land Acquisition Program to protect water quality in its reservoirs by preserving key parcels of land in the watershed. Since then, DEP has acquired more than 100,000 acres of land in the Catskills, including many tracts that were historically used for agriculture or rented by neighboring farmers.’
“Land Acquisition Program . . . tracts that were historically used for agriculture”.
I guess whether Conservation Easements / Covenants benefit farmers depends on who’s wielding the power.
Statements made and attitudes displayed in recent years by representatives of the ‘Welsh Government’ towards the farming community and the countryside in general make me pessimistic.
BEACONS WATER GROUP
I’m intrigued by the rather mysterious Beacons Water Group CIC. One thing I find odd is that – even allowing for Covid – a Community Interest Company has gained no new members in over two years of its existence.
Is it a closed shop?
Come to that, which ‘community’ does it represent? And in which way? When I checked the BWG entry on the Companies House website, and in particular the Certificate of Incorporation, there, under ‘Objects’, I found what you see below.
It struck me as being rather vague. With no mention of water despite ‘Water’ appearing in the company name. And why ‘visitors’ (before ‘residents’) – is it a tourism group?
Two were taken on a trip to the USA by Dŵr Cymru, and ‘debriefed’ on their return by Natural Resources Wales. A third had his farm bought by the ‘Welsh Government’ for a grossly inflated price. A fourth farms land owned by a local squire and is connected to a Soros-backed institution.
The other two directors I haven’t really checked on yet.
It stinks! (And I’m not talking agricultural pollution of watercourses!)
We have been lied to about the purchase of Gilestone farm. Especially the reason given for buying it. The Green Man festival is peripheral to these machinations, if it’s involved at all.
Gilestone being bought for an insane amount of money cannot be divorced from the owner, Charles Weston, belonging to the in-crowd Beacons Water Group.
Is Gilestone the first of many purchases of farms close to a watercourse? Though how many farms in Wales are not close to a watercourse!
There may be partnership in the USA between farmers and officialdom but that won’t happen in Wales, where too many civil servants and politicians regard George Monbiot as the ultimate authority on Welsh farming.
What you’ve read here is about water only in so far as water quality might in future be used to appropriate farmland. This explains the attraction of the Catskills model to certain agencies in Wales.
As I’ve suggested, it was no coincidence that the absurd ‘NVZ’ legislation, pretending a highly localised issue is a nationwide crisis, was dreamed up at the very time others were to-ing and fro-ing across the Atlantic.
Because the NVZ regulations are also about land, rather than water.
This week I bring yet more tales of colonialism dressed up as ‘saving the planet’; involving assorted enviroshysters, multifarious con men; all aided, abetted, and funded, by those collaborating buffoons down Corruption Bay.
This is another biggie, but broken down into easily-digestible chunks. (Add condiments and flavourings to taste.)
Let’s begin with a piece from the Cambrian News, a ‘paper that circulates along Cardigan Bay, with its main office in Aberystwyth.
For reasons I’ve never been able to fathom, I’m blocked from the CN Twitter account. Me! I can only assume it’s a case of mistaken identity.
Though when I tried to find out from the Land Registry website who owns what I drew a blank. Using the LR map search brought up what you see below. Yet this area must be part of the estate, with Hafod church, the public park, even a car park.
It was the same across the whole site, apart from the individual dwellings. Nor could I find a definitive map of the estate.
It could be the same lease arrangement for the whole estate. So, with the lease coming to an end in just over three years, NRW and / or the ‘Welsh Government’ decided that instead of renewing the lease with the Hafod Trust they’d turn to the National Trust.
I suspect the Hafod Trust has been largely left to its own devices at the estate, but now it looks as if it’s either relinquishing control over Hafod, or else it’s being elbowed out.
What we see happening at Hafod is in keeping with NRW’s activities. Which include undermining Welsh agriculture, encouraging corporate greenwash, and giving away bits of Wales to enviroshysters and assorted bodies from over the Dyke.
At Hafod the beneficiary is a quintessentially English organisation, the National Trust. Yes, it adds ‘Cymru’ to fool gullible natives, but fundamentally it remains manicured lawns, print frocks, and, “More tea, vicar?”
Though there was attempted infiltration by Wokies. So maybe now it’s, “Pour your own tea, you myth-peddling, white supremacist running-dog of imperialism”.
Note, “National Trust Cymru and Natural Resources Wales have come together with support from Welsh Government to secure the estate’s future.” This, I assume, means financial support.
But why should the ‘Welsh Government’ pay a wealthy organisation like the National Trust anything to take over an asset from which the NT is guaranteed to make money?
Any payment should have been by the National Trust to the ‘Welsh Government’, which is entrusted with getting the best possible value from the disposal of publicly-owned assets.
And there was no mention of the HT trustees. Though a few other people are mentioned.
First, there’s Lhosa Daly, the “Interim Director of National Trust Cymru”.
Then there’s Clare Pillman, chief executive of Natural Resources Wales. She has a fascinating background, and has been involved in numerous extravaganzas of the ‘Rule Britannia’ variety.
Finally, speaking for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ we have, “Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden“. Which a correspondent thought was odd, wondering why it wasn’t someone with an environmental or conservation portfolio.
He has a point. But after a bit of digging, it all became clear. Certainly after seeing Daly’s Twitter account.
Daly was appointed to the Western Gateway board just over a year ago. Which I find interesting. For she joins the Greater Bristol gang and then she’s made head of the National Trust in Wales. Are these appointments connected?
I ask because I’m sure the National Trust in Wales will be one of the bodies contributing to the development of the ‘Western Gateway’, ostensibly speaking for Wales.
Which hat will Lhosa Daly be wearing?
Oh, I almost forgot, she would also have the option of wearing her Wales Arts Council hat.
I’m certain Ms Daly lives in Bristol. Which is fitting, because Dawn Bowden, the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, who has been instrumental in the deal for the NT to take over Hafod, is also from Bristol.
Did Bowden and Lhosa Daly know each other before the discussions over the Hafod Estate? And if it wasn’t due to the Bristol connection, why was Bowden involved at all? It’s outside her remit.
The map below shows Hafod Estate contains a lot of trees, part of which is said to be a “working forest”. But if Hafod is to be devoted to tourism (which is what the National Trust is all about) will there be a place for a commercial timber operation?
Perhaps not. But as we know, nowadays there are other ways of making money from trees – without touching them! And so I predict that Hafod will prove a nice little earner for the National Trust.
One of the first acts of a devolved government should have been setting up a Welsh organisation to do the work of the National Trust. A body looking after our heritage, on our behalf, and answering to us, the Welsh people. But the opportunity was spurned.
Which is why, after 23 years of devolution, we are discussing an Englishwoman representing our ‘Welsh Government’; another, Natural Resources Wales; with the two handing over another Welsh treasure to an English organisation run locally by a third Englishwoman.
This is colonialism. And even without the Bristol connection, this reeks of yet another ‘Welsh Government’ gift to a favoured body in a deal done behind closed doors with no pretence of a tendering process.
LOCAL BENEFITS (WELL, LOCAL TO SOMEWHERE)
The next report also comes from the Cambrian News, and concerns that other enviroshyster money-spinner – wind turbines.
Specifically, a test mast to be erected at Bryn Brawd, the highest point in an area described in the caption accompanying the image used by the CN as being, “on the outskirts of Llanddewi Brefi”.
In fact, it’s quite some distance from the south-eastern suburbs of that metropolis lying between Cwmann and Tregaron.
On the plus side, the company involved is Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd. Probably a Welsh company. Phew!
But of course Foresight only manage other people’s money. In the case of the two windfarms we’ve looked at, the clue as to whose money it could be might be found in the ‘Belltown’ element of the names.
Because I suspect that Foresight has linked up with Belltown Power, a company now based in London but founded by US citizen Michael Joshua Kaplan.
I can’t tell you much more about this company, I certainly couldn’t find a website, only various company profiles. What I do know is that it’s linked to Foresight, it was based in Bristol, though one entry gives an address in Mold.
Now who do we know in Mold? Thinks . . .
The accounts for y/e April 1, 2021 show ‘Plant and Machinery’ valued at £53,672,808 (before depreciation). That kind of money is not to be sniffed at.
How come we haven’t heard of this great Welsh success story?
I’ll spare you another twisty-turny route, but ultimate ownership of Awel Newydd Cyf rests with Stephen George Geddes, who’s married to Clarissa vom Hagen-Plettenberg, is the grandson of the 1st Baron Geddes, and great-grandson of Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria.
Takes me back to fin de siècle Vienna! You should have seen me in my hussars uniform! Waltzing the night away.
That may all have come crashing down in 1918, but over a hundred years later we find Hapsburg descendants exploiting us!
Staying with Foresight, it seems they’re busy across Wales.
These links tell they’re in league with Tilhill Forestry and Coleg Cambria Llysfai in the north east. But Foresight is based in the Shard! Those working for Foresight don’t know one bloody tree from another. But here they are burnishing their environmental credentials by paying Tilhill to give courses.
There’s even a video!
And Foresight seems to be embedded in the ‘Welsh Government’, for the name crops up everywhere in WG publications. Such as here (page 22).
The sole director is Clive David Osborne. Yet in all the reports on the ‘magic wallpaper’ his name was never mentioned, just the incomplete and misleading name of his company. So what’s his record?
I’ve drawn up a list of companies he’s been involved with in recent years. There have been others, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he played a minor role in their demise.
I’ve included Crush Holdings because it may link with something else I’ll be telling you.
With so many failures I began to wonder how he kept the wolf (re-introduced to Berkshire in a rewilding project) from his door. The answer may be provided by the Paradise Papers.
For Clive David Osborne is linked to an enterprise in Malta. An island where just about anything goes. “You want an EU passport, Mr Putin? No problemo”. “You want an annoying blogger whacked? Leave it to us”.
So what is the connection between Clive David Osborne and the Mosta Electronics Centre? I can’t know for sure, but one possibility might take us back to his flirtation with those Sons of Nippon.
For a bloke in the pub told me it’s possible to buy equipment online that can access satellite TV, for free, and that this equipment can be had from certain Mediterranean islands where rules about such things are somewhat lax.
Alternatively, and seeing as Mosta Electronics sells Chinese brands such as (the German-sounding) Haier, maybe this ‘magic wallpaper’ technology comes from the land of the Uyghur concentration camps. A country whose most noteworthy contribution to humanity in recent years has been Covid.
Whatever the answer, we know enough about Clive David Osborne to ask why the hell Melin Homes let him in the door, and why the ‘Welsh Government’ is funding his ‘magic wallpaper’.
I look forward to hearing the answers.
ISLAND IN THE SUN
The Conservative and Unionist Party MP for Ynys Môn is Virginia Crosbie, and she’s appeared on this blog in the recent past. This was when Covid first hit and questions were being asked about where she was living, and whether she was breaking lockdown.
Similar questions were asked of her friend and parliamentary colleague, Jake Berry, who owns a number of properties in the constituency she represents. Questions were also being asked about his movements during the pandemic.
Just type their names into the search box to get more information.
Let me make clear that I was against the proposed Wylfa B because the construction phase would have damaged a fragile cultural identity, and that’s without considering the strain that would be put on local infrastructure and housing by thousands of workers, almost all of whom would come from outside of Wales.
But I am not opposed to nuclear in principle, and there are smaller options to Wylfa B.
Previously known as Lightsource Renewable Investments Ltd, and then Lightsource Renewable Energy Investments Ltd, the ‘BP’ was added in February 2018 when BP Alternative Energy Investments Ltd (formerly BP Biofuels UK Ltd) took over.
Fossil fuel giant BP getting into renewables is the most obvious kind of greenwash.
But don’t get me wrong, old Jac’s got nothing against oil and gas, because I’ve still got enough operational grey matter to know that we can’t live well without them, whether there’s a war in eastern Europe or not.
What’s more, I know who’s pushing us towards expensive and unreliable alternatives to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. And I know why they’re doing it. They are not friends of Western society.
If the ‘Welsh Government’, and our local authorities, were sincere in their commitment to the environment, they’d tell BP and all the other enviroshysters to reduce their carbon footprint rather than cover good land with wind turbines, solar farms, and sterile, monoculture forests.
But that would deny our politicians the opportunities they crave to ponce around and posture, claiming to be saving the planet.
Because that’s what it’s all about – political posturing.
Let me draw your attention to something happening in east Africa. As I understand it, the Tanzanian government has agreed to enclose land for ‘reserves’ on which Gulf royals can go trophy shooting.
There are so many wrong things bundled up in what I’ve just written. But no doubt a great deal of money changed hands.
Wouldn’t it be great if shyster greenwashers and land-grabbing ‘environmentalists’ got that kind of reception in Wales!
The international message: This land is our land!
Finally, a few weeks ago, in Green Man, Red Herring?, I reported on the curious business of the ‘Welsh Government’ paying £4.25m for Gilestone Farm, at Talybont-on-Usk.
The purchase was allegedly made for the Green Man festival . . . which said it had no intention of relocating from the Glanusk Estate, had not submitted a business plan, and seemed almost as surprised as the rest of us by the news of its good fortune.
It confirms there was no tendering process to invite bids from others who might have been interested, no business plan has been received from Green Man, but the purchase was still made on solid economic grounds. Absolutely absurd!
Previous owners of the land had stressed to me that while the farm was indeed valuable, the real value lies in the substantial deposits of sand and gravel on which the farm sits.
So in my FoI I asked who now holds the mineral rights to the land.
The question was not answered, on the grounds that the information is available elsewhere. Which would be true if the details of the recent purchase were available on the Land Registry website. But for whatever reason, the most recent title register available lists the sale in 2010.
So, really, I know little more than I’d already learnt from my own enquiries.
The purchase of Gilestone Farm is yet another deal done with public money, in secret, by an administration that is out of control, out of its depth, and no longer cares what people think.
This piece is prompted by the ‘Welsh Government’ suggesting it wants to address the issue of lobbying. As the website puts it: “The Standards of Conduct Committee is undertaking an inquiry into lobbying and is keen to establish whether lobbying is a matter of concern to the people of Wales”.
A disingenuously worded paragraph because the hope is that few people will even know about the exercise, fewer still will respond, and that will allow the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ to claim that lobbying is not “a matter of concern” and everything can just carry on as before.
The truth is that Wales desperately needs reform in this area, and it needs to go well beyond a simple register of lobbyists. I say this because lobbying takes a different form in Wales to most other Western countries.
What I’m going to try here is to give examples of different lobbying sectors (that would probably not regard themselves as lobbyists), while also looking at more obvious examples of lobbying.
I warn you, this is a ‘biggie’, pushing 4,000 words. But broken up into sections so you don’t have to take in the full horror of the situation all at once.
So go make a cuppa.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY
Since before the first elections to the then Assembly for Wales in May 1999, those looking to benefit from devolution were positioning themselves, even relocating.
For example, the RSPB, which had until then been based – very centrally for an essentially rural organisation – in Powys, decided the time had come to move its Wales regional office to Cardiff.
This had nothing to do with bird migrations, or even the rediscovery of the Lesser-spotted Splott Warbler (previously thought extinct).
No, it was all to do with access to the new decision makers.
For the RSPB and the wider environmental lobby, devolution has been like Christmas, with a constant supply of prezzies delivered by yo ho ho-ing politicians.
“At the centre of government decision making” can only mean that the WEL lobbies to influence decisions made by the ‘Welsh Government’.
But do you remember voting for the Wales Environmental Link? Do you remember being offered the chance of voting for the Wales Environmental Link? No, nor me.
As I say, the ‘Save the Planet!’ lobby was out of the blocks early on in the devolution era. Helped to a great extent by ‘insiders’. These came in two forms.
First, civil servants, often from England, always answering to London, and working to a vision of a Welsh countryside without farming.
Second, politicians who, despite what they were elected and paid to concentrate on, always prioritised their real interest of ‘reconfiguring’ – even repopulating – rural Wales.
Inevitably, the two elements worked closely together. Never more so than when Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales* Lesley Griffiths shacked up with her civil servant adviser Gary Haggaty.
But the grande dame of the sector is Jane Davidson. “Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011 where she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle”, as Wikipedia tells us.
Sustainable development became the “central organising principle” of governing Wales. Let that sink in.
After leaving the Assembly in 2011 Davidson took up a post of Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity St David University, Lampeter.
Davidson was, supposedly, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, but she’d already bought a place down west and was more concerned with pushing through the Hippies’ Charter (One Planet legislation) than with anything happening in Ponty.
From ivory tower to organic cabbage patch Jane Davidson and those she can marshal and organise have wielded an unhealthy influence over successive administrations in Corruption Bay.
The environmental lobby is now one of the most powerful in Wales. It’s why farmers have their backs to the wall, it’s why the M4 was not improved, and why smaller projects, such as the Llanbedr by-pass, have been scrapped.
If this lobby could close Port Talbot steelworks, take away our cars, confiscate all farmland, and turn us into vegans, it would. And the ‘Welsh Government’ would pass the necessary legislation without quibbling.
As gesture politics go, few things are more damaging to the Welsh national interest than deluding yourself that you’re saving the planet while damaging Wales.
*A bizarre title that makes ‘North Wales’ sound like an overseas colony of Corruption Bay.
THE RACE LOBBY
At it’s crudest this is little more than, ‘You Welsh are racist – give us funding’. I examined this racket not so long ago, when the so-called Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union successfully blackmailed the Wales Arts Council and the National Museum.
In brief, the Arts Council of Wales was pressured into ‘commissioning’ a report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. An ad hoc group capitalising on the George Floyd killing by using ‘discrimination’ as the key to future funding.
In the race lobby sector we find another grande dame, in the form of Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill, who you can read about in the first section of this miscellany from May 2018.
Her empire is founded on Bawso, which has accumulated quite a few properties around Wales over the years. And you’ll be glad to hear that Mrs Merrill has not neglected her own property portfolio.
But that’s how it is in the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party. You work for and promote the party, and preferment and funding will be your reward. Even if it’s public money down the drain.
And the showering of goodies can extend to your loved ones, involved in other fields.
As happened with Travers Merrill, Mutale’s hubby; given the cushy number of chief executive at Rhondda Life, a ‘regeneration’ project in the Rhondda Fach. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything, by the look of it.
It 2012 it was announced that the project was in receivership. And having looked through the documents filed with Companies House I get the impression there was something akin to jiggery-pokery going on in Ferndale.
For example, in the last accounts filed, for y/e July 31, 2012, the company is said to own freehold property valued at £1.5m. This is presumably the building you see in the image above.
The property eventually realised £295,000. Even allowing for the way liquidators dispose of such properties, that is quite a difference. But the bottom line is that the building was never worth £1.5m.
Over-valuing assets is a tactic used by many who’ve appeared on this blog over the years: money launderers, mortgage fraudsters, and other crooks.
But of course, this being Wales, a ‘Welsh Government’ cock-up leads to a cover-up. It was years before the truth started coming out. Due in no small part to the persistence of Leanne Wood, a politician for whom I have the highest regard.
THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY
A few years back I submitted an FoI request asking about organisations in Wales “combatting homelessness”. Specifically, how many were there?
The response told me there were 48! In a country of just over 3 million people. There are probably more by now. “It’s them wicked Tories, innit”.
But then, when you think about it, when you remember the kind of country Wales is, and the kind of lobbying I’ve described, 48 shouldn’t surprise anyone. The more the merrier. It’s only public money after all.
As with the other sectors, many of the homelessness racketeers have moved to Wales in the era of devolution. Which is bad enough, but to keep the funding flowing these people – just like their counterparts in other sectors – will import a steady stream of ‘clients’ from over the border.
It’s a form of human trafficking.
We see here the fundamental and uncomfortable truth about third sector lobbyists in Wales.
Identify or invent a ‘problem’ in order to get funding. Then, with the help of an ever-compliant media and understanding politicians, the ‘problem’ must persist – to guarantee continued funding!
Let the good times roll!
Many of those now running the dozens of homelessness organisations have worked for the Labour Party or for Plaid Cymru, others will move on to work for these parties.
Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.
To get a taste of what I’ve written over the years on this subject try, ‘Another “homelessness” outfit!’ (16.04.2020). Or just put ‘homelessness’ into the search box on top of the sidebar to open up a library.
THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY
A relatively recent arrival on the lobbying scene in Wales is the transsexual lobby. Represented by Stonewall, the former lesbian and gay organisation.
To begin with, and as you’ve probably guessed, Stonewall has its claws into the ‘Welsh Government’ for funding. The panel below shows that in the 18 months up to March 31, 2021, only the UK government gave more money to Stonewall than the boys and girls of Corruption Bay.
But this being Wales, Stonewall has also been able to influence – if not dictate – legislation. To the extent of the ‘Welsh Government’ agreeing to what Stonewall would like to see in law rather than what the 2010 Equalities Act actually says.
As Irving Berlin put it: There May Be Trouble Ahead.
It appears that the voice of Stonewall in Wales is Lu Thomas. You’ll have noticed her name if you followed the links in the section on the race lobby. She’s a Labour insider with far too much influence in the Bay.
As I suggest, she was deeply involved, with her business partner, Jon Luxton, another Labour insider, in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union scam.
Her Linkedin profile says she’s managing director of Final Say Wales, which seems to be a rather sad attempt to roll back Brexit. I dug this out, but I couldn’t find much more. My guess would be it’s died a natural death in the face of reality.
This probably helped inform the ‘Welsh Government’s current – and possibly unlawful – position on “trans rights”. But then, when it comes to surveys, it all depends who you talk to.
What Lu Thomas and others have learned from many years of working with and influencing politicians is that if you put your mind to it you can find racism, environmental damage, transphobia, etc., etc., just about anywhere.
And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.
THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY
Those we’ve looked at so far have been insiders, dealing with civil servants and politicians they know. These activist-lobbyists have, in a number of cases, previously worked for the ‘Welsh Government’, or for individual politicians.
They are invariably associated with not-for-profit organisations. Which means few jobs for anyone not linked to a particular clique of insiders, and little by way of a contribution to the wider economy beyond the increased spending power of clique members.
But we are asked to ignore this and focus instead on the incalculable benefits to society as a whole from ‘doing good’.
Though I fail to understand how a Welsh community is improved by a third sector body or a housing association importing into that community from England ex-cons, petty criminals and drug addicts.
Nor do I pretend to understand the doublespeak that gave us a policy (OPDs) designed, we were told, to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint . . . that invites into Wales people to live on previously unused land; who drive elderly diesel vehicles, keep farting animals, and cannot live without wood-burning stoves.
It’s refreshing then to be able to focus on a lobbying activity motivated by unalloyed greed and promoted through in-yer-face corruption. Though it adheres to the model herein explained in that it is facilitated using Corruption Bay insiders.
I’m referring now to the many, many companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, and their plans for at least 20 new wind farms in Wales. Shown in red print in the map below.
To understand the brazen corruption involved you’ll need a few introductions. Let us look first at Bute Energy’s ‘Welsh Advisory Board’. A totally unnecessary group formed purely to justify paying certain people for their influence with the ‘Welsh Government’.
On the left, we see Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP. Not known to have any knowledge of or interest in wind turbines or renewable energy of any kind.
On the right is John Uden, partner of Labour MS, Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Senedd’s Climate Committee. His knowledge of three-arm bandits is believed to be on a par with Vaughan’s.
The other two may be there to act as a distraction. The jury’s out on them. Though I’m told ‘John Cwmbetws’ already has a bloody big turbine on his land.
Indeed, a beneficiary of the planned Moelfre site is vice-chair of the Board, Harry Fetherstonhaugh.
But of even more interest is David James Taylor, who has served as a spad to former First Ministers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, and also former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain. Quite the lad about the corridors of power, our Dai.
Taylor tends to work under the radar and is nowhere mentioned on the Bute website. But he, like Vaughan and Uden, was recruited by Bute Energy for one reason and one reason only – his contacts in the Labour Party.
His lucre from Bute Energy was channelled through Moblake Ltd. This company was wound up in April with sole director Taylor owing the company £605,872 that he’d taken out in interest-free ‘loans’ with no repayment date.
But no mention of where the money came from!
Taylor has set up a new company, Earthcott Ltd, so maybe Bute’s future payments will be channelled through this new venture. Then again, seeing as we know about it . . .
Yes, folks, Scots, Danes, everyone gets a slice of the action, except the native Welsh. Unless of course you’re well connected down Corruption Bay.
That’s how a corrupt, third world country operates.
THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS
In addition to those already looked at, who might be termed ‘amateur lobbyists’, there are also companies that are quite open about what they do. Which is, helping commercial outfits, often from outside of Wales, get what they want from the ‘Welsh Government’.
But they also dabble in politics. And for unregulated bodies they have far too much influence.
Let’s just look at two of them.
Starting with a company that’s appeared on this blog a number of times, Deryn Consulting. Run by former politicians and spads, but keeping up with the Woke agenda by recruiting enviromarxists and promoters of BLM.
The majority of Deryn’s shares are owned by former Labour spad Cathy Owens, with a minority nestling in the neatly-manicured hands of former Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Nerys Evans.
Over the years Deryn has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents, I’ll just mention two.
The first was the Ofcom contract, a gem of its kind. This report from October 2017 will give you the story. And the image below of a WalesOnline headline from August 2017 leads on to another element of the Deryn saga.
You’ll see that Neil McEvoy, was at that time, still a Plaid Cymru AM, but he’d blotted his copybook big time by challenging third sector shenanigans and exposing Deryn.
For party leader at that time was Leanne Wood, a personal friend of those whose lives were being made difficult by Neil McEvoy. He’s told me more than once that he was ordered to lay off Deryn. He didn’t.
He was too honest to stay silent when surrounded by institutionalised corruption, and so he had to go. First from Plaid Cymru, and then from the Senedd.
Around the time of the Ofcom scandal people at Deryn were briefing against Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in the ‘Welsh Government’.
Those at Deryn employed in this dirty work were colluding with over-wrought but ever-cooperative third sector women. Some of whom had also made unfounded allegations against Neil McEvoy.
What’s worse, there were politicians, supposed allies of Sargeant, also briefing Deryn. The conduit here was Jo Kiernan, former senior spad to First Minister Carwyn Jones.
From Carwyn Jones’ staff Kiernan knew that Carl Sargeant was to be sacked before the poor bugger himself knew, and she was briefing others.
Carl Sargeant was sacked on November 3, 2017 and took his own life four days later.
This skeletal document tells us that Deryn, with 9 employees, has assets of just £63,836.
But where are the real figures? Where’s the rest of the money? Where’s the turnover for the year? Is everything done with brown envelopes?
There’s something squalid and distasteful about Deryn. More worrying is that Owens, Evans and Kiernan seem able to open any door in Corruption Bay.
The bad news is that Deryn isn’t the biggest PR company down the Bay. The big kid on the block now is Camlas, formerly Positif Politics Ltd. The change of name last November is linked to the departure of Positif founder Daran Hill, who ceased to be a director in September. (Though he still seems to hold a majority of the shares.)
I’ve heard rumours, involving the local gendarmerie; but you know me, I try to avoid tittle-tattle in favour of facts and informed speculation.
Back in August 2020, in the early days of investigating Bute Energy and David Taylor, I ran across Hill’s name in connection with a wind farm planning application, so I contacted him. The resultant Twitter exchange can be read below.
The Bute account at Camlas is currently handled by Matt Hexter.
Did David Taylor direct Bute Energy to his mate Daran Hill, or was it vice versa?
But with Plaid Cymru firmly in control through Managing Partner and Co-Owner Rhodri ab Owen, brother to Plaid Cymru MS Rhys ab Owen; while the other Managing Director and Co-Owner Naomi Williams was a spad to former Plaid AMs Dafydd Elis Thomas and Dai Lloyd.
Plaid Cymru is of course in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Senedd. And even without an alliance, the two parties are never far apart.
I’m sure these minimalist filings are perfectly legal, but I believe that with companies such as Deryn and Camlas exercising unaccountable influence in Welsh public life we are entitled to know more about them.
In normal countries, with normal economies, lobbying is conducted by business interests and often involves donations to political parties. In other words: lobbying decides which company or corporation gets the contracts.
And while this may be undesirable, it usually delivers jobs and generates wealth. The country benefits, the losers tend to be commercial competitors. Who, had they been successful, would also have created jobs and generated wealth.
The political elite controlling Wales wants a quasi-socialist state in which they exercise power through patronage and hand-outs. The last thing this elite wants is a decent economy and an entrepreneurial class challenging its diktats and exposing its weaknesses.
And this explains why, in Wales, lobbying takes the form of fawning and cajoling by pressure groups that share the political outlook of the elite. These demand legislation beneficial to their cause, also funding and publicly-owned assets.
This must then be disguised with flim-flam like, “public good”, “future generations”, and other specious and unquantifiable ‘benefits’. Which we are told to accept as some kind of substitute for a decent economy and a prosperous country.
To begin with, we obviously need a definition of lobbying.
I would suggest: Anyone seeking to influence politicians, either directly or indirectly, through civil servants, advisers, or by any other means, in the hope of securing personal or corporate financial gain, or in order to influence legislation.
There should be a register of such persons. And a diary kept of all meetings between lobbyists and politicians, civil servants or advisers; both those meetings that have been held, and those planned for the future. The subject matter of these meetings must also be stated clearly and unambiguously.
Both the register and the diary should be updated daily and made available online.
To monitor lobbying will require a new post, and it will need to be filled by someone untainted by Corruption Bay. For once, I would have no objection to filling an important post in Wales with a complete stranger.
But I remain open to suggestion, so let’s have your comments. The ‘Welsh Government’ is also asking for your views, so don’t forget to write.
They’ll be delighted to hear from you! Or maybe not.
Lurking behind the barns in the Gilestone saga I published last week were environmental / wildlife groups. Now I think they need some sunlight.
What prompted my decision was a tweet I saw just over a week ago. The idea that a wildlife trust should be directing the ‘Welsh Government’s farm funding is bizarre.
As I asked in a tweet of my own: “Is the ‘Welsh Government now consulting foxes on chicken coop security?”
The wildlife trusts and environmental groups I’ve encountered in Wales tend to be run by zealots believing the Welsh countryside faces few problems that couldn’t be solved by getting rid of livestock farmers.
Predictable when we remember that these groups contain a worryingly high percentage of vegetarians and vegans. And others of a dictatorial bent.
The Trust is doing very well for itself. With net assets of £2,196,206 in 2021, against £1,899,611 the year before. And £288,436 in the bank (£147,097 in 2020).
That was despite writing off a debt of £10,296 owed by Radnorshire Wildlife Services Ltd. (In all my years of blogging I have encountered few successful ‘trading arms’. They must serve some other purpose.)
In its latest report and accounts (at the foot of page 1) Wildlife Trusts Wales says, “WTW Council unanimously agreed that Wildlife Trust Wales should dissolve as a separate charity”, so why hasn’t it happened?
Wildlife Trusts Wales has chosen to be the local branch of an English body and hopes we’ll generously view it as having a separate existence. A bit like the Green Party.
OUT OF THE WOODWORK
After casting in the direction of James Hitchcock I hooked a few fish.
One specimen I dragged up from the murky depths was a Dr Paul Tubb. (I was tempted to take it easy on him because he might be related to Ernest of that ilk, who gave Hank Williams one of his best songs.)
It wasn’t long into our exchange, with me being the restrained and muted presence I always am, before Tubb came out with this!
As I was quick to clarify – ain’t nothing “so-called” about my nationalism.
Another attempt to silence us by playing the ‘ugly nationalism’ card. Opposing the takeover of our country regularly draws this response, but the takeover itself is just fine. Perhaps even a moral crusade.
I introduce that elevating consideration after being confronted by it in a document produced by Woodknowledge Wales. Which is about as Welsh as the East India Company was Indian.
On page 17 you’ll find the section above. Here’s my interpretation of what it says.
In addition to taking England’s wind turbines, and providing England’s water, Wales should also become England’s forest.
Farming is in the way of “re-forestation”.
“Natural colonisation of land” (by flora and fauna) is not a “morally justifiable . . . option for Wales”.
The claim that there is a moral dimension to this scam is self-deluding bullshit. These are grant-grabbing tree-planters, not theologians or moral philosophers.
But enough of that, for I’ve been neglecting Tubby. He and I exchanged a bit more banter before it died a death.
Then, on the Monday, I received an e-mail from a complete stranger. It contained a link to the tweet you see below.
The glasnost reference is to a blog produced by the late Dušan ‘Jacques’ Protić, who believed that both Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones were dangerous nationalists . . . because they spoke Welsh! To Protic the Welsh language was the root cause of all Wales’ problems.
Protic was a ranter, and always good for a laugh. I often pictured him, crowned with a battered šajkača, pounding furiously away on his laptop . . . never dreaming he had a fan in Dr Paul Tubb.
Another irritating little git who popped up was a certain Rob Thomas. A twitcher from Cardiff Met. His party piece was referring to me as “anonymous tweeter and conspiracy theorist ‘Jac'”.
In fact, it’s quite amazing – and worrying – how many ‘afforestation’ groups there are out there. And how few of them, if any, are genuinely Welsh.
HOW MANY GROUPS DOES IT TAKE TO PLANT A TREE?
One, very influential outfit, is the Woodland Trust, which seems to be involved in most wood-related scams. An English organisation that followed the time-honoured route of opening a branch within whispering distance of Corruption Bay and giving itself a Welsh name, Coed Cadw.
But it’s simply a flag of convenience, for ‘Coed Cadw’ doesn’t exist for Companies House, or the Charity Commission, or the Financial Conduct Authority.
Another organisation I haven’t yet mentioned, but which has increasing influence over the ‘Welsh Government’, is the World Wildlife Fund. Which has an office and a website but, again, no existence independent of its UK / England HQ.
Then there’s a crew I may have neglected until now, Wales Environment Link (WEL), which sees itself as an umbrella organisation for environmental groups.
Thomas is also a director at the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Another trustee is Natalie Roxanne Buttriss. Who deserves special mention.
Back in October 2018 she appeared in The Welsh Clearances. She was then Wales Director of the Woodland Trust, which was a partner with Rewilding Britain in the Summit to Sea project, a very ambitious land grab that was derailed by colonialist arrogance rousing local resistance.
I reproduce a photo from that post. It says so much. It shows Buttriss presenting a petition to Mike Hedges, Labour AM for Swansea East, I don’t know what post he held then. (Don’t care.)
A petition demanding – what else? – more trees! But it only managed to get a miserable 2,385 signatures. Yet it was still accorded an official presentation and media coverage . . . while petitions with many more signatures are effectively binned.
When the memsahibs shout, the native politics-wallahs come running.
Among the full-time staff at WEN we find Llinos Price, of whom the less said the better. (Put her name into the search box atop the sidebar.) Also, former Labour spad, Liz Smith. Then there’s Rory Francis, who too has worked as a spad, and more recently for Friends of the Earth and Coed Cadw / Woodland Trust.
It really is revolving doors between ‘charities’ and politics, with none of those involved having any experience of business, and a lifetime spent wholly reliant on public funds.
But it’s not just identifiable organisations we should worry about; there are also loners, operating below the radar, who surface for other reasons.
We’ve looked at the one for Radnorshire, but there is also the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, and there was a Brecknock Wildlife Trust until it merged with WTSWW.
Quite remarkable when you think about it. Powys, with less than 5% of Wales’ population, had 60% of the country’s wildlife trusts. And post merger, still has 50%.
How do we explain this? Being so large, and sparsely-populated, Powys obviously attracts the kind of people we’ve encountered in this article. But there may be other factors at work.
A number of those I encountered in my research still live over the border, often just over the border. Wales obviously attracts them because funding is more readily available here.
James Hitchcock, the CEO of Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, with whose tweet this piece began, was formerly Estates Senior Manager at Herefordshire Wildlife Trusts.
Powys is also within reasonable travelling distance of almost any part of England, which makes it convenient for greenwash ‘investors’.
There are other organisations helping to turn Harri Webb’s ‘Green Desert’ into a wooded wildlife paradise; among them, Soros College, Talgarth.
I know the boys and girls at Black Mountains College don’t like me harping on about their George Soros connection . . . so I shall keep doing it!
By accepted yardsticks such as health service delivery, education, infrastructure, standard of living, etc., we Welsh are worse off today than we were in 1999.
Unless they can serve as commuter communities for Cardiff and Newport the towns and villages of the Valleys undergo managed decline; Swansea is fed crumbs; the north east is being merged with north west England; the north coast is becoming the A55 commuter belt for Merseyside, Manchester, and Cheshire; our western coastal areas are no-go areas for our people due to property prices; while the rural heartland is bought up by carbon capture scammers and enviroshysters – with the support of the ‘Welsh Government’.
If it’s not the ‘Welsh Government’ buying up land for the claimed climate emergency then it’s Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Among their recent acquisitions is Ty’n y Mynydd on Ynys Môn.
But what can we expect from an organisation that puts out 1960s peace and love bollocks like: ” . . . reflective walk . . . ‘Children of the Revolution’ . . . thanks and love . . . for what we’d done for Wales”.
What they’d done for Wales!!! They are buying up our country with our money and handing it over to strangers. (And look at the goody bags! We also paid for them.)
Every last one of them should be deported. Along with the others mentioned here. Plus the politicians, the civil servants, the lobbyists, and anyone else linked to the cess-pit that is Corruption Bay.
Let’s have a clean sweep so we can all breathe purer air.
Dominic Driver, who was responsible for that toe-curling tweet, is Head of Land Stewardship at NRW, so he presumably had a hand in the purchase at Ty’n y Mynydd. He taught at Harrow School and lives in the Cotswolds. Neis.
But that’s Wales for you. Or rather, for them.
The writing is on the wall. And the message reads: “R.I.P. Wales, the country that sacrificed itself pandering to strangers ‘saving’ a planet that was never in danger”.
WA851663 “Land at Cynghordy, Llandovery”. This is indeed owned by The Carbon Community, and the lender is named as ‘Heather Allen’. And here we have a plan. Unfortunately, it came in four parts at the end of the title document. I’ve done my best to stitch them together.
What you see outlined in red is a large area of land lying east of Coed Alltygyrnig, which you’ll find in the centre of the OS map above.
Note also, page 3, paragraph 2: ‘”(21.04.2020) The price stated to have been paid on 20 March 2020 for the land in this title and in CYM119497, CYM119512, CYM800919 and WA852717 was £600,000.”
Which means that Heather Allen’s £200,000 only covered a third of the purchase price. Did the other directors put in £200,000 each? Or did the money come from somewhere else?
Here are the other relevant titles. (Or maybe just the ones I’ve found!)
WA852717 “Land at Cynghordy, Llandovery”. This lies to the south east of the main holding shown in the plan with WA851663 (above), separated by a field or two, and backing onto the railway line and Coed Gallt-y-gyrnig on the east.
While I was idly Googling various names that crop up in this narrative I ran across a planning application for Gallt y Gyrnig, elsewhere known as ‘Alltygyrnig’, even ‘Galt-y-gyrnig’. Here it is.
The planning application was for the, “Reinstatement of abandoned farmhouse along with the conversion of an adjoining redundant outbuilding to provide additional residential accommodation”.
Full planning approval was granted 21.10.2021.
That’ll cost a few quid.
The map that accompanied the planning application shows that the land in question is across the railway line, and south east of Coed Alltygyrnig.
Even though the planning application was submitted by Charles Nicholls, the property is owned by John Lloyd of Cynghordy Hall. The local Big House.
Has an arrangement been entered into between Nicholls and Lloyd that if planning permission was obtained then Gallt y gyrnig would be rented, leased, or bought?
In total, we’re looking at a substantial amount of land bought or being eyed up by The Carbon Community. And there may be more.
I earlier mentioned Philip Michael Stoyle, who owns or lives in Penlan or Pen-y-lan. I can’t positively link him with The Carbon Community, but you never know.
What I do know is that he set up two companies in 2014, both with addresses in England. Adviseinc Ltd (26.02.2014) and Philinc Ltd (30.06.2014). Adviseinc still uses a London address, whereas Philinc switched to Penlan in June 2017.
All three went belly-up and were finally dissolved in 2016 and 2017 owing millions of pounds to assorted creditors. The last Summary of Liabilities for SeeWhy Software quoted a deficiency of £5,465,866.50.
The last to go under was SeeWhy (UK) Ltd. The only share held by . . . SAP (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary of German company SAP SE (Societas Europaea).
Charles Nicholls’ background is obviously in computer software, yet he seems to have reinvented himself as an environmentalist!
Or maybe not. For I suggest this ‘transformation’ can be explained by looking more closely at his links with SAP, and how SAP now links with The Carbon Community.
Which means that when the SeeWhy companies with which Charles Nicholls was involved folded, in 2016 and 2017, he was perhaps, if indirectly, working for SAP.
SAP SE is a German software company. Wikipedia says: “SAP is the largest non-American software company by revenue, the world’s third-largest publicly-traded software company by revenue, and the largest German company by market capitalization”.
Possibly the largest company in Germany. Wow!
SAP SE is mentioned on The Carbon Community website but of course that rang no bells for me. But as we’ve seen, it is mentioned in connection with Seewhy (UK) Ltd, and then again in the Annual Report submitted to the Charity Commission, where we read:
And while The Carbon Community has relatively little to say about SAP, this major international player is proud to trumpet its involvement in Wales.
In March 2021 we learnt: “SAP announced its intention to become carbon-neutral in its own operations by the end of 2023 – two years earlier than previously stated.”
Later in the same announcement we read: ” . . . at local level. SAP UK has partnered with The Carbon Community to plant the SAP Forest UK in the Brecon Beacans (sic) in Wales, with the aim of capturing just under 2,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 35 years.”
I believe SAP is the real owner of what The Carbon Community calls ‘Glandwr Forest’. Which explains “SAP Forest UK” in the panel above.
I also feel confident enough to set out the following scenario:
Wanting to cash in on the Welsh carbon capture scam SAP turned to Charles Martin Nicholls and he set up The Carbon Community as a front.
If I’m right, then most of the money to buy land around Cynghordy came from SAP. Heather Allen had to contribute £200,000 because she lacked the SAP connection.
She may be representing a different party.
Among the documents on the Carmarthenshire planning portal relating to Gallt y gyrnig I found a letter of objection. It poignantly illustrates the tragedy being engineered in the Welsh countryside.
” . . . grandson . . . eleventh generation of farming in the valley . . . tradition of farming . . . I am not in posession of a computer or email”.
Oh, I bet the smart-arses sniggered when they read that.
But the farm is gone. Bought by persons fronting for a German software giant with the ‘Welsh Government’ chipping in to the tune of £32k. With perhaps more to come.
Paying a company this big and wealthy to buy Welsh land is beyond absurd; it is obscene.
The Glastir Woodland Creation scheme must be reformed. Payments should be made to established farmers only; in order to keep Welsh families on the land, and to defend our identity and our communities.
How many more little outfits, and ‘community’ ventures, apparently tootling along on donations and volunteers, are in fact fronting for corporate leviathans? Does the ‘Welsh Government’ know? Does the ‘Welsh Government’ care?
As a first step in cleaning up the carbon capture racket I urge the ‘Welsh Government’ and Natural Resources Wales to insist on the return of all funding given to SAP via The Carbon Community.
Finally, in the best interests of Wales – and their own credibility – those speaking on behalf of the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ need to stop pretending that what I’ve described here isn’t happening.
On this blog I have consistently argued that I want Wales to operate less like a colonial possession and more like countries run by politicians who prioritise the material well-being of the people in those countries.
The so-called ‘Welsh Government’ clearly thinks I’m asking for too much. For it continues to encourage and facilitate the exploitation of our homeland by foreign companies and other agencies.
Methods now being employed to disguise the nature of the beast include a veneer of Welsh involvement. And it is no more than a veneer. An expensive veneer, because it’s often paid for from the Welsh public purse.
Another way of thinking about this ‘veneer’ is to view it as the classic variant of colonialism that allows members of a native elite to profit from the plundering of their country and its resources. It both buys their loyalty and disguises the colonialism.
This is what I’ve been reporting with Bute Energy, that multi-headed monster that emerged from nowhere, with no background in renewables, and no Welsh connection, but which is now hoping to erect 20 wind farms in Wales.
Bute set up a totally superfluous ‘Welsh Advisory Board’ in order to provide sinecures for redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone.
The only ‘advice’ Bute expected from this Board was to be told who they should see to get things done. Better still, to hear, ‘Leave it to me, I’ll have a word with ———-‘.
It stinks. But it didn’t end there.
Winner of the Farley’s Rusks Chubby Cheeks Competition 1986, and later spad to the Labour mighty, David James Taylor, also had his snout firmly in the Bute trough. Though his membership of linked Grayling Capital LLP ended in September, after the spotlight fell on him.
The lucre from his association with Bute seems to have been shovelled to his company Moblake Ltd, from which Taylor then paid himself £605,872 in roughly three years. This was done in the form of ‘loans’ that don’t need to be repaid!
Taylor’s latest venture, also based at 69 Lambeth Walk, is Earthcott Ltd. Set up just before he quit Grayling Capital. Unsurprisingly, this new company is also in the flim-flam and door-opening business.
So we have a company, Bute Energy, and its associated entities, hoping to make a lot of money out of Wales. Perhaps for the minimal outlay of 20 planning applications. Which I’m sure Bute believes will be waived through.
Now it’s time to move offshore, so don your oilskins and adopt a jaunty nautical stance. (But anyone attempting Robert Newton impersonations will be keelhauled!)
ALL AT SEA
It may have escaped your notice, but Wales has vibrant offshore wind and wave industries. Or at least, that’s what we’re being told.
Though the offshore wind turbines seem limited thus far to the north coast. Which presumably means they’re the profitable responsibility of the Crown Estate. (Devolved in Scotland but not in Wales.)
Which is why I was surprised that the Welsh National Marine Plan – produced by the ‘Welsh Government’ late in 2019 – only mentioned the Crown Estate in passing. Almost as if the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe that Gwynt y Môr and the other arrays are all their own work, with the benefits accruing to Wales.
It should go without saying – this being Wales – that these offshore wind farms are all foreign-owned. Keeping to this template, the latest array proposed, Awel y Môr, will be owned by German company RWE.
But it’s not just wind turbines fixed to the sea bed that Corruption Bay encourages. There are also plans for floating turbines, and wave energy.
In fact, I’m wondering if this outfit is still afloat, because there seems to have been no activity on the very basic website for over a year.
It would be a pity if Cambrian Offshore sank without trace, because last August the Development Bank of Wales loaned the company £650,000. DBW tried to cover itself with a charge against the assets; though whether Cambrian Offshore has assets to that value is debatable.
Also, from January 2021, she’s been a self-employed ‘Renewable Energy Specialist’.
While from May 2021 Niamh Kenny has also been Project Developer at NMK Renewables and SBM Offshore. The first is, presumably, her company, using her initials; while the second is a major Dutch company.
Finally, we see that Niamh Kenny is a partner in Hiraeth Energy. And who could argue with this ‘local benefits’ mission statement:
Then I found Hiraeth in glorious isolation as Hiraeth Energy LLP (21.07.2021). That is, Limited Liability Partnership, an opaque arrangement often used to cover up shady dealings. A LLP doesn’t have directors, it has members. Which explains Niamh Kenny’s relationship.
And among the other members of Hiraeth we find the aforementioned Venn of Joseph Geraint Kidd.
Hiraeth, we know about, but who or what is Afallen LLP? For Afallen is also listed as a member for Hiraeth LLP. The Afallen website proclaims: “What Wales does today, the world will do tomorrow”.
I hope to God that is just hyperbole, because if it’s a prediction, and anywhere near true, then I’ll seriously consider drinking myself to death.
Can you imagine a world ruled by the kind of duplicitous and incompetent buffoons that inhabit Corruption Bay? No, don’t even think about it!
Companies House tells us that the original partners in Afallen LLP (04.10.2018) were Dr David Owain Clubb, Mari Frances Arthur, and RTRT Consulting Ltd of Penarth. Though Clubb was soon replaced by his company Cymorth Clubb Cyf (05.11.2018). They have of course been recently joined by Kidd’s Venn Associates. It’s all very incestuous.
If the names Clubb and Arthur sound familiar, it’s because . . .
This imposition resulted in mass resignations locally and Plaid Cymru handing the seat to Labour. A rum do. Very rum.
So, to sum up: Joseph Geraint Kidd of Pembrokeshire has linked with Niamh Kenny of County Cork who is knowledgeable about offshore renewables. It appears she is also familiar with some big hitters in the business.
Companies that might be interested in Pembrokeshire.
What I presume Ms Kenny does not have is political connections in Wales. Which is where I suggest Afallen comes in.
For Arthur and Clubb are also in the door-opening business. Just like those taken on by Bute Energy. And now, with Labour and Plaid in alliance, well-connected members of both parties can expect to be in demand.
These are the kind of people who flit between politics, third sector, and private companies; providing nothing in the way of public benefit, but always guaranteed publicity from a compliant media and access to their politician friends.
Though let me put your mind at rest in case you’re worrying about Welsh public funding being used to land a non-binary and intersectional party of Wokeonauts on a dreary rock, far, far away . . .
(Though the idea is not without its attractions.)
There is no Welsh space programme. It’s just the Corruption Bay gang trying to put a Welsh spin on orders from London. And not for the first time. Or the last.
Though we could still end up financing a scheme from which we’ll see no benefits.
Let’s look at this scam in greater detail. Starting with the front page from last week’s Cambrian News. Having a couple of comedians accompany the headline is very fitting. We’ll soon meet another.
The CN’s inside pages went for broke. Even giving us a piece by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy. (There – what did I promise you!)
Having a Minister for the Economy in Wales is like having a Minister for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia. Neither’s expected to do much.
From that inside spread you’ll see Llanbedr and Aberporth mentioned. Which should give you a clue as to what we’re really talking about here. But if you’re still struggling . . . it’s drones and missiles, possibly satellites. But dressed up as a ‘space programme’.
Remarkably, a week after that final piece appeared, the loans Snowdonia Aerospace LLP had received from the Secretary of State for Defence and the ‘Welsh Ministers’ over 8 years earlier were paid off.
These loans were made so that Snowdonia Aerospace could lease Llanbedr from its nominal owner – ‘The National Assembly for Wales’. Which means that we paid an English company to lease property from us!
That’s how to run a country!
Though whether any money was really paid is another matter. Perhaps to avoid giving ammunition to a nosey blogger someone thought it best to write off those debts.
Alternatively, it was all a sham, with no money being loaned in the first place, with maybe Llanbedr staying in MoD ownership.
Whatever happened, the key player in this, in the assorted entities involved, the Byzantine dealings, seems to be Lee John Paul. Learn more about him in those earlier posts to which I’ve linked.
It’s reasonable to assume that Paul is well connected with the defence establishment. Otherwise the Ministry of Defence would not have loaned him money or allowed him to use Llanbedr airfield.
For Llanbedr was not Paul’s first venture with former MoD sites in Wales. He was also involved in a company promising to turn RAF Brawdy into a business park.
Brawdy Business Park Ltd gave up the ghost in April 2013 owing a lot of money. Some of it to the Welsh Development Agency.
This whole idea of a ‘spaceport’, and where to locate it, is political. It’s about flying the flag. The Union flag. Which is why a site in SNP-run Scotland beat Llanbedr to the prize.
So what we’re discussing here is at best the consolation prize; and an exercise in turd polishing on the part of the ‘Welsh Government’.
With that in mind, here’s what I think is really happening at Llanbedr . . .
By promising skilled jobs the Ministry of Defence – operating through, or in partnership with, private companies – hopes the ‘Welsh Government’ and Cyngor Gwynedd will cough up funding for a ‘spaceport’.
This, as we highly-trained defence analysts are wont to say, is a load of old bollocks. First, because the reality will just be upgraded drone and missile testing, Second, rural Wales does not have the skills needed, and training is unlikely to be provided.
Then there’d be the security dimension. I remember how RAE Llanbedr operated. All the best jobs went to retired service personal – who’d signed the Official Secrets Act – while cooks and cleaners were recruited locally.
The proof for me that the Llanbedr Spaceport is just a PR exercise lies in other actions by the ‘Welsh Government’.
Windward Global is controlled by Oliver James Millican who, when accompanied by Stuart Allan George and Lawson Douglas Steele, are the only directors found for most, if not all, the yearlings in the Bute stable.
The reason for the Bute boys choosing Wales is partly that England is reluctant to take onshore wind turbines, and partly that the soi-disant ‘Welsh Government’ has worked itself into a frenzy of planet-saving self-righteousness. To the point where it cannot be long before sackcloth and ashes become de rigeur among the worshippers of Deryn.
Which some of you might view as noble and altruistic.
The working assumption was that a new company called Bute, presumably representing City investors, had come to an arrangement with the ‘Welsh Government’.
The deal being the one I just outlined: that in return for keeping Drakeford and his gang in Greta’s good books, and for taking on a few Labour lags, Bute would be allowed to build wind farms just about anywhere they wanted – planning permission guaranteed from Lesley Griffiths MS (and Gary).
I recently learnt of a couple of new stars in the Bute constellation.
The other new arrival is Grayling Capital Investments Ltd. This is also controlled by Grayling Capital Holdings Ltd and then, by extension, Windward Global Ltd.
Other news from last week was that Windward Cambria Ltd, formed 08.10.2021, had changed its name to Bute Energy Development Holdings Ltd. This company is controlled by Windward Enterprises Ltd. Which is in turn – and again! – owned by Windward Global Ltd.
Bute Energy owns Bute Energy (Cambria) Ltd, the first link in the chain of ownership for the 20 wind farms on the list I linked to earlier. (Here it is again.) Which means that all the Bute wind farms in Wales are covered by the loan to Bute Energy.
As for the loan to Bute Energy Development Holdings Ltd, seeing as it’s a relatively new company – just over 4 months old – I’m sure we’ll learn more in the near future.
The name that came with the loans is, ‘CI IV Dragon Lender Ltd’.
I’d like to tell you that this is a new Welsh financial institution created with the backing of a pro-business administration in Corruption Bay.
I’d like to, but I don’t do fairy tales.
Explaining who we’re dealing with here is quite complicated, so please bear with me. The company number given on the debenture documents is 13816597, and this is indeed the number for CI IV Dragon Lender Ltd.
Set up as recently as 23 December last year this company, with an address in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, is owned by CI IV Dragon Holdco Ltd, which shares the Rotherham address, and was formed on the same day.
It’s reasonable to assume that ‘Dragon’ is a reference to Wales, and the 20 wind farms Bute has planned for our country.
There are a number of other CI IV companies registered with Companies House. None of which go back further than March, 2020. Many link with Scottish projects, and use as their address, 115 George Street, Edinburgh.
Some of you may remember George Street from earlier postings. It’s the New Town office of the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC), used by Millican and his mates.
So who or what is ‘CI IV’? The answer is that it stands for Copenhagen Investments 4. The answer was found through this Linkedin page.
As we read under the ‘News’ tab, ‘CIP is the world’s largest dedicated fund manager within greenfield renewable energy investments’.
Here’s the page for CI IV. The map obviously hasn’t caught up with latest developments in Wales. Which may be understandable, given that Companies House wasn’t notified of the deals until last Thursday. (Though I’m sure negotiations between Bute and CIP had been going on for some time.)
A search for ‘Bute’ on the CIP website turned up nothing, but I did find another reference to Wales. For this page tells us, ‘Copenhagen Infrastructure 1 has invested GBP ~155m of equity for a 49% stake in Falck Renewables S.p.A.’s (Falck) operational onshore wind portfolio in Scotland and Wales.’
With all involved expecting to make a pile of money. Well, everybody except the locals; who’ll end up with crumbs, from their own table.
And perhaps flooding.
The only question remaining, for me is this: Was Bute Energy acting all along as a stalking-horse for others, or did Bute get its foot in the door and then look around for the investment needed to realise its ambitions?
Did the ‘Welsh Government’ care either way?
UPDATE: I found this from December ’21. Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, worries about German pension funds profiting from offshore wind farms. Waters’ gang in Corruption Bay has no control over offshore wind farms.
Is he also concerned about onshore wind farms – for which his ‘Welsh Government’ will have to give planning permission – benefitting Danish pension funds?
One to watch?
When the ‘Welsh Government’ decided that our homeland was to become an al fresco power station those mighty intellects were confronted with three options as to how they might go about achieving that objective.
They could have . . .
Invested in Welsh companies to build the turbines, and other Welsh companies to generate electricity. Thereby creating thousands of jobs and enriching the country.
Followed their socialist instincts and had our wind farms run by a body owning them for the nation; or else local groups could have owned individual wind farms. (As appears to be happening in Scotland.)
Acted like a pimp and invited violators and exploiters to do what they wished with Mam Cymru.
As we know, to our cost, the ‘Welsh Government’ chose the third of those options. All the while trying to justify the betrayal by whimpering about a ‘climate emergency’.
Which goes some way to explaining why these latest developments involve companies and investment fund managers from Denmark, a country not much bigger than Wales, and with none of our natural resources.
I have no doubt that Denmark is one of the countries the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay looks up to, and wants Wales to copy. A kind-of socialist country with a high standard of living, first-class infrastructure, and health and social services that most countries can only dream of.
But how do the denizens of the Bay think these goodies are paid for? Do they believe that Denmark gets a block grant every year, perhaps from Berlin, or maybe Brussels?
The truth is that the Danes have their little piece of heaven thanks to a healthy economy of their own. Due to the likes of the Maersk Group (value, 2018: $28.1bn), the Carlsberg Group ($19.3bn), and Danske Bank (£16.6bn, 5m+ retail customers).
Apropos this article, another reason the luvvies of the Bay look towards Denmark is because the Danes are soooo committed to renewable energy.
Let’s compare the Danish approach to renewables with that of our esteemed tribunes.
The Danes design turbines, and build them at home and abroad. Either way, the money ends up back in the land of the Little Mermaid. Big in this field is Vestas Wind Systems (value, 2018: $17.9bn). And as we’ve seen in this article, there are also the Danish investment funds.
So, one way or another, Denmark gets 100% of the economic benefit from wind turbines erected in and off Denmark, and a healthy slice of the moolah for turbines erected elsewhere. Especially in ‘welcoming’ countries like Wales.
Wales sees only ‘community funds’. The modern equivalent of beads and blankets.
This kind of relationship used to be called colonialism. The sort of thing socialists and ‘progressives’ railed against. Presumably, the ‘Welsh Government’ now believes that such exploitation is OK if it can be greenwashed.
However we look at, ‘renewable energy’ has been one of the biggest rip-offs in Welsh history. Anyone who thinks this exploitation is acceptable because we’re ‘saving the planet’ is either a fool or a liar.
Bute Energy, in various manifestations, with addresses in London and Edinburgh has, for a minimal outlay, landed itself at least 20 wind farms in Wales that it can now exploit with foreign investment, or sell off entirely for a vast profit.
Wales will see none of that money, no jobs, and no other benefits . . . unless of course you’re well connected with the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
AND FINALLY . . .
I don’t for one second blame Danish companies for making money; for providing jobs and creating wealth for Denmark and the Danish people. Nor do I attach any blame to Danish politicians for encouraging this entrepreneurialism.
That is what they are supposed to do.
The blame for the growing inequalities between two small European countries, and the growing exploitation of one by the other, rests entirely on the shoulders of those posturing clowns in Cardiff.
They who have failed us, the Welsh people, time after time.
But let’s remember there can be no substantive improvement until we sever the English connection. Another slavering simian we need to get off our back is a socialism that prioritises gestures and identity politics over the material well-being of our people.
The PATT Foundation is based in Hull, and the website might suggest it’s in the business of making people feel guilty about the ‘climate crisis’ and screwing money out of them.
To understand what I’m suggesting go to the ‘shop’ page where you can sign up for ‘a hole in the ground’ for £2 a month. Or, a family of two adults and two children could offset their carbon footprint with a donation of £500. (Ten trees.)
Bargain of the month – a Covid face mask for £12. Or a steal at £36 for 3.
Steel was in on the ground floor when the PATT company was formed in November 2005. He was then living in Bangkok. He may have owned other property in Thailand.
I should add that the PATT Foundation is both a company and a charity. Though according to the information at the Charity Commission it does not operate in Wales.
In addition to Steel, the other directors of the Patt Foundation are John Nicholas Kennedy of Cyprus, Christopher Mark Ruddy of Somerset, and Valerie Josephine Seekings of Malawi. No obvious Welsh connections there.
The PATT Foundation’s latest accounts (actually, an unaudited financial statement) show net assets of £18,718 after a bank loan of £50,000 was taken out.
Which makes the local offshoot older than the parent company!
On the Companies House website this ‘Welsh’ branch still uses as its SIC: 52219 – Other service activities incidental to land transportation, not elsewhere classified’. This was presumably the SIC for the company’s original incarnation as Eco Drivers Ltd (06.09.2011 – 16.07.2019).
The only Green Task Force director other than Steel is Paul Gibbs Sykes, also of Somerset.
Although the company was only formed in October 2019 the website claims it’s already planted 3,000,000 trees! At that rate we’ll reach global net zero around 5pm on September 28, 2027.
And we Welsh will be living in tree houses! (Those that haven’t become holiday homes.)
The unaudited financial statement for Green Task Force also shows a loan of £50,000, which may be the same loan we found mentioned in the accounts of the parent company The PATT Foundation.
Question. Steel is ‘Dr’ for the Charity Commission, but not for any of his companies. Why might that be?
THE MISSING YEARS OF PAUL GIBBS SYKES
At first glance I assumed that Paul Gibbs Sykes of Green Task Force was recently arrived in the world of business, with four companies since January 2021. But then I tried a different angle and found an older company, from a time when Sykes seems to have been living in the Gwendraeth. I’m referring to PMJC Ltd.
This company lasted a very short time before dissolving. It never turned over much money. Or at least, the single and very brief balance sheet received by Companies House in August 2009 doesn’t reveal anything noteworthy.
And yet, what strikes me as odd, is that this one-man-band issued 1,000 shares.
You’ll see that Sykes describes himself as a HGV driver, which is in keeping with the haulage theme we encountered earlier.
But then it got a bit strange. Trying a different route I unearthed a further 20 companies that Sykes had been involved with over a decade ago. You’ll see that the most recent on the list is PMJC Ltd, which we’ve just looked at, which was dissolved in November 2010.
Note that a number of the companies have Cpi in the name, and they may trace back to a company in the US state of Wisconsin. Here are details for Cpi Worldwide Ltd.
You’ll also note that no accounts were ever filed for Cpi Worldwide Ltd. And Sykes never stayed long at any of the companies.
There may be a simple explanation for these walk-on roles. If so, I’d like to hear it.
Then there seems to be a gap of ten years between PMJC Ltd folding in 2010 and Sykes resurfacing with the new companies in 2021. Where was he in that period? Anyway, let’s look at his new companies.
Green Task Force and Green Task Force (Cymru) we already know about, so let’s focus on the other two companies that were formed last year.
The first was Sykes Consulting Ltd, which uses an accommodation address in Covent Garden, London. The SIC is, ‘49410 – Freight transport by road’. This one-man-band has issued a single share.
The other company was Lamb Sykes Consulting Ltd, where his partner is Simon Lamb. (With two women I assume to be their wives also holding shares.) This company’s SIC is ‘63120 – Web portals, 73110 – Advertising agencies’.
Which is a hell of a departure from HGVs and road haulage.
Now let’s turn to Green Task Force (Cymru) Ltd.
GREEN TASK FORCE (CYMRU) LTD
Andrew Graeme Steel has been with this company, through its various name changes, since it was Incorporated in September 2011. In the latest unaudited financial statement we once again encounter the £50,000 bank loan. But no mention anywhere of which bank loaned the money.
On April 1 last year Steel was joined by Paul Sykes Gibbs, who you’ve just read about, and Thomas James Gent, who also has an interesting business background.
Going chronologically, the earliest company I can find for Thomas Gent is Cass Scaffolding Ltd, which began life in September 2008. But soon ran into trouble, going into administration in March 2011 before being dissolved in December 2012.
But then it was resurrected by order of the court in October 2014. Presumably at the request of unpaid creditors. As things stand, Cass Scaffolding remains an active company with Companies House waiting for accounts, confirmation statement, and annual return.
The statement of administrator’s proposals dated May 2011 puts the total amount for unsecured creditors at close to £1.4m. With the largest of them being HMRC.
Now it’s back into the red with Cass Hire and Sales Ltd, launched in January 2011. A liquidator was appointed in September 2014, with estimated debts of £703,003.
The company lingered for quite a while before being finally dissolved in November 2020. With unsecured creditors – owed £532,111.82 – eventually being paid at the rate of 1.98 pence in the pound.
Moving on . . .
September 2011 saw the Incorporation of TJG Enterprises Ltd. Something of a departure for Thomas Gent, this, because it takes us into the realm of real estate.
In August and September 2020 there were yet more loans from the Development Bank of Wales. Which I find odd. My understanding is that the DBW makes loans to job-creating investors, not to help individuals build up their property portfolios.
Finally, we arrive at the imaginately named Envisage Envelope Solutions Ltd. Formerly, and more blandly known as, P & S Projects Ltd. This company gives its address as Gent’s property in Barry, but the former address was in Llansamlet. For reasons that will soon become clear.
P & S was launched in August 2020 by Scott Ashley Mason, then 23 years old. He is the ‘S’ in the original name. His father, Paul Edward Mason, is the ‘P’. The son seems to live in Wales while the father lives in Scotland.
The company’s original address was on the Enterprise Park in Llansamlet. Where we might also have found three other do-nothing companies registered by Paul Mason.
In one of which, Specialised Access Scaffolding Ltd, we would have found Gent as secretary.
The question running through my mind as I was writing this was, ‘How did these three come together in Green Task Force (Cymru ) Ltd? With Sykes and Gent joining on the same day.
Former resident of Thailand, now living in Hull, Dr(?) Andrew Graeme Steel.
HGV driver Paul Gibbs Sykes, formerly of Llanelli, now Bristol.
Scaffolding contractor, Thomas James Gent, from the Cardiff area.
What links this unlikely threesome? And when did they become so concerned for the future of the planet? Or is there some other reason they’re now involved in the tree-planting racket crusade?
One possible link must be Stuart Victor Chapman, who served for many years as the PATT Foundation secretary. He obviously knows Steel, and as he lives in Chepstow he’s not far from Sykes and Gent.
Another company that links Chapman and Steel is Eco-Odyssey-4Life Ltd, which had a brief existence from St David’s Day 2011 until October 9, 2012. Yet there was a share issue of 21,000 £1 shares, of which Bangkok resident Steel held 10,000.
The other shareholders all lived in the Hull area and Chapman served as secretary.
In addition to links with Steel Chapman has served as a director or secretary in a number of companies that would have brought him into contact with the Corruption Bay in-crowd.
But then . . . if Chapman was the introduction to what passes for the local movers and shakers, why does Steel need the truck driver and the scaffolder?
Maybe Lee Waters has the answer. Perhaps he can remember who persuaded him to trek up to Cwmbran last week, shake a few hands, feign interest, and have his photo took.
We have reached something of a crossroads in the climate debate.
Partly because the case presented by alarmists is becoming steadily less convincing, while ‘socialists’ in pursuit of carbon neutral objectives are increasingly embarrassed about punishing the most vulnerable in society.
What’s being exposed is an agenda promoted by political dilettantes like Mrs Boris Johnson and her chums and adopted by dupes influenced by overwrought schoolgirls.
An agenda that increasingly gives Russia control of Europe’s energy supply.
More locally, because the English don’t want wind farms despoiling their country, yet the City of London must make money, the ‘Welsh Government’ has welcomed any and all impositions and woven them into a deluded narrative of Wales playing an exaggerated role in saving the planet.
With the added advantage that an administration with no economic strategy of its own can dress up this exploitation as its innovative ‘Green economy’ . . . an ‘economy’ which, er, involves no Welsh companies and creates no Welsh jobs.
We may be at the stage now where investors are desperate to make a killing before the renewables / net zero house of cards starts collapsing.
Which might explain the ‘Welsh Government’ feverishly paying hedge funds and other investors to buy up Welsh farms to plant trees. Behaviour that has – predictably – resulted in Wales becoming a magnet for envirospivs.
The tweet on the left below, from last Friday, talks of two farms near Llanwrtyd. The one on the right, from Saturday, tells a very similar story. It’s a national problem encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’ and its Plaid Cymru allies.
I suggest that photo of Lee Waters on a windswept hillside makes a perfect partner for the image of Ken Skates shaking hands with notorious con man Gavin Lee Woodhouse.
If you recall, the ‘Welsh Government’ was about to hand over large areas of land and substantial sums of money to a crook. But others – myself included – said, ‘Hang on, something’s not right about this bloke.’ Eventually, even the Guardian saw through him. (But not the ‘Welsh’ media.)
We were right. And the ‘Welsh Government’ was wrong. Again.
Here’s my offer to the so-called ‘Welsh Government’. After you’ve decided to give someone money, let me do a quick check, and for every wrong ‘un I find you pay me just one per cent of what I’ll save the public purse.
Because, obviously, no one down the Bay is currently doing any checks.
For as Lee Waters himself so memorably said – when it comes to the economy, you really don’t know what you’re doing!
Retirement remains the ambition. That said, this post is produced in the hope of drawing attention to developments in one locality that may link with wider, national concerns.
Today’s piece took wing with the article you see below. It appeared in last Thursday’s Daily Post. A strange piece in a number of ways; not least because the more I read it the less sure I was of what it was trying to say.
To begin with, the article tells us that the land in question ‘lies south of Conwy’. Which indeed it does; but the same could be said of Cape Town. Actually, it’s quite a way from Conwy, but just a few miles east of Blaenau Ffestiniog. So why use Conwy as a reference point?
The proximity to Blaenau is evidenced by the fact that the land we’ll be looking at contains a few old slate quarry workings. Which gave the writer the excuse to tell us that back in the industry’s heyday, ‘Wales was known as “the place that roofed the world”‘. ‘The place’!
Then, there’s the ownership. The opening paragraph talks of the land ‘being brought into the care of National Trust Cymru’. Does that mean the NT has bought the land? Is it merely looking after the land?
Finally, another possible cause of confusion are the references to ‘Y Foel’. The area we’re looking for is actually, and variously, called, ‘Foel Marchyrau’, ‘Foel Marcherau’, or even – according to the Land Registry – ‘Moel Marchyria’. Whatever you choose to call it, this area lies not far from the hamlet of Cwm Penmachno.
So who wrote the piece?
Well, it wasn’t anyone at the Daily Post. The article came from the National Trust’s website. Here’s the link. It’s a sad indictment of our media when a full-page news story turns out to be a copy and paste job.
THE TREASURY TAKETH AWAY AND THE TREASURY GIVETH
I suppose my interest was piqued when I read, in paragraph 5: ‘It is estimated that the site could lock up over 350,000 tonnes of carbon once restored, the equivalent of taking almost 80,000 cars off the road for a year’.
This mention of the ‘Ysbyty Estate‘ reminds us that the National Trust is a major landowner in Wales. This sizeable chunk of our country was passed to the Trust in 1951 by the Treasury, which had received it in lieu of death duties.
(What a metaphor for Wales’ relationship with England.)
In the hope of getting a clearer picture of what is planned for these 1,600 acres I e-mailed the National Trust and Natural Resources Wales. Both were helpful.
From the National Trust I learnt that it will be working with Natural Resources Wales, the RSPB, the Snowdonia National Park, locals and busybody retirees, to ‘restore’ Y Foel to a more eco-friendly habitat.
But this will not be done at the expense of farming. For we read in the piece we started with that the land ‘will continue to be grazed by sheep and cattle’.
In its response, Natural Resources Wales wrote:
‘We are committed to carrying on the good work and are in regular discussions with National Trust regarding . . . the Cwm Penmachno area. These opportunities have been enhanced now Natural (sic) Trust have purchased y Foel which surrounds a forest block we manage on behalf of Welsh Government.’
So from Natural Resources Wales we learn that the National Trust has bought Y Foel. And the NT then confirmed it with: ‘The Trust has acquired farmland called Foel from the late Miss O.M. Williams, Freehold.’
Later, in the same message, the NT employee wrote: ‘We will also reduce sheep numbers significantly which will allow trees to regenerate naturally across the ffridd and mountain’.
But wait! The piece in the Daily Post said the land, ‘will continue to be grazed by sheep and cattle’, there was no mention of numbers being ‘significantly’ reduced.
To understand the background to, or the justification for, what’s being done in the Cwm Penmachno area, this video below might help.
In a nutshell, drainage ditches cut into peat deposits have lessened the amount of rainwater the peat can retain. With the problem exacerbated by embankments built by farmers to protect their land and livestock from flooding.
These combine to interfere with natural flooding and send more water down Afon Conwy to afflict communities like Llanrwst.
There can be little argument with saving Llanrwst and other communities from flooding.
But when terms like ‘climate change’ and ‘climate crisis’ are introduced, and used in conjunction with the promise of less grazing, and this comes with talk of carbon capture, then I think we need to be alert.
The report in the Shropshire Star – a daily newspaper that circulates widely in central Wales (though of course the jobs and the money stay in Shrewsbury) – certainly gave prominence to the climate change / carbon capture aspects of the story.
Though to judge by the photographs used by the Star they were more confused than me as to the location of ‘Y Foel’. But take my word for it, boys and girls – it definitely doesn’t overlook the Dyfi estuary.
One more thing, Shropshire Star; the highest mountain in Belgium and Wales is not called ‘Mount Snowdon’. Ever.
Let’s go back to the ownership of Y Foel. It seems the National Trust bought the property following the death of Miss Olwen Mai Williams in April, 2018. Described in her obituary as the last of the Foel Marcherau family.
Though according to the Land Registry Miss Williams is still the owner of two tiles bearing that name.
The first is for, ‘Foel Machyrau’. Scroll down to the plan and you’ll see that this title appears to cover the farmhouse, outbuildings and land nearby. The neighbour to the north east is Carrog, mentioned in Image 2, and belonging to the National Trust.
The second Foel title is for, ‘Land lying to the south of Foel Marcherau’. Comparing the OS map on the left with the Land Registry plan on the right, you’ll see that it makes an obvious extension to the existing woodland managed by Natural Resources Wales.
But then I uncovered a third Land Registry title for ‘Land at Foel Marcherau’. (Unfortunately there’s no plan available.) I have redacted the owners’ names, but both are Williams; one lives in Carmarthenshire, the other in the West Midlands.
Putting it all together the cynic in me thinks, ‘Well, if flooding in Llanrwst is caused by peat loss and levees upstream, then dealing with those issues will solve the problem?’
The fact that so much more is planned leads to me to suspect that this extra work, additional to peat restoration and embankment removal, serves a wider agenda.
I mean, is re-forestation an activity we normally associate with the National Trust? Then, there’s the close co-operation between Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust. Almost a partnership.
Among other things, Natural Resources Wales looks after the public forestry estate, and is (nominally, at least) answerable to the ‘Welsh Government’. Yet Corruption Bay has no control at all over the National Trust.
The article I’ve linked to says that farmers and commoners are being consulted all the way, but local sources say they’re being ignored, as ‘Welsh Government’ pushes through its carbon capture plans at the expense of another Welsh community.
No matter how it’s portrayed, what we see at Cwm Penmachno, Abergwesyn and elsewhere seems to be the National Trust muscling in on the carbon capture racket.
I have never been happy with the National Trust owning so much of Wales. It’s currently 50,000 hectares, with the size of the NT estate growing year on year.
Yet there’s nothing Welsh about the Trust. Adding ‘Cymru’ can’t hide how alien it is, and how Wales is viewed as little more than a region . . . of England, presumably. It’s just window dressing. Done to please the easily pleased.
There is only the National Trust, with income of £508,000,000 a year. Its remit: ‘To look after places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the benefit of the nation across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.’
Just a few miles to the north of Cwm Penmachno is Tŷ Mawr, Wybrnant, home to Bishop William Morgan, who, in the late sixteenth century, translated the Bible into Welsh.
It would be difficult to over-estimate how important his work was to standardising and safeguarding the Welsh language. To proving that the Welsh language was no crude patois. And to confirming our status as a nation.
But Tŷ Mawr is owned by the National Trust. The same National Trust that believes we are not a nation. Let’s be honest here – the National Trust in Wales is just fleece jacket colonialism.
The English National Trust should have been replaced with a Welsh body soon after we entered the era of devolution. But devolution has been a disappointment in so many ways. Especially for us Welsh.
THE ONLY WAY FOWARD
Let’s consider the options available to Welsh voters. Then you’ll understandable why the National Trust and other ineffably English organisations can so easily exploit Wales.
Unionists, especially those of the Right, will never object to England owning Wales; be it on an individual level, a corporate level, or of course, the national level.
Their commitment to Wales is entirely superficial. And conditional upon Wales being part of the Union. A Union that benefits only England.
On the Left, both Unionists and those claiming to want independence, reject the working class – the greater part of the nation – in order to impose ‘diversity’, support a parasitic third sector, and cheer a ‘Welsh Government’ throwing money at Stonewall.
These are now wedded to passing fancies that demand they engage in combat with ‘fascists’, ‘racists’, ‘climate deniers’, ‘transphobes’, ‘terfs’, and other figments of their easily-manipulated imaginations.
Yet this bizarre alliance, supporters of colonialism on the one hand and wokie clowns on the other, fight over ‘Welsh Government’ policy. To the detriment of the Welsh people.
Yes, don’t worry, I am winding down, and eventually retiring, but I’m bringing out this ‘special’ for two reasons.
First, because the picture it paints of Carmarthenshire County Council – and, to a lesser degree, Dyfed Powys Police – is rather worrying. I feel this merits a wider audience so as to serve as a warning to us all.
Second, we are dealing with trees, and unscrupulous companies and individuals that trade in woodland. In 2022 we shall be hearing a lot more about trees, and also about unscrupulous companies and individuals.
This is another ‘biggie’, 3000+ words; but broken down into easily-digestible and nourishing chunks. Yes, nourishing. Enjoy!
If this sounds familiar, then it’s because I’ve mentioned these people before in, for example, One Planet Developments, getting devious, in July 2020. Now more information has come my way, which prompts this article.
A substantial structure for the ‘Storage of forestry extraction equipment / Tractor shed & maintenance bay for aforementioned equipment’. Who could refuse such a request – for he might have already bought his check shirts!
To their credit, the council responded to this enquiry by informing him that a full planning application would be required. To wit: ‘Its (the proposed building’s) use for the storage and maintenance of forestry extraction equipment isn’t reasonably necessary for the purposes of managing the woodland based upon the small scale tree felling and timber extraction proposed.’
As far as I can see, no planning application resulted. Why ever not?
Maybe he realised he’d been rumbled; as this letter of objection suggests.
Let’s be quite blunt here. Woodland Investment Management Ltd is an unscrupulous operator. It buys woodlands, asks for planning permission for roads, ostensibly for forestry work, yet in reality the roads are needed to make the property more accessible and saleable in smaller plots.
Alternatively, WIM just sells off unimproved woodland knowing the new owner will carve it up and flog it off in smaller chunks.
First the timber is harvested and then the parcels sold as off-grid retreats or holiday homes. Not the glorified allotments described on the WIM website. Think how difficult it would be looking after an allotment 300 miles away!
This is what the same company has done with other woodland in this locality, I’m referring now to Plas Estate Woodlands. (The ‘Plas’ referred to is Coomb Mansion, once used as a Cheshire Home.)
The title document tells us that Woodland Investment Management paid £385,000 for this land in 2006, which this report from last April suggests is now in three parts, Allt y Hendre, Allt y Coomb and Allt Tre-hyrn. These lie to the east of Allt y Gelli, and can be seen in the image on the left in the panel above.
On page 3, the title document helpfully lists the owners of plots already sold off.
While Carmarthenshire County Council is to be commended for rejecting the enquiry about a palatial tractor shed, the question remains – what will the council do if this person – and others – just go ahead and build without planning consent?
Moving back to Llangynog, locals are also concerned about land that is or was owned by Mark Oriel, who appeared on this blog in June 2020, in One Planet Developments. Oriel got a mention back then because he’d applied for retrospective planning permission for an OPD at Pentowyn farm, just across the estuary from Laugharne.
As far as I can see this Pentowyn application – No: W/40691 – has stalled, for nothing has been added to the documents available on the council’s website since revised drawings appeared on April 30, 2021.
Which might explain Oriel turning his attention to land he owns / owned at Llangynog. Land he certainly bought for £25,000 in 2007 from – who else! – Woodland Investment Management Ltd.
No doubt this woman will claim sound ecological credentials for her activities, with her vegetables fed only the finest yak manure (flown in daily from Mongolia) . . . yet to make way for this horticultural extravaganza many of the mature trees you see in the image above have been felled.
But wait! Isn’t the ‘Welsh Government’ paying for trees to be planted? Well, yes indeedy . . . but only if they’re planted by global corporations and hedge funds as carbon capture scams that allow them to carry merrily on, emitting . . . carbon.
And of course the Labour Party and its little Plaid Cymru helpers don’t mind at all if this ‘Look-at-virtuous-little-Wales!’ posturing removes farmers from the land and destroys Welsh communities.
And let’s not forget the wind turbines. Natural Resources Wales has admitted to felling some two million trees to make way for the concrete and hardcore these useless monstrosities need. How many more trees have been felled by private forestry owners?
But on the plus side, covering Welsh hills with concrete to increase the run-off of rain is of great benefit to the parched valleys and dry river beds below. The former Pontypridd desert is blooming again!
This policy of ‘plant-a-tree-chop-down-a-tree might make sense to somebody. But it strikes me as confused and inherently contradictory virtue signalling.
Alternatively: Purest bullshit.
Locals fear that Mark Oriel’s land is destined to become a collection of shit-in-the-stream dwellings. Though nothing resembling a planning application, or even a pre-application enquiry, has found its way to County Hall.
Yet these recent images show a site being cleared of trees, and roadways being laid. I’m told these roadways go off on ‘spurs’ that just come to a dead end. Which makes perfect sense if each spur will lead to a chalet or a mobile home.
The evidence suggests that Mark Oriel, or perhaps the person to whom he’s sold the land, is sub-dividing it with a view to selling it off in plots.
Maybe Mark Oriel will contact me (as he’s done before) with answers to these questions:
1/ Do you still own this land?
2/ If so, what are your plans for it?
3/ If you’ve sold it, who did you sell it to?
Questions worth asking because clearing woodland, laying trackways, then selling off plots to those wanting to live on those plots in chalets, sheds, tepees, and trailer homes, is happening all over the ‘triangle’. And has been for some time.
In one notorious case, near to the settlement of Llangynog, there was an example that at one time had as many as twenty structures on it used either as permanent or seasonal dwellings.
(And when I say ‘seasonal dwellings’, I am not referring to clans of hunter gatherers. These were holiday homes.)
UPDATE: Feedback suggests that Mark Oriel has indeed sold the land. It is rumoured that the lady originally interested has ‘passed it on to friends’. Which makes things very opaque. And worrying.
‘WHAT’S MINE IS MINE . . . AND WHAT’S YOURS IS ALSO MINE’
This chapter begins with another purchase from Woodland Investment Management.
But it went much further. The purchaser was not satisfied with what he’d bought in 2007 and soon took over land belonging to a woman who had recently been widowed. When she complained she was threatened with physical violence.
The poor woman went to Dyfed Powys Police who decided they could do nothing because, I’m told, they chose to view it as a civil case of Adverse Possession rather than the criminal offence of Aggravated Possession.
After repeated threats against her the widow became too afraid to take civil action.
Bizarrely, she was also threatened by the council, perhaps because they believed she was responsible for the chalets and other unauthorised dwellings on the land that had been stolen from her!
The villain responsible appears not to have registered his ownership with the Land Registry, or else had someone else pose as the owner. (Something we’ve seen at Bryn Llys and elsewhere.)
This wasn’t the first time he’d taken over someone else’s land. A source tells he’d also been, ‘Active in the Mumbles area. I spoke to a farmer who told me —– had taken over some of his farmland claiming adverse possession. The farmer got him off eventually, but described —– as a vicious bully who would use intimidation and the threat of force (guns mentioned) should anyone cross him.’
This man we’re discussing hailed from Pontarddulais. He died in 2019.
I’ve chosen not to name him partly because he is recently deceased and therefore unable to answer for himself. Also, because with a common Welsh name it’s difficult to track him down. A problem compounded by the fact that he was a man who seemed to have disliked paperwork and official records. His dealings were often cash in hand and word of mouth.
But the physical and anecdotal evidence is there in abundance. As you can see in the previous image, and the one below.
From 2007 until April 2021 Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) received many, many complaints, from individuals, the community council, and county councillors, about Coedfryn wood, but did nothing.
Well, to be fair, enforcement notices were issued . . . but, er, never enforced.
Hopes were raised in April 2021 when the community was informed by CCC that money had been set aside and enforcement would be implemented. So the people of Llangynog waited, and waited . . . and waited.
Again, nothing happened.
Then, in September, in a complete about turn, the council decided to effectively write off outstanding enforcement orders. Read the relevant document.
Having failed to discharge its responsibilities to the law-abiding, council tax-paying citizens of Llangynog and other communities Carmarthenshire County Council was now trying to absolve its guilt by wiping the slate clean and handing victory to thieves, thugs, squatters, drug dealers and God knows who else.
What a testament to local government in Wales!
When the people of Llangynog were eventually informed of this decision they were told it was ‘not in the public interest’ to pursue these historic enforcement notices. How is the ‘public interest’ being served by this decision? Who are ‘the public’?
There now seem to be new owners. One chancer swaggering about trying (and failing) to impress people is Steve Ryan of Weston-Super-Mare. He’s another who seems to own nothing in his own name.
Though there is certainly land there owned by a resident of Weston-Super-Mare, but she’s named Cecilia Polisario O’Callaghan. In fact, she appears to own the trackway running to the settlement of chalets and other constructions. Here’s the title document.
But if Ryan owns this land why isn’t it in his name? Come to that, why doesn’t his name appear on any other documents? Because he claims to own everything. Does he need to hide his assets?
Though as I say, he seems to be telling the truth about living in Weston-Super-Mare, apparently with a woman who also has an Hispanic-sounding name.
What I find intriguing though is that Ryan claims to have interests in Mumbles.
The address given to the Land Registry when the land was bought or transferred to him in 2010 was c/o a council-owned property in Loughor. For the past 7 or 8 years he’s lived in the city centre, alone, in a house owned by a woman who appears to be a social worker or a carer of some kind.
When we turn to Coedfryn Wood itself it’s almost impossible to know who owns what. At least, with Woodland Investment Management – as we saw at Plas Estate Woodlands – we can see the buyers of the individual plots, and get the Land Registry title numbers.
But when WIM sells to unscrupulous individuals, who have an aversion to official records, who then sell or lease individual plots, for cash, it becomes very difficult to establish ownership.
The appalling lack of professionalism in the county’s planning department was eventually observed by others.
Though the problem with wiping the slate clean is that of course the problems remain unsolved. So I’ll address Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department directly.
You and / or your predecessors have made the department a laughing-stock. The unscrupulous know they can do anything anywhere, and, then, if you are stirred into action, your enforcement notices can be ignored because you won’t follow them up.
All the while communities like Llangynog are betrayed. Their people robbed and threatened while you hide in County Hall.
Here’s my suggestion.
You have the information you need from the community council and your own records. So work it out with the police and one fine day descend on the Llangynog area and make it clear to all malefactors that unauthorised work is to cease, with chalets and other structures without planning permission to be removed. Then remedial work is to be undertaken.
Fail to do this and you’ll end up in the same mess as your predecessors. Do it and not only will you be serving those who pay your salaries, but you will send out a message that will save the council a lot of work in future, and the county’s communities a lot of misery.
WALTER MITTY GETS IN ON THE RENEWABLES SCAM
As we’ve seen, the drive to be environmentally friendly, encouraging people to live a simpler life, and in other ways save the planet, obviously attracts crooks and con men because there’s easy money to be made.
We’re moving a little further east now, but staying in the county of Carmarthenshire, to not far from the great metropolis of Llanelli.
Those of you familiar with the A484 as it runs north from Pembrey to Kidwelly will know that it crosses low-lying, marshy terrain. Part of it known as Kidwelly Flats.
So you might be surprised to learn that someone wants build a solar farm there. Opposite Pembrey International Airport.
The report I’ve linked to tells that the festival was organised through the Field Admiral’s company Wicked Wang Promotions Ltd. That company must have folded, but a new company with the same name was launched in January 2017. With ‘Edwin’ serving as secretary and ‘Edwyn’ as director.
The thing about this company is that the latest available accounts claim it has assets of £137,526. Yet in October 2020 Sir Arthur Edwyn Turner VC applied to strike the company off. Had creditors caught up with him?
In December 2020 there was certainly an objection to the striking off, and the company is now in a state of limbo, with accounts a year overdue. I wonder where the money is?
But the Field Admiral is still making money from the site because I’m told the ‘Welsh Government’ has given him a grant to look after some trees. Which, to judge by the pictures I’ve been sent, he is not doing very well.
And whaddya know – a shipping container has appeared, just as in Llangynog. I wonder what that will be used for?
It should go without saying that Field Admiral of the RAF Lord Sir Arthur Edwyn Turner-Thomas VC, Croix de Guerre, Congressional Medal of Honour, Iron Cross (First Class), Woodcraft Badge, was once a Plaid Cymru candidate. And is probably still a member.
But who’s going to notice one more nutter among the Bangor ‘No Debating!’ Society, the Splott Terfhunters Alliance (pile-on training every Tues & Fri), and the Knit Your Own Antifa Balaclava Collective?
UPDATE 12.01.2022: I’ve received more photographs. I’m still intrigued by that storage container. The trees are obviously thriving under the Grand Vizier’s stewardship. I’m assured that that is an eco-friendly tyre dump. And look at the little rocking-horse. Ahh!
Politicians in Wales, especially on the left, have been suckered by those who’ve hijacked an environmental crusade for personal gain. Which is why we have rural slums springing up everywhere, burning wood, polluting watercourses, and paying nothing towards the services they have no intention of abandoning.
And it can only get worse.
For the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ wants to throw money at global corporations and hedge funds, to encourage them to buy up Welsh land, to destroy rural communities, in order to claim that they are offsetting their carbon emissions.
Add this to the problems of holiday homes, Airbnb, etc . . .
As with wind turbines, there will be no jobs, no investment in Wales, just more ‘climate colonialism’. Though Wales can not really be classed among the ‘developing countries’. No, under authoritarian crony socialism we’re going backwards.
Though we’d win an Olympic gold if the IOC introduced Gesture Politics as an event.
It’s only a matter of time before some lying bastard turns up in Corruption Bay with a bag of magic beans. He’ll claim they grow into trees with wind turbines instead of branches; and instead of leaves, the branches will sprout little solar panels. Ahhh!
My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.
I hadn’t planned on writing this but, you know how it is . . . somebody puts you on to something, you start making enquiries, and before you know it you’re muttering, ‘devious bastards’, and the PC is working overtime.
This post might also be useful as a guide for anyone wanting to use the online register available at Companies House.
Let’s start with a report from WalesOnline last Wednesday. The headline quotes a local councillor comparing a planned solar farm at Bryn-y-rhyd farm, Llanedi, to the drowning of Capel Celyn. I’m partial to a bit of hyperbole myself, but I think Gareth Thomas went over the top.
Though the quality of the report itself was dire, so maybe it needed a bit of spicing up. Here’s how the third paragraph began:
'The Tryweryn Valley in Wales, which included the village of Capel Celyn, was flooded in 1965 to create a new reservoir'.
You won’t need to wonder any more where the ‘Tryweryn Valley’ was – it was in Wales!
Although this proposed project was being discussed by Carmarthenshire councillors the matter is out of their hands because, with a claimed output above 10MW it qualifies as a Development of National Significance. Which means the decision will be made by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’, using its new in-house Planning Inspectorate.
A project such as Bryn-y-rhyd would almost certainly be rejected in England, and this helps explain why Wales carries a disproportionate burden when it comes to so-called ‘renewable energy’ projects.
In an attempt to polish this turd the ‘Welsh Government’ has enthusiastically welcomed this colonialist coercion – by dressing it up as ‘Wales saving the planet’.
For in it, the creepy-crawlies of Corruption Bay saw opportunities and openings.
And so we end up with the insane situation of solar farms being located in southern Wales rather than southern England where, not only would they enjoy more sunshine, but they’d be nearer customers, thereby losing less in transmission.
The report I’ve linked to would also have us believe that the planning application for this development came from the Pegasus Group. Well, yes, and no, as I’ll explain.
Before moving on, here’s another attempt to mislead:
'The planning committee set out specific issues it wanted addressed. These included a detailed and robust decommissioning plan for the solar farm once its 40-year lifespan drew to an end'.
There’s not a hope in hell of this solar farm lasting 40 years in our climate. But whenever it pegs out, those behind it will be long gone. The firm(s) involved will either have gone bust or moved offshore.
The only way to ensure that there’s money at the end to clear up the mess is to get that money paid up front.
FOLLOW THE MONEY
When I start on a job like this, among the first things I do is go to the Land Registry website and see who owns the property. Which I did, and I was quite surprised at what I turned up.
The title document tells us there are two owners. One is Sir John Michael Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn. (Or Venables-Llywelyn.) The other is David Richard Mount.
The Dillwyn-Llewelyn clan of nearby Swansea were 19th century industrialists, MPs, and even pioneer photographers.
As for David Richard Mount of Camberley, Surrey, I have no idea who he is.
Let’s return to Pegasus, mentioned in the WalesOnline report I linked to earlier. Those of you with the benefit of a classical education will know that Pegasus is the winged horse of Greek mythology.
Though we are looking for something more prosaic, and this is it – the Pegasus Planning Group. Their job is to knock planning applications into shape. They front for developers. We can now dismiss Pegasus.
We need to focus on Brynrhyd Solar Farm Ltd. Which is mentioned later on in the title document. Where we see that the owners have leased land to the company.
This is a new company, formed as recently as October 2019. That said, some of the directors have a lot of experience in grant / subsidy grabbing renewables.
For example, Ian Lawrie has been a director of 60 solar companies since 2007. The total is 58 for his compatriot Colm Killeen. Yet two other directors, Anouska Morjaria and Toby Virno, didn’t get in on the solar racket until last year.
The next question must be, who owns Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd. By going through the same procedure as before we turn up two names. One is Denis John O’Brien of Bermuda, the richest living Irishman. The second, and the majority shareholder, is Foresight UK Solar Development Holdco Ltd.
So . . . who owns Foresight UK Solar Development Holdco Ltd?
And the answer to that is Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd, for which you’ll see the correspondence address is c/o Foresight Group LLP, The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, England, SE1 9SG.
Here’s a wee graphic I knocked up to help you remember.
But why would anyone need such an extended chain of companies?
WHEN DO ‘CONNECTIONS’ BECOME CORRUPTION?
Last month I wrote about Bute Energy, another arriviste outfit hoping to make a pile out of pretending to be concerned about the environment. In the case of Bute, it’s 16 new wind farms in Wales. Yes, sixteen. Here’s the piece I wrote.
There is no way that any company from outside of Wales would be that ambitious unless it had insider knowledge or it had got the nod from politicians and / or planners.
Bute has gone for the ‘belt and braces’ approach.
First, by recruiting Corruption Bay insider David Taylor. Who has served as Spad to a number of high-profile Labour politicians. Bute has given him shares and allowed him to set up his own Moblake companies through which they fund him, and from which he appears to be paying himself some £200,000 a year.
They have also taken under the Bute wing former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan CBE. (These Welsh socialists do love their English ‘honours’!) Vaughan sits as chairman on Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board.
But it gets worse.
Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, in her Register of Interests, says that her partner, John Uden, also sits on this Board. Uden is an almost complete stranger to Wales and knows sod all about renewables. But this is a great example of what Labour Party influence can achieve in Wales.
Even though Rathbone declares this, the entry is still incorrect because Bute Energy’s projected wind farms are not confined to ‘Powys, RCT and North Wales’.
‘North Wales’! What a dismissive attitude from a woman who has done well out of our country. First, in the third sector, and more recently, the Assembly / Senedd.
And I suggest her Register of Interests also needs to be updated because I’m fairly sure that planning applications have now been submitted for one or two Bute projects.
But isn’t Labour doing well out of Bute Energy! David ‘Aneurin Glyndŵr‘ Taylor is pulling down some £200,000 a year. Derek Vaughan chairs Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board. And Labour MS Jenny Rathbone’s partner also sits on the Board!
Any other Labour snouts in the trough?
Perhaps the bigger worry is that Rathbone sits on the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. Which means that the committee on which she sits makes decisions that benefit Bute Energy, and her partner.
And herself. For Jenny Rathbone has many shareholdings in Green energy companies, and environmental outfits. Did she buy these shares? Were they gifted to her? Did she find them in her Christmas crackers?
Rathbone may not be adjudicating on individual planning applications from Bute Energy or the companies in which she has shares, but her influence is more extensive, in that her committee directs policy from which all companies involved in the renewables business benefit.
Jenny Rathbone must be removed from the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
This kind of thing might be acceptable in Corruption Bay, but out in the real world it smells of corruption.
As we saw in the previous section, the Foresight Group figures big in the chain behind Brynrhyd Solar Farm. And if the name sounds familiar then that’s because the Foresight Group is also buying up Welsh farms on which to plant trees, so as to profit from the carbon capture scam.
And to get a broader picture, to realise how other countries are being affected, particularly Scotland, I recommend this piece by Laurie Macfarlane. Where the whole carbon capture / net zero racket is succinctly explained.
'In order to meet net-zero targets, two different levers can be pulled: emissions can be reduced directly or they can be "offset" with measures to remove carbon from the air at some point in the future. Unsurprisingly, many governments and businesses view the latter as the more appealing option, as it avoids the difficult task of curbing emissions, which underpins the profitability of many of the world's largest industries.'
As yet, I am not aware of the Foresight Group recruiting Labour ‘fixers’ to smooth the path for their developments. But if they haven’t done so yet, then I’m sure they will.
And Foresight won’t just be operating under its own banner. There’s also Blackmead Forestry Ltd. For here again, we see massive share issues in the past 18 months in readiness for fresh acquisitions and ‘investments’.
A share issue that increased from £20,000,100 in June 2020 to £79,103,712 a year later.
For £619,254 TCC bought land close to the Brecon Beacons National Park. It has been assisted in this project by Natural Resources Wales.
There are many other alien groups like The Carbon Community. Funded and in other ways helped by the ‘Welsh Government’ and its agencies to take over Welsh land.
There comes a point when some followers of a political creed or philosophy are willing to do the wrong thing for what they believe to be a just cause. Often accompanied by something approaching religious fervour.
For example, murdering the Romanov children was a terrible act, but ‘justified’ as a necessary step in the progress of a Revolution that would bring universal benefits.
You can phrase it any way you like. ‘The end justifies the means’. ‘Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’. ‘There will inevitably be collateral damage’. Etc., etc.
An important point being that, just like a Mafia hit, there was nothing personal in it. No motivating antipathy or underlying vindictiveness. In contrast to the ‘Welsh Government’s dealings with farmers.
For some years farmers have been villainised by environmental zealots like George Monbiot as frightful people who must be removed if the rest of us are to breathe free . . . or to breathe at all!
The ‘Welsh Government’ of Jenny Rathbone, Lee Waters, Julie James, Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), sing from the Monbiot hymn sheet in their efforts to persuade us that Wales would be a better place without farmers.
This then explains farmers being robbed of EU funding, the fantasy of OPDs, Future Generations gobbledegook, and the ‘Welsh Government’ encouraging rewilding land grabs like Summit to Sea.
All this has been made possible because what passes for the media in Wales is either supine or useless. Increasingly made up of semi-literate English graduates from ‘our’ universities writing about a country of which they know nothing.
As for political opposition, where is it to come from? The Conservatives will never object to the anglicising of Wales and profits for their friends in the City. The Greens support the strategy wholeheartedly. The Lib Dems are dead and buried.
Despite being a party with its support concentrated among socially conservative rural voters, the tail wags the dog in that the party is controlled by urban leftists, and will support the ‘Welsh Government’ all the way in virtue signalling their way to national bankruptcy.
Let’s now consider the ‘collateral damage’ I just hinted at.
AGENDAS: STATED AND UNSTATED(?)
What we see in Wales today is being done ostensibly in the service of the environment, and the ‘Green economy’, but it takes us into very dangerous territory.
For none of the wind turbine or solar panel parts are made in Wales. The companies that own these installations are all outside of Wales. As are the companies currently buying up farmland on which to plant trees, or leasing land for solar farms.
Earlier we met Sir John Michael Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn, owner of Bryn-y-rhyd farm. Yes, Sir John’s ancestors grew rich on the industrial growth of Swansea – but they also created thousands of jobs for people like my ancestors.
How many jobs has the Green economy created in Wales, for Welsh people? Where are the benefits to Wales? (Apart from Labour insiders lining their pockets of course!)
Unreliable ‘renewables’ are achieving nothing . . . well, other than making rich men even richer, through burdening those already struggling with higher electricity bills.
Yes, comrade – welcome to 21st century ‘socialism’. My arse!
Given that Wales sees no benefits, plus the fact that Wales can make no impact, paying foreign ‘investors’ to exploit our homeland and displace our people, suggests that ‘saving the planet’ is an ever-shrinking fig leaf for an older, and darker, agenda.
My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.
This week’s offering is a bit different, but it’s a format with which regulars will be familiar. I’m going to cover a few topics and I’m sure everyone will find something to pique their interest.
It’s a biggie, but broken up into easily digestible – and nutritious! – chunks.
AFAN VALLEY ADVENTURE RESORT
Following last week’s blog piece devoted to the relaunched AVAR project the ‘Welsh’ media played its usual role by allowing those I’d written about to respond. And just like a Taliban press conference, no questions were asked.
The piece below appeared in Llais y Sais on Wednesday. It’s worth a few comments.
According to the article, the project’s funding is coming from ‘Octopus Real Estate’. Oh no it’s not. For this is a one-woman company formed in April to buy a property in Wiltshire.
But which one? And, again, what is the ultimate source of the money?
The Beans on Toast followed up on the same day with this. Also authored by Richard Youle.
In it we read head honcho Martin Bellamy quoted as saying: “I would be very interested in ensuring that local people get the opportunity for employment.”
Which is a very convoluted statement. What the hell is, ‘I would be very interested‘ supposed to mean? Because I would be ‘very interested’ in winning the Lottery. But it ain’t gonna happen.
Then there’s, ‘ensuring that local people get the opportunity for employment’. So does that mean they’ll be allowed to complete an application form – which will then be binned?
Why couldn’t he just say, in a clear and unambiguous way, ‘We shall give locals priority when it comes to recruitment’?
It would be nice to think that local Labour councillors will press Bellamy on this, demand a firm commitment to employing as many locals as possible, and not just in the low-pay jobs. But there’s more chance of me winning the Lottery.
But these plugs for AVAR throw up other questions.
In the Neath Port Talbot Borough Council press release of October 12 we read that the project is now called Wildfox Resort Afan Valley. And there are two Wildfox companies.
'Malcolm Copson who lists previous projects including Dubai's Atlantis the Palm resort and the delivery of Disneyland Paris, is behind the plans in SA1.Mr Copson, who founded and co-runs Hong Kong based company MOI Imagineering, has been advising the tidal lagoon taskforce set up by the Swansea Bay City Region'.
But now, in the past few days, everything seems to have changed as we turn to chapter 3, and new characters, with the £1.7bn Blue Eden project. Said to have one great advantage over its predecessors in that it will not require public funding.
And while what passes for the Welsh media has stressed the involvement of DST Innovations Ltd of Bridgend, RE News makes clear that DST leads ‘an international consortium’. Though quite what ‘leads’ means is unclear.
The new project is explained in this ITV report with a video interview with Tony Miles, the man said to be behind the project. If I sound unconvinced it’s because of the US connection and events last year in West Virginia.
It’s worth mentioning that this project includes a battery factory promising jobs for over 1,000 people. Which lives up to the company’s name in that it uses locally available anthracite coal rather than imported, and expensive, rare earth metals. Explained here.
So what can Companies House tell us about DST Innovations. Well, for a start, it’s based in Bridgend and it was Incorporated in November, 2011.
The latest accounts (to November 30, 2020) show Assets of over £5m, of which only £113,076 is Tangible assets. The remainder being accounted for with shares.
Looking at the distribution of those shares we see that lead director Tony Miles has 183,100, but his holding is dwarfed by the 750,000 of Etive Investments, and the 619,413 of RC3 Inc. So who are these major shareholders in the new Swansea Bay project?
Whatever the company’s status, RC3 of Baton Rouge is definitely more promising due to the presence of a William Wray as president. (Though the RC3 parent company, may be in Delaware.)
Since April last year four long-time directors have left DST Innovations and one new director has joined. The new boy is William Wray III, a US citizen. I think it’s reasonable to assume that William Wray of RC3 is William Wray III.
And is his possibly struck-off company a major shareholder?
Another major US shareholder is Blue Rock Manufacturing LLC, with which DST Innovation entered into a partnership last year in West Virginia. This also seems to be a battery plant using coal.
“The new development is at the forefront of green technology,” Gov. Jim Justice said during a virtual press conference, “using existing organic materials, such as coal, and creating new clean energy storage solutions.”
What struck me about this piece from the Governor’s office last November was mention of the Swansea Bay plant, before most of us here knew about it. Council leader Rob Stewart is even shown in a video call with the WV Governor.
It seems obvious that Swansea council has been involved with DST for at least a year before any public announcement of the new project.
How is this West Virginia battery project progressing? Does anyone know?
As a Jack, I would love to see this venture succeed and create a few thousand jobs in the old home town. But given the two false starts I’m not hanging out the bunting yet.
And I still want to know more about some of those involved. I would expect our politicians and media to be equally inquisitive.
THE ‘SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR’
A regular reader was looking for an eatery in the Vale of Glamorgan and remembered Fredwell, a new place that opened in August, so he went online to check the menu. What he found surprised him.
For the website says the establishment has already received full marks on the food hygiene rating, which is impossible, as it takes a while for the process to be gone through. What was also odd was that the rating was shown in English only. (In Wales, of course, these notices are bilingual.)
The matter was reported to the Food Standards Agency Wales, who had no record of the place, and also to VoG council, who responded with: ‘Thank you for your email. We do not have a record of the business you mention so we will look to ensure that the relevant action is taken. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.’
Naturally, he got to wondering who runs the place.
The answer is that it’s Fredwell Cafe and Restaurant Ltd, Incorporated as recently as the first of this month. The directors are Christopher John Birch, Jak Rhys Bjornstrom, and Kieron Roy Phillips.
I’m going to dismiss Phillips and focus on the other two. For in recent years they’ve been involved with many, many companies. Often under the umbrella of the Birch Group.
(Takes deep breath . . . )
Haus-keeping Ltd. Incorporated April 13, 2019. Still bumbling along with accounts showing assets of a few hundred pounds.
So many companies in such a short space of time is not a good look, especially with so many of them folding without apparently doing anything.
But Christopher John Birch has other irons in the fire, for he’s also in the holiday home business. In fact, when Pembrokeshire County Council recently increased the council tax surcharge for holiday homes the BBC went to him for a quote.
He seems to be saying, ‘Well, yeah, holiday homes are bad for Welsh people, but on the plus side – they bring in people from England’. What planet is this guy from?
Incredibly, as I was writing this, I received an e-mail from another source, telling me that Birch is also making a nuisance of himself in Newport.
My fresh source wrote:
'Do you know of a bloke called Chris Birch? Chris J Birch - Birkenhaus Investments (birchgroup.org.uk)He was in the Mirror after he said he woke up gay when he did a handstand in a rugby match playing as a flanker.His agency has taken over the Boilermakers Club presumably on Dr ---------'s instructions and he stuck a site notice on it before Newport planners turned it down yet again. It is now one of many derelict monuments to Welsh Labour's shameful neglect of this area, which they seem to have completely abandoned to drugs and destitution.Birch is almost certainly getting Welsh government money and claims to have offices in The Shard and Paris.He basically manages properties with huge numbers on AirBnB.'
Here’s an image of the Boilermakers Club in Crindau from Google Street View.
In this report from WalesOnline in May we read that Birch claims to have conducted an opinion poll among local residents which conveniently found they favour his plans to convert the building into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
My source describes this claim as ‘baloney’. No survey was undertaken.
UPDATE 04.11.2021: Vale of Glamorgan council has replied to the complaint:
"I am emailing to update you following your concerns about Fredwell café, Cowbridge. A visit has been made to the premises and I can confirm that the café / restaurant is not yet open and is not trading. Therefore there is no requirement for them to register with our department until at least 28 days before they open. I have noted that on their website they are showing a food hygiene rating of 5 and have requested that this is removed, to which they have agreed."
HOUSES OF MULTIPLE OCCUPATION
A house of (or in) multiple occupation is, as the name suggests, a commercial or domestic property adapted to house a number of tenants in separate units, though perhaps sharing a kitchen and other facilities.
But a HMO can also be a property used by a private landlord, a housing association, or a third sector body, to house those recently released from prison, or perhaps drug and / or alcohol abusers.
A pattern we are familiar with in Wales. The worst example would be Rhyl, where criminals and undesirables from north west England are dumped. A problem now spreading to Colwyn Bay and other towns.
But it’s not confined to the north coast. I have reported on the problems of Tyisha in Llanelli. Again, the problems are largely imported. Then there’s the area from Dyfatty flats down to High Street station in Swansea.
It’s a national problem that could be far less of a problem if the ‘Welsh Government’ and local authorities were in possession of cojones.
Anyway, my source was kind enough to supply photos of notices Birch has recently put up on the old Boilermakers Club.
But this project throws up yet more questions about our ‘serial entrepreneur’.
There is no obvious connection between Birch and the family running Signature Realtors. Has he bought the property but not registered the change of ownership with the Land Registry? Is he acting for the owners? Or what?
Whatever the answer, I suspect that Birch’s plan for the building is to have a HMO housing people the neighbours would rather not have there. Why do I think this?
As you’ve read, Chris Birch recently formed a company with Altaf Hussain. Hussain has worked with a man who has the background and the connections to supply Birch and Bjornstrom with tenants.
That said, my source insists there’s not a hope in hell of Birch getting planning permission from Newport council for the increasingly dilapidated Boilermakers Club. So is he hoping for intervention from another quarter?
Locals are more concerned that the the building will left insecure and get broken into by delinquents who’ll turn it into a crack house.
Even away from the Boilermakers Club there is still plenty to give cause for concern. For I turned up a few other things that make me worry about Birch and Bjornstrom.
For a start, and until quite recently, Jak Rhys Bjornstrom was Jack Rhys Powell. Why the change? Oh, yes, and the name is normally spelt Björnström, Jack.
Then there’s the Birch Group website, which gives as the address, 1 Boulevard Victor, Paris 75015. Impressive. But don’t run away with the idea that this is some plush suite of offices. It’s a building run by the company FlexibleHub.
They probably forward any mail.
And then there’s the unfortunate business of the food hygiene rating . . .
There’s also the mystery of the money, or lack of it. Because I didn’t find any company with which Birch and Bjornstrom / Powell are involved that had any money. So, if they do have money, where is it?
Setting up new companies every week is one thing, being a genuine entrepreneur is something entirely different.
The kindest thing might be to say that in Birch and Bjornstrom / Powell we are dealing with a couple of fantasists. Whether they’re harmless or not is yet to be established.
GWYNEDD’S HOLIDAY HOMES PREMIUM RIP-OFF
Councillor Gruff Williams has been in touch with concerns about the ways in which the Council Tax Premium Fund (CTPF) on holiday homes is being used by Cyngor Gwynedd. The information he sent raises other issues.
Gruff represents the Nefyn ward on the Llŷn peninsula. Llŷn approximates with Dwyfor.
To help you understand the issue it might be best to think of Gwynedd and its total population of 121,874 people as being split into three parts.
Arfon, in the north, is focused on the largest Gwynedd settlements of Bangor and Caernarfon. The 2011 population was 60,573.
Dwyfor contains the settlements of Porthmadog, Pwllheli, and of course Abersoch. Population (2011) 27,725. Arfon and Dwyfor made up the old county of Caernarfonshire. (Which also included areas now in the County Borough of Conwy, such as the towns of Llanrwst, Conwy and Llandudno.)
And then there’s Meirionnydd, the former county of Merioneth(shire), containing Blaenau Ffestiniog, Barmouth, Tywyn, Harlech, and the old county town of Dolgellau. Population (2011) 33,576.
You’ll see that the population of Arfon is almost that of Dwyfor and Meirionnydd combined. And with that comes political clout.
The issue Gruff raises is that most of Gwynedd’s holiday homes are in Dwyfor. Naturally, locals in the area expected that the CTPF money raised would be used to help young people being forced out of their home areas by holiday home buyers, retirees, and others.
But no. For Gwynedd’s Plaid Cymru councillors have other ideas.
This article from the North Wales Chronicle gives a good report of the debate a few weeks back, when Plaid’s councillors thwarted Gruff’s attempt to benefit the areas suffering worst. (Though for some reason Gruff is referred to only as ‘Councillor Williams’, while his famous father, Owain, is named.)
There were some amazing contributions to the debate.
Councillor ‘Cai Larsen stated he had a “fundamental problem” with the issue of spending money only where it was raised’.
Where the money was raised is only part of the issue, Larsen; we also have to ask why it was raised.
‘Cllr Nia Jeffreys said that affordable housing was “an issue which knows no boundaries,”‘
Why is she talking about affordable housing when the issue is holiday homes?
‘Bangor councillor Richard Medwyn Jones added: “There are big issues here with over 2,000 on the city’s waiting list. If we stuck to this same principle I could put a motion forward that Bangor’s money stays in Bangor, but that’s what this is all about.”’
In 2019 Bangor had a population of 18,322, roughly half of them students. I’d like to know how many of the 2,000 on the waiting list have local connections.
When it comes to ‘Bangor’s money’ – by which Cllr Jones presumably means council tax raised – this is largely spent in Bangor. I’m sure the city council, and mayor Owen – Don’t Ask Me About My Genitals – Hurcum see to that.
All unconvincing excuses for Plaid Cymru-controlled Gwynedd council to put the holiday home surcharge money into the central pot and use it in other ways . . . mainly in Arfon.
Let’s look at 4c (page 25), which deals with ‘innovative housing’. All the funding for this, £1.2m, comes from the CTPF. I suppose ‘Innovative housing’ could mean OPDs.
On page 27 we see that £2.5m is coming from the CTPF for ‘Extra care housing for the elderly’. Now I’m not a heartless bugger who wants to see Nain living in a cardboard box, but this should have come from core funding, not from money raised to mitigate the problem of holiday homes.
And there are other examples where Cyngor Gwynedd makes a mockery of the whole reasoning behind the Council Tax Premium Fund.
Another worry is that much of the CTPF money is to be distributed to housing associations. Private companies now that refuse to give priority to locals in social housing allocations. And then build ‘affordable’ homes that locals can’t afford.
But Gruff’s concerns made me think of another problem. Which is that the number of holiday homes in Wales is almost certainly underestimated.
BEATING THE SYSTEM
I recall a source in Pembrokeshire contacting me just before the December 2019 UK general election to say that ‘hordes’ of second home owners had turned up to ensure that the constituency remained Conservative. (The ‘Corbyn factor’.) Clearly, they were registered to vote at their second home.
Then, during the Covid lockdown, when police were stopping cars travelling into Wales, using vehicle registrations to establish home addresses, it became clear that some people had their cars registered at their holiday homes.
Something else that came to light during the Covid lockdown was that others stopped by police were travelling to holiday homes they claimed as their main residence.
This scam normally operates by one of a couple registering at the home address, the other at the holiday home, and pretending that it’s a full-time residence. Not only does this avoid the second home surcharge it even gets a 25% council tax reduction for a single (adult) resident.
I contacted someone who is well-versed in such matters, and he tells me that the facts can be established by cross-referencing. He wrote:
'Databases that should contain the real permanent address:1/ Council Tax – Local authority.2/ Electoral register – Local authority3/ NI, income tax, benefits, married persons allowance – HMRC, central government 4/ Driving licence – DVLA, central government5/ GP – NHS, Welsh Government.It’s not possible to access the NHS record, 5, even for a police officer, without a court warrant, however, if 1 and 2 differs from 3 or 4 then the property is evading second home premium. You will only get cheaper car insurance if 4 matches 1, and students are the only residents where 2 and 3 can differ. Of course, not only are those that ------ ---------- has identified get a polling card, they would also be eligible for free prescriptions, and a bus pass at 60, even though they don’t really live permanently in Wales.3 and 4 is subject to a general data comparison sweep to identify car crime.'
My well-informed source then went on to suggest a simple measure for establishing the facts.
'The first method of detection is to place a FoI request to the council asking for the number of single person discount properties on the books, over the last five years, per ward. It will show up as a surge of such properties when the council tax premium is introduced or raised. This gives an indication of the scale of the problem and which wards are particularly affected. We all have local knowledge that this is the case, but it needs to be quantified. Prosecuting fraud works on evidence, not on anecdote.'
Therefore, I suggest that we all submit FoI requests to our local council asking a) for the number of single-person discounts on their books over recent years, and, b) whether the council checks that those claiming single-person discount are genuine.
I’m sure my countless socialist followers will appreciate the unfairness of prosecuting locals – usually women – when their boyfriend moves in, while some bugger with a new Range Rover parked outside Cartref Mon Repos gets away with the surcharge and pockets a 25% discount!
Regular readers will be familiar with this incredible story of a family of crooks named Duggan that bought a little farmhouse, Bryn Llys, not far from Caernarfon, knocked it down, built a monstrosity they called Snowdon Mountain View, broke all the planning rules, tore up hedges, chopped down trees, tried to intimidate neighbours, etc., etc.
If you’re up to it, you could start with Lucky Gwynedd – more ‘investors’, scroll down to the section ‘Castle’ Gwynfryn, and then the section Bryn Llys aka ‘Snowdon Summit View’. You can then work back from there.
The Duggans are fraudsters and con men from West Yorkshire. When the father got sent down the son took over the business and moved to Wales, bought Bryn Llys, and spent a lot of their money on the new property.
The problem was that they weren’t supposed to have any money, so all manner of subterfuges had to be employed. Including getting a sap named Andrew Battye to put his name on the title document and pretend he owned Bryn Llys.
It’s a harrowing tale. I urge you to read it with a tissue to hand.
Though urinating through the letter box sounds a trifle risky. Especially if there’s a dog in the house.
Jon Duggan bought land off Hill, with money Hill loaned him! Because of course if Duggan is seen to have money the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 comes into play.
Another case I was looking into at the request of concerned neighbours was the ambitious plans for Gwynfryn Plas, an old gentry mansion near Llanystumdwy. The bloke making trouble here was Phillip Andrew Bush, who seems to have made his money from taking derelict ships to be broken up on Asian beaches.
I’m not saying that Bush is a crook, but a man is judged by the company he keeps.
And Bush was soon keeping company with Aaron Hill, even selling him some Gwynfryn land. It was also reported that the Duggan gang had been sighted there
Amazing how these people find each other! Is it some form of echolocation, like bats?
To cut a long story short . . . it was reported that Hill and Bush had boasted of new ventures in Scotland. And now I hear that the Duggan family – but not the whole gang – has also removed itself to Yr Hen Ogledd.
Word is that the Duggans are in Dumfries. Home to Queen of the South FC. (Not a lot of people know that.) I’ve been to Dumfries a few times. Nice town. Looking forward to going back.
While they have decamped, faithful family retainer and failed rocker, Shane Baker, has been trying to sell off the family assets. Which of course they don’t really own!
Of course, what Baker will not tell any prospective buyer, but what my local source reminds me is:
'This is the land which was formerly attached to 4 Glanrafon Terrace, Nebo and, through which, Jonathan Duggan built a new access track to Bryn Llys and which he later purchased from Aaron Hill.There is no mention of the Enforcement Order for the removal of the access track and restoration of the land to its original state.'
Which means that anyone silly enough to buy this land could be buying into a whole lot of trouble. So steer well clear.
You have been warned!
As this has been a biggie, and it’s taken up quite a bit of my time, don’t expect anything next week. I’m supposed to be bloody retiring!