Miscellany 27.10.2021

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.

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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.

And so I presume it refers to one of these pension fund Limited Partnerships, Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund II and Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund III.

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.

The first is Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd. The other is Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd. Both companies formed March 16, 2021 by Benjamin Daniel Lloyd who was later joined by Bellamy.

Then there are the Rocksteady companies, Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd and Rocksteady Group Ltd, where we find Lloyd and Bellamy joined by the interesting Paul Christopher Baker. These two companies were also launched in March.

And they weren’t the only companies launched that month

Are Lloyd and Baker still involved? Why were so many companies formed in March?

This story ain’t going away, and neither am I.

TREASURE ISLAND

This saga began with the plan for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, promoted by a geezer who never quite managed to come across as kosher. Whatever, the plan was thrown out by the UK government in June 2018.

Then Swansea City Council stepped in with a Tidal Lagoon Task Force. This heralded the ‘Dragon Island’ chapter, promising 10,000 floating homes.

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Behind the plan, according to WalesOnline, was:

'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'.

As late as last month it was being reported that this project was still going ahead.

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.

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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?

Etive Investments is a name that has cropped up in New Zealand, South Africa, and Luxembourg. I think we should focus on the third one because DST Innovations is mentioned.

RC3 Inc could be a Green building company in Kentucky or an apparently inactive company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’m not familiar with US terminology but I get the impression this second company may have been struck off.

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.)

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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.’

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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.

Birkenhaus Events Ltd. Incorporated April 16, 2019, Dissolved September 7, 2021 without filing accounts.

Artemis Securities and Technologies Ltd. Incorporated June 11, 2019, and Dissolved without filing accounts March 23, 2021. The third director was Lee Williams.

Haus Realty Ltd. Incorporated June 11, 2019. Bjornstrom and Birch were joined October 14 by new director Carina Alexandra Henriques. For some reason Bjornstrom’s name is spelled ‘Bromstrom’.

Alder Birch Properties Ltd. Incorporated June 24, 2019. A few other Birches involved but the company doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

Birch-Bjornstrom Investments Ltd. Incorporated September 18, 2019, as Birkenhaus Investments Ltd. A dormant company with filed accounts showing only the share issue.

Apollo Franchising Ltd. Incorporated October 3, 2019, Dissolved without filing accounts April 6, 2021. The only share held by Birkenhaus Investments Ltd (later Birch-Bjornstrom Investments).

Haus CDF 20 UK Ltd. Incorporated January 29, 2020, Dissolved August 3, 2021, without filing accounts.

Entrepreneur Consulting Ltd. Incorporated April 22, 2021. For some reason Bjornstrom does not appear as a director, but he and Birch each hold one share.

CJ Haus Holdings Ltd. Incorporated May 30, 2020.

Jak Property Construction Ltd. Incorporated July 30, 2021. Joining them as a director is Altaf Hussain. Hussain has had a number of companies, most of them now dissolved.

There are other companies in the cleaning business. And I’m sure there are yet other companies I didn’t unearth.

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.

And a very bizarre one he gave, wearing his Holiday Homes Wales hat.

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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.

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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.

A HMO could also be a house accommodating students, and there could be too many of them in some neighbourhoods, which creates problems for other residents.

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.

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But this project throws up yet more questions about our ‘serial entrepreneur’.

To begin with, and according to the Land Registry, Birch doesn’t own the property. The owner is listed as Signature Realtors Ltd, of St Mellons. Check the title document and plan.

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.

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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.

The figures for how Council Tax Premium Fund will be spent can be found here, in Gwynedd’s Housing Action Plan 2020/2021 – 2026/7.

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 authority 
3/ NI, income tax, benefits, married persons allowance – HMRC, central government 
4/ Driving licence – DVLA, central government
5/ 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!

BRYN LLYS

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.

‘Snowdon Mountain View’. Click to open in a separate tab

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.

The Duggan gang at Bryn Llys soon got pally with another unwelcome arrival in the form of Aaron Hill, who lived in Caernarfon. Where he was bullied by them nasty Cofis!

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!

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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!

♦ end ♦




60 thoughts on “Miscellany 27.10.2021

  1. Neil Singleton

    The main man behind Swansea Tidal Lagoon PLC is well worth one of Jac’s forensic Companies House investigations. He is involved in 46 companies, the majority of which have been dissolved and a few in “Voluntary Arrangements”.

  2. Dafis

    Jac Please refrain from prodding and poking that bundle of slime surrounding Alun Davies A.S. as the stink rising on each occasion is unbearable. Curiously he cannot refrain from having a dig at others who have been compromised yet fails abysmally to modify his own behaviour. Is that just a childish streak or something more anti social, even sociopathic ?

    1. I suspect he’s hoping he’ll get away with criticising Tory lobbyists in London while his own party refuses to introduce a register of lobbyists in Wales, and his own girlfriend was lobbying for wind turbine spivs a few years back, even trying to influence council planning decisions.

      The man’s a fucking hypocrite.

  3. Dafis

    Just seen a news item about farmer David Mills, Brecon area, who’s just been shat upon from a great height by the Bay clique. Mr Mills, an ardent environmentalist, planted loads of trees and secured backing from the Glastir scheme. However the rats down the Bay decided that he had planted them in the wrong place, not on the wrong hillside or anything serious like that but a few centimetres from where some pen pusher claimed their plan dictated. Mills now gets whacked for a £15k bill which covers Lesley’s expenses for a few weeks. Serious lack of sensitivity among those sensitive souls in government. With a bit of luck they’ll all drown when the predicted rise in sea levels smothers the Bay and all the wankers that work down there.

  4. Dafis

    According to a collective of Wildlife Trusts agriculture is a big threat as it contributes 14% of our greenhouse gas emissions.That figure may be inaccurate but let’s not challenge it. Instead let’s look at the other 85% or so, most of which is directly attributable to the urbanised way of life here in Wales. However most of the hot air merchants who get so precious about the environment live in suburbia and regard the rural parts of the country as no more than “somewhere nice to go for the weekend, or a short break”. Perhaps they should spend time looking closely at their own stinking environment clogged up with their wasteful lifestyles and lazy attitudes to pollution. Clearing up this world’s shit is not “someone else’s problem” it’s everybody’s and the remedies start at home.

    So well meaning do gooders should work out from their own doorsteps rather than pontificate loudly and point accusingly at others. Maybe then we’ll get somewhere.

    1. Brychan

      Due to the very high standards of animal husbandry there is little scope for the food processing industry and supermarkets to extract more margin from meat products. However, imports of off-season grains and vegetable produce provides good opportunities for extra profit. Veganism is the exploitation of those that slave in foreign field on a dollar a day.

  5. Carbon Capture is a topic we’ve heard a lot about in recent years from various politicians and Green advocates. It all sounds great for simple postulation but it has its sinister side. To promote the capture of Carbon Dioxide really means we will continue to emit Carbon Dioxide from oxidising fossil fuels, by one way or another, just as we did yesterday and today and probably tomorrow, without eliminating it, hence the need to capture it. If we eliminate it, there would be no need to capture it. This false sense of security in flawed technology is just what the moguls in the petrochemical oil, gas and coal industry want us to lull into believing it is the solution. Not only those ‘Moguls’, but our timid politicians also.

    Why are they so timid? They are frightened to confront climate change head on. In order to do that all of human kind needs to sort out several issues. Primarily we need to stop being led by our noses by scaremongering of an extremist minority.

    Secondly we must stop putting faith in devices that are basically toys such as Solar Panels and Wind turbines. We must increase our Nuclear Energy outputs with particular concentrated research to advance Nuclear Fusion Energy over Nuclear Fission and that takes a tiresome long time to convince its opponents. Vitally, all Politicians need to confront and coerce the public democratically to accept major life changing ways in use of energy and all global resources. Such moves would be unpopular and our Politicians rightfully fear a repeat of the “Storming of The Bastille and the Storming of Petrograd’s Winter Palace” followed by an opportunity for evil Generals to make a coup to form dictatorships. That is one big fearsome hindrance to the needed full major change instead of playing with toy solutions.

    So we come back to the question :- Are you ready for COP26’s inevitable crazy suggestions that will emerge of Carbon Emissions CAPTURE? Let’s look at a few options as seriously bandied about by our Politicians and “Greenies” so far :-

    a) Plant millions of trees. Fine – but hang on they can take a century to grow from whip saplings into maturity, then they age and die, and as dead trees rot they release their carbon in a carbon cycle unless they fall into a very deep water sodden peat bog to seal in most of their decaying remains. But hang on again, the Wind Turbine developers are cutting down millions of trees to make room for their Wind Turbines and vast concrete bases and service tracks and at the same time destroying vast acres of peat bog.

    b) Burying Carbon Dioxide gas in vast mass down old oil wells and old mine shafts has been a serious suggestion by many gullible green politicians. But hang on, after some time it is bound to escape via rock strata fault fissures – and what would be the cost and practicality of continuously transporting vast masses of carbon dioxide out into the North Sea’s old oil wells or further still to unstable countries in the Middle East to use their old oil wells. If the old coal mines in the Welsh valleys were used, the gas would finally escape through disturbed rock strata to well up and sink down on the densely populated former mining villages and suffocate the people there. Anyway nearly all the old coal mines are now flooded with mine water.

    c) Another ‘brilliant idea’ I’ve heard of would be to capture all the emissions continuously and liquefy the Carbon Dioxide and pump the liquid out into the deep sea offshore, and then release it as a liquid to sink below the sea water as a denser liquid. But hang on, once released from pressure the liquid would boil back into a gas and freeze the surrounding salt water and escape back itself into the atmosphere. The local salt water that’s not frozen would become acidic Carbonic Acid killing all sea life in the locality.

    d) Another lot of baloney is to electrolyse a lot of sea water to make Sodium Hydroxide or Caustic Soda with ‘mustard gas’ chlorine as a by product. Then capture all the carbon dioxide emission gas and bubble it all through caustic soda solution to mineralise it locked into a safe solid as Sodium Carbonate. But hang on – that electricity for the electrolysis is very costly and what can we then do with all the waste chlorine by-product?

    e) Then there is the PRACTICALITY of all these processes and their lack of permanency. Yet we have all heard most of our Politicians glibly mention ‘Carbon Capture’! Next fantasy thing they will be saying is we should send all the billions of tonnes of Carbon emissions by giant disposable rockets to a Black Hole in another Galaxy.

    Please, when you hear anyone saying ‘CARBON CAPTURE is the answer’, please ask them – how? Especially if it is bluster blather from Boris Johnson and the like at COP26.

    1. Brychan

      The largest industrial site of CO2 emissions in the British Isles is the Drax Power station at Selby, originally built for coal from the Selby mega drift coal mine, spent years burning imported coal, now converted at a cost of £10bn on the strike price subsidy to burn timber pellets from Canada.

      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/25/drax-carbon-capture-plan-could-cost-british-households-500-study

      It makes 16% of GB electricity. It has a carbon capture pilot plant and up-scaled will cost a further £31.7bn in direct subsidy. Numbers like that brings into question why Swansea Tidal lagoon can’t get a strike price, and no trees to cut down.

    2. DAVID LEWIS

      “Especially if it is bluster blather from Boris Johnson and the like at COP26”.
      What an interesting concluding sentence after reams of the most incredible bluster and blather from Craig Cefn Parc’s version of BJ —-they even look alike !
      For decades this ‘intelligent, well-educated scientist’ has fronted and opposed/found fault with/ each and every planning application /proposal for environmentally-positive, energy generating schemes. Particularly, wind turbines…..luv him!
      His contribution is beautifully written but, inevitably, is based on his (occasionally maniacal) ‘elastic’ use of data. Any clown that regards Wind Turbines as ‘Toys’ when they currently generate around 20-25 of UK electricity, cannot be taken seriously.
      His brilliant (but elastic) investigative skills reveals some potentially devastating information on the rape of our countryside with the removal of vast areas of forestation. He conveniently ignores the fact that the coniferous trees that cloak our mountains and valleys are a ‘managed commercial crop’.
      I’ve had enough (and it’s a waste of my time)…….sufficient to say that the rest of his blather and bluster carries the same distortion of the truth that has fuelled his persona for decades.

      Good day! ………’Peace and light’!

      1. Brychan

        Dai. – In 2020, whilst 23% of GB grid was fed by wind turbines in a sporadic fashion, this was made up of 13% offshore but only 11% onshore, despite capacity being 50/50. This is because onshore wind is less efficient as the landscape, disturbance from mountains, reduces consistent output. In fact, for maximum efficiency wind turbines need stable and consistent flow, best achieved at sea or on flat plains. So why in Wales?

        1. You highlight something often overlooked there, Brychan. Whenever I see film of wind turbines in the USA they’re always on plains, or deserts. The latter also being a very good location for solar panels. There is a marked shortage of plains and deserts in Wales.

          1. Dafis

            Ah but Labour in Wales is working hard at turning the country into a desert and then it’ll be time for the next phase – everything except Cardiff and its immediate environs turned into wind farms/energy parks and new forests(to replace all that timber chopped down to make room for turbines!) sitting cheek by jowl with adventure/fun parks employing natives who will all live in designated corral areas out of sight of visitors but just round behind the turbines ! Ms Griffiths’ wet dream comes true !

            1. Dafis

              ..and even our dear friends at the Guardian are coming to recognise the fundamental divide between the stinking rich and us mere mortals when it comes to who gets to do what as we embrace the Green Gospel lock stock and fuckin’ barrel ! The whole thing is just another round of “the rich preaching the virtues of poverty” and expecting the poor to keep funding the charade.

      2. Dave were you the Councillor who got chucked out of NPT’s Labour Group? You never explained why! Then the once upon a time suffering the humiliation of being told be a scholarly neighbour- “Dave your trouble is that you’ve been educated beyond your intelligence!”. Tit for Tat. It’s too early for the whisky. Enough said.

      3. Jac I apologise for waking up Dave Lewis of Alltwen from his deep slumber. He is indeed such a ‘Diplomat’. On Lliw Council he was the pet Rottweiler of Smoothy Dan the Leader, but when he transferred to Neath Port Talbot, Noel the Leader there was his own self Rottweiler, so Dave was surplus to requirements and finally got chucked out of the Labour Group. Dave sadly does not read the National Grid Statistics, and does not understand the vagaries of the Wind. The average input into the UK Grid from Wind for the last whole year was 18.1% (and Solar was 3.9%) not the 20-25% that Dave alleges. Worse still, the wind is all over the place blustering erratically like Dave and Boris so Wind Power needs to be ‘chased’ by rapid inputs of electric from controlled fluctuations of Gas generators into the Grid. So its back to the Abucus for Dave or maybe finger counting.

        1. DAVID LEWIS

          Jac, mun! Thanks, every little bit helps!
          On the other hand, apologies for the unlocking of the predictable, but pathetic, tirade from Craig Cefn Parc’s Bojo.

          To the best of my memory, he has for the third time on this site alone, made reference to one of Dewi Evans’ many ‘one liners’ about me during those decades when he had to take second best against me in the elections at that time.
          For the record Dewi and I were next door neighbours, so it is easy to understand the tensions that arose during elections. He is well known for his incisive, acerbic wit. And no one knows that better than myself!
          One of his most famous about me emerged at a Community Council Dinner, when he gave the Chairman’s address. Sitting a few seats from him, I was not surprised for him to welcome me back after my invasive quadruple bypass procedure some weeks before.
          His welcome concluded with the following punch line – “ we all knew that Dai had a healthy dick, but not a Dicky Heart” – a Dewi classic, which went down like a lead balloon in the mixed audience.

          For balance, apart from Dewi, there have been a large number of ‘scholarly’ people who have sat in judgement on my abilities – particularly in the world of Education. At a base level I enjoyed a career of full time employment ( what about you Ioan?) as a Head of Department, a Lecturer at Tertiary and University level; Over a ten year period – a Chief Examiner at O level/GCSE with the Welsh Joint Education Committee, A Chief Examiner at A Level with the University of London Examination Board.
          Oh, I almost forgot! A group of ‘scholarly’ Oxford Dons elected me School Master Fellow at Exeter College Oxford in 1970.
          Ioan, where do you figure in this area of achievement?

          Then for completion – in your “Memories from Mawr” you trot out – “Dave were you the Councillor who got chucked out of NPT’s Labour Group? You never explained why!”
          For accuracy the answer is no! I was not chucked out of the NPT Labour Group!! Following an event (the most sickening in my 40 years in public representation) involving my “Pal” – the Leader, Cllr Ali Thomas- I withdrew from the Labour Group under his leadership. Subsequently, Labour Party Wales banned me from membership of the Party for the next Five years.

          There is a fascinating background to this event, which has been published, at length, in the October and November issues of the local Ponty Magazine. I understand that it will be posted on the blog – @southwales media, in the coming week.

          Jac, its content will probably be your best Xmas present in years!

  6. Dafis

    Well spotted Jac ! I refer to that tweet re. the Spectator article about Cwrt y Cadno and the invasion of prospective tree planters. Our feeble minded drips down the Bay must have completely lost the plot. First of all they nod through a series of investments that lead to 100’s of 1000’s of trees being felled. Now they seem “relaxed”(to use an old Labour word) about planting on good farmland. What the fuckin’ hell is going on in their woolly minds ? Drakeford gets the train to Glasgow when he should have stayed home and lobbed his pennyworth in by Zoom or whatever tech they are using but sitting on his butt for hours on a first class seat is noble virtue signalling of a high order. And to cap it all it’s a magazine from the heart of Unionism that highlights the disconnected logic that is busy wrecking Wales as a place to live in.

    Enough to make an old geezer want to take up arms !

    1. Somebody sent me the link. But you’re right about Drakeford. And I’m beginning to think that Johnson has also been won over by the Green lobby. Alternatively, it’s his mates in the City who can see fortunes to be made from planting trees in Wales and other scams.

      1. Dafis

        Johnson always was a sloppy selfish bastard from his early days. Cut out to be a silly comic figure, nothing more, he’s ended up leading the UK or at least sitting on the top perch with assorted puppeteers working him. His ability to think on his feet is almost as poor as the deplorable Mrs May as evidenced by his burbling gibberish. He is heavily influenced by his old mates in the City cos they are rich and it is money that really turns him on although he never had an original idea about how to make any so he took the easy path of shallow celebrity.

        As for the green lobby’s influence well that got to him through his cock. He may have been pliable before but Carrie has worked him over for sure and she can talk him into adopting all sorts of absurd postures. None of it is sincere but while he sits on that top perch he’s in a place from which he can initiate all sorts of damaging activity. Turns out he’s an even bigger piece of shit than Cameron and that takes some doing.

  7. Edona

    Concerned that Grandmas Attic bl ff still seems to be following true to form. Seems they’ve pulled out of purchase of Market Hall much to the angst of owner. Few weeks back changed name from Grandmas Attic to Antig Cymunedol.

  8. Brychan

    BBC is running a story claiming rural Wales is somehow anti-gay.

    We see Mark Lewis, who says growing up as a teenager in Penygroes, Sir Gar, who now works in London and has to go to Cardiff or Swansea to “be himself”. Strange as his Senedd member and former MP lives locally, with his husband. Mark lives just down the road from Nigel Owens who been out at an international gay rugby referee for the last 15 years.

    It then highlights a 24yo student funded by NRW, Cerian Wilshere-Davies, from Brynamman. Got news for you Cerian. My auntie Ef and auntie Anni from Cwmgarw Road were the ‘spinsters of upper Brynamman’. Celebrated and respected since the 1920s. Lesbians and happy.

    Then it goes on to highlight Dillon Hughes, 18yo, from Ynys Mon who says growing up gay in Valley was like the dark ages. Strange, as I recall there was a gay couple who worked as stewards on the MV Columba out of Holyhead. They lived happily in Valley as a gay couple since the 1980s.

    Finally we have Joshua Beynon, 24yo, from Pembroke Dock who says he had to go to Australia to come out. Strange as he’s been out for ages. He’s been claiming the good people of the town are homophobic because he’s had social media abuse. Does twitter only work in Pembroke Dock?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-59093647

    There’s one thing all these ‘Wales is anti-gay’ pundits. They are members of the Labour Party, and Joshua is a deputy mayor. Dic Sion Dafydds.

    Also, we see the BBC also running a story of a flooded road and soil slip on a lane leading to the beach café in Nefyn, Gwynedd. The road the BBC tells us it is “known locally as Screw Road”, but says it’s also known as Lon Gam. No. The road is actually Lon y Traeth as it leads to the beach. The mistake is understandable as they interviewed Nicolas and Katie Kerr as ‘residents’ when the electoral role tells us their permanent home address is in Warrington, Cheshire.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-59097578

    The BBC always runs stories about Wales at if it’s some backward province and when it attempt to interview someone local they go out of their way to find someone who is not, or no longer from the communities concerned. Welsh people do actually exist in Wales. But we have no voice. The BBC arrive with a pre-conceived narrative and write a story to fit it.

    1. The BBC in Wales is just a mouthpiece for the Labour Party. Note that all the contributors are from non-Labour constituencies. Message: Conservatives and Plaid Cymru are anti-Gay.

      When farmers and others start fighting against being cleared off the land to make way for trees and Monbiot’s gang they’ll be both ‘anti-English’ and ‘determined to destroy the planet’.

      BBC Wales is a joke. Either spouting Unionist propaganda from London or Labour propaganda from Corruption Bay.

      1. Brychan

        Yes. We actually see this is the Welsh version of the same story, differs from the English version, where they’ve edited out the contribution from Mark Lewis.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/cymrufyw/59083970

        Mark is a HIV policy advisor in Westminster, formally an employee as communications manager of s London Labour MP, Neil Coyle. This is from whence we get the story. The piece originates in London, and it’s Mark who’s done the pointer for the BBC to do a phone around to “find some gays in Wales”.

      2. Dafis

        One minor error in there, where you say : “Message: Conservatives and Plaid Cymru are anti-Gay.”. In the real world Plaid is too quick to line up with the BBC lifestyle lefties and denigrate the less urbanised and remoter parts of Wales when it suits their own fucked up agenda. They can’t bring themselves to tolerate much of the lifestyle still enjoyed by country boys and girls ( and some of us who moved in pursuit of jobs but still share those values.).

        As Brychan says we’ve had queers of all kinds among us for ages and no one bothered them so long as they didn’t seek to convert the unconvertable, they just lived and let live.

        Today’s apostles of the green and trannie gospels don’t behave like missionaries and can’t bring themselves to coexist with other points of view. They are drifting steadily towards the more radical Islamistst approach – buy in or you are dead ! That’s one of the reason why few of them give a toss about rural Wales and its people – most of them are dismissed wrongly as not having anything to offer.

        1. Dafis

          …and the upcoming chatter fest in Glasgow is now identified as “kind of subversive” in that it is not inclusive !
          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/30/cop26-will-be-whitest-and-most-privileged-ever-warn-campaigners

          Why am I not surprised ? It always has been a cluster of know-all lifestyle lefties drawn from middle and upper strata of societies across the world. Mostly white, climbing on bandwagons and telling lower class whites, people of assorted colours, and anything else they consider beneath them – like dissenters – how they should live their lives so that the privileged elite can carry on swanning around on private jets, yachts drinking their favourite free issue booze etc etc Sadly the Guardian will only tick these people off for not getting more token darkies and maybe a few disabled “on board”. They dare not tell their readers that the whole thing is an expensive sham.

      3. The BBC recently had a Radio Programme where you could phone in to take part. The matter in hand was “Planting Trees to Save the Planet”. I had previously asked Freedom of Information Questions to Natural Resources Wales NRW asking for statistics of the millions of trees cut down for Wind Turbines and I finally got the accurate answer which was astronomical. (I sent you a copy Jac – so you can confirm it here please). Anyway armed with this information I phoned in to this live BBC discussion. The BBC man who answered would not believe me, presumably it was information they did not want to broadcast. He asked for proof and he gave me his BBC e mail address. I quickly sent him an e mail with an attachment, which was the proof letter from NRW, as the programme was running. That was the last I heard of it. It was CENSORED OUT by the BBC. I’ve also sent them details of my concerns about the future of our steel industry with all the unbelievable baloney about Hydrogen replacing Coke as a reductant in Blast Furnaces. Also factual energy information about the wasteful mass energy needed to create free Hydrogen as a fuel. Also using Corn to distill alcohol to make E Petrol which could skew the global corn / maize / grain market leading to a food crisis for poorer nations. None of these true facts have even been ackowledged let alone used by BBC Wales. This BBC seems to be run in Wales as the mouthpiece of the Labourites in the Drakeford / Corbyn / Attenborough / Thumberg clique (with Plaid Cymru as their little after thought butties). Nothing is allowed to challenge their thinking, certainly not the truth. Rewilding is one other awful example, and that will kill off the Welsh language in rural Wales to the delight of Labour and without care by Plaid Cymru who are all more obsessed by gender issues than Wales generally and our language. Yes Corbyn still lives on in the form of Drakeford. BBC Wales as its mouthpiece can then become BBC WEST of England’s West Midlands!

        1. Brychan

          It’s not just skewed content Ioan, but also the absence of it.

          Sometimes I listen to BBC Radio Wales breakfast show, which does the morning politics and current affairs. Unfortunately, it always closes down at 0830hrs, the peak listening time, and goes over to some DJ called Dot who plays music. So I usually switch to BBC Radio Cymru for full coverage.

          However, on Friday I was in the car on the M4 about to switch over when my Traffic Announcement kicked in and it found BBC Radio Somerset. This is quite annoying. What’s worse is that on Friday it was broadcasting a live interview of an MP. None other than Carolyn Harris!

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09xvrsq
          From 2:54:30.

          Not only that, the legislation she was banging on about was England-only. So as I drove down Fabian Way into Swansea, right through the middle of her constituency, she was being scrutinised by Somerset, but here Wales they were playing Duran Duran. I wonder if the BBC would consider interviewing some Welsh MPs in Wales?

      4. Neil Singleton

        Ditto for the South Wales Evening Post, a mouthpiece and propaganda sheet for the Labour Party in and around Swansea. I have lost count of the number of missives published in the letters page, extolling the virtues of Welsh Labour, Swansea’s Labour Council, anti Brexit diatribes, anti any other political opponent diatribes. The author of these letters? D L Davies, D Davies, David Davies etc. all one and the same person. Who he? You may ask. A Labour Party activist and organiser continuously given “air time” by the Labour friendly SWEP.

        1. treforus

          Reach Newspapers (the name for the combined Mirror/Express Group) has in Wales the Western Mail, the South Wales Echo, the South Wales Evening Post and the Liverpool Daily Post much read in the North. In any sane world the Competition and Markets Authority would have ordered a sale of a couple of titles but instead we are stuck with a so called free press exclusively pro Labour. At least Pravda was honest about its politics.

      5. David Smith

        Yes, now let’s see what rural middle England is like as a basis for comparison; surely second to none as a beacon of progressive attitudes towards race, sexuality, immigration etc. They put us nasty little bigots to shame they do!

    2. Red Flag

      Indeed. Plenty of the gay community openly as such in the Holyhead/Valley, including one of the Holyhead High School teachers openly and outspokenly gay, who is married to another man, and is also a Plaid town councillor, not to mention some senior management down the port, local gog-plod etc etc etc

      Another non-story from the BBC to try and justify wasting my licence payer’s money.

      1. Dafis

        On that theme of non stories, the BBC’s coverage of the hot air fest in Glasgow is a peach. Yet no mention is made of how much the jamboree costs the public purse here and overseas. I read a figure of £36m mentioned by someone involved in organising this shabby bash. Probably the tip of a very big iceberg ! They just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that China, India, Brazil and others are going to “adjust” at their own pace with their main goal eventually being the mitigation and containment of pollution rather than some snobby follies about individual lifestyles. There again on the matter of individual lifestyles the evidence so far is that those who preach the most lead the most corrosive lifestyles anyway. They bask in their double standards and expect us to heed what they preach. No thanks !

  9. Dafis

    In your tweets column Eos P makes a valid point about balancing budgets :

    How about we balance our financial budget before we worry about our carbon budget? Under Labour’s rule, Wales’s fiscal deficit has ballooned to an estimated £13 billion per annum. Does anyone really think they can balance one budget if they can’t balance the other?

    I’m not particulary obsessed about balancing the country’s budget other than ensuring that debt remains manageable having regard to interest rates, repayments etc. In this age of fiat money and credit we are taught by great financial engineers like Rishi that whenever short just print a bit more ! Of course Rishi has to print it because he’s part of a crooked crew that’s funding vanity projects like they got money to burn. A free Wales could cut that kind of crap out at a stroke and be more likely to deal with real issues and live within our means.

    The carbon account is a different issue altogether. Almost from day 1 the smoke and mirrors artists have been at it creating a “currency” of credits and other artificial manouvers that allow wealthy corporates and institutions to duck their obligations by, for instance, planting forests well away from their home territory. This is a new form of colonialism although an earlier form of it appeared when celebs and other wealthy types were allowed to invest in woodland as a tax dodge decades ago.

    Now we have Wales sinking under the weight of all sorts of greenwash financed capers just so those cvnts in London and further afield can chatter with their chums about how innovative they are in meeting carbon targets. Would be more interesting to hear how they square that nonsense with their other pals chopping down trees by the 100’s of 1000’s to make way for their other great virtue signalling activity, energy parks aka windfarms.

    1. I’ve been reading the ‘Welsh Government’s plans for Net Zero.

      It’s introduced thus: ‘This Plan is the start of our journey to net zero and a greener, stronger, fairer Wales’. I can see how it might make Wales greener, but it will not make Wales ‘stronger’ or ‘fairer’. And who decides if Wales is meeting such vague and flexible objectives?

      Looking through the individual aims as listed in the WM today most will impact adversely on us. Farmers have to give up land for trees. Major projects will be shelved. Without actually saying that we’re expected to go vegan we are told to change our eating habits. More expensive houses, etc.

      This ‘national plan’ could have been cobbled together by a bunch of undergraduates with no real world experience after a few spliffs.

      1. Dafis

        “This ‘national plan’ could have been cobbled together by a bunch of undergraduates with no real world experience after a few spliffs.”
        Not far off. Most likely “recent graduates” now working as junior Spads across a few departments got together for a party and got carried away on a heady mix of powders up the nose, fashionable cocktails, exotic vegan treats all topped off with some gender fluid activities.

        Is a country any greener when more of its population is consigned to unending poverty as a result of government policy ?

      2. David Smith

        How the fuck do they plan on addressing climate issues when they are a long way from the real levers of power?

  10. Let’s hope this newly proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon can effectively average more than 61MW (as was the last similar one) for a UK National Grid that fluctuates between 25,000MW up to 60,000MW. For God’s sake do the Maths readers! Ask questions and stop swallowing greenwash! Scrutinise it all. Did you miss school with the Mumps when basic arithmetic was taught? That seems to be the case with nearly all Swansea Councillors of all Parties and also all Welsh Journalists! Fed on greenwash excreting hogwash!

    1. Jonathan Dean

      The original Swansea lagoon was only ever a little pilot lagoon in advance or a fleet of real sized lagoons. Of course it doesn’t produce much

      1. Hi Johnathan you just wrote about the original Swansea Tidal Lagoon saying “Of course it doesn’t produce much” That’s interesting. Is it still in production as a “little pilot lagoon”?

        1. Jonathan dean

          Poor English … it’s never been built, but was never planned to produce much. None of the three schemes proposed for Swansea have been full scale, compared to the ones they ultimately want to build

          1. Replying to Jonathan dean :- you just wrote ” it’s never been built, but was never planned to produce much”. Yes, that’s correct and it was £1.3 BILLION partly with Public Money for just 61 MW for National Grid demand of between 25,000 MW and 60,000MW and Swansea Labour Councillors wanted to invest the Council Workers’ Pension Fund in it with the agreement of the Wales Auditor. Thank goodness it flopped. Oddly not a single Council Worker or Retired Council Worker objected nor did the Unions that represent the Swansea Council Workers object despite their responsibility of due care for their workers. We live in a Doo Lally world!!!!

  11. Brychan

    Jac asks for what possible purpose the trio of Chris Birch, Jak Björnström, and Altaf Hussain would have in the Boilermakers Club in Newport, and the proposal to convert it to HMO?

    A clue can be found with the involvement of Altaf Hussain, a property developer who has links to lucrative letting contracts. He shares a directorship with Jonathan Chadwick and they set up a company called HC (Cardiff) Limited. Chadwick, or Inspector Chardwick as he was known before he retired from South Wales Police, went on to work as a hostel manager for Clearsprings Ready Homes, the company used to house asylum seekers for the Home Office.

    This is the place he managed, or rather failed to manage.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38196583

    This may be an indicator as to what Chris, Jak and Altaf have in mind in their inner city property ventures. The former Boilermakers Club in Newport may not be the only property they seek to line up for a managed HMO. There may be others in Cardiff and Swansea, but I doubt the tenants will be those that dine in plush restaurants in Cowbridge, even if they do eventually get a food hygiene certificate.

  12. Dafis

    Oh dear, Plaid councillors at it again. Took them ages to muster the guts to apply a minimal levy then they go spending the proceeds on unrelated projects unless of course they can demonstrate that a whole flock of refugees from the affected areas of Dwyfor have turned up in the Arfon townships. If you want something to sour in double quick time let Plaid get their mitts on it. They haven’t got a clue.

    The sooner Gwlad displaces them in those regions affected by issues like the real economy, housing, education, Welsh culture and language, and justice the better all round. Come to think of it that applies to the whole of Wales although Cardiff Bay and its environs is a bit of a bubble that might be best solved by letting the sharp claws of Neil McEvoy and Propel loose. They strike me as being well equipped to confront that “sensitive” demographic.

  13. Brychan

    A few years ago Carmarthenshire County Council, shortly after Plaid Cymru won control of the council, came up with a long distance cycle path investment for the disused railway line between Carmarthen and Llandeilo.

    It had the support of local framers who’s land it traversed as they saw opportunity to diversify as locally owned tourist businesses, Ysgol Bro Dinefwr as it formed part of the cycle to school scheme, as well as local rugby clubs and community organisations. It links the Welsh castles along the route, so long ignored by Cadw in favour of the English ones run as ‘anglo tourist traps’. The fly through video was produced promoting the project.

    I urge you to watch.

    At the end of the video you will see support for the project was originally from Welsh Government as it attracted EU finding. Problem is, the project was cancelled and the decision was taken by the Welsh Minister, to instead divert this support to cycle paths in Cardiff West linking up new housing estates there. The new estates built on green fields which could easily have been funded by Labours pet developers, from S100.

    Since Brexit, it’s been the Westminster Government who has taken over the funding stream to ‘the poor regions’ and a substitute of EU grant has been made. Bypassing the devolution settlement, so the Welsh Government had no say. In yesterdays budget, the Tywi project was specifically awarded the funding it deserves.

    We have an interesting comment which comes from none other than Cllr Olaf Cai Larsen of Cyngor Gwynedd (see in Jacs blog post) on his twitter. “Dim byd i Wynedd felly.”

    There’s a reason for this Cai. You’re so busy licking the arses of Labour in Bangor and so satisfied with the devolution settlement as mission accomplished that you’ve forgotten about the communities your supposed to represent. We just got £16.7m for the project and you didn’t. It’s because you take your orders from Labour Ministers in Cardiff.

  14. Dyn Distaw

    Re: Birch
    Has he bought the property but not registered the change of ownership with the Land Registry? Is he acting for the owners? Or what?
    Could be one of these schemes
    https://www.theprs.co.uk/news/how-does-guaranteed-rent-or-rent-to-rent-work
    – The landlord with a tired property get some income without needing to invest while some other idiot does all the leg work work.
    – The renter hopes to get income from a property that they could not otherwise afford to purchase because some idiot landlord is to skint or lazy to do it themselves

    1. In this case I’m assured that the property is a) uninhabitable and b) will never be given planning permission for a HMO. So I can’t see why Birch would take it on.

  15. Wrexhamian

    Jac, you’re on fire! These little “vignettes” of over-the-border subterfuge (minus the special case of the Cyngor Gwynedd bias in favour of Arfon) need bringing to the attention of the relevant local authorities.

    I have always believed that the recent mushrooming of holiday homes in Cymru was an open invitation to corrupt the electoral register and also to gain an illegal vote for local elections. This has almost certainly happened, and might explain the “phantom” signatures on a recent petition against a Machynlleth school going Welsh-medium — in a Welsh-speaking area. The FoI requests suggestion should definitely be taken up by those readers who live in the affected areas.

    As for Arfon, is that an issue for the Local Government Ombudsman to look into, perhaps?

    1. The ‘Welsh Government’ needs to step in with firm and unambiguous legislation on holiday homes. The very least would be to raise the second home premium limit to 200%. But that would be no good without closing the loophole that allows holiday home owners to switch to business rates.

      Anglesey council has just raised the premium to 50%, arguing that they might get more money this way than by putting the premium higher and losing out as second home owners exploit the loophole. But close the loophole and affected communities could really benefit.

      As for using the money raised, we’ve seen Plaid Cymru councillors exposed as selfish hypocrites, prepared to abandon the worst affected areas in order to secure their own re-election. Bastards!

      1. Tossers might sneer at such hikes as “The Politics of Envy”; what is ‘conservative’ about irreversibly changing the demographics of a place? I call it government intervention to level the playing field at a juncture when the market has become so horrendously skewed in favour of a particular cohort of its actors, in the same manner as antitrust legislation, tariffs and the like. But then, such nuanced analysis is beyond the station of your average wattled, spam-faced, holiday home-owning gobshite, wherever in the world they ponce in and ‘enliven’ the local habitat.

      2. I think in any deprived place there is an inevitable ‘shittening’ of local representation, a self-perpetuating cycle of low turnout, apathy, disenfranchisement, getting the politicians such a climate befits, rinse and repeat. Affluent English Shires don’t have waste-of-oxygen councillors, because people have civic pride, they are engaged in local politics; in other words, feel they have something to lose. It’s probably the same reason why older people generally turn out far more than the young at general elections: they have something to protect, a vested interest and thence a politics of conviction, as opposed to no prospects, no hope and no faith in any representative.

  16. Wynne

    Excellent work Jac for someone who is supposed to be “bloody retiring”. Have a glass of that Argentinian wine: well deserved. You need to pace yourself in semi-retirement !

  17. Jonathan Dean

    Just got this email today …

    The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
    Investor Update
    October 2021

    You might have read the recent media coverage with regard a new renewable energy project including a tidal lagoon to be built on Swansea’s waterfront. We are surprised by these recent media articles where Swansea Council has made this announcement now, as there are ongoing legal proceedings to determine whether or not the existing Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Development Consent Order can proceed. If it is found that the Development Consent Order can continue, we look forward to continuing discussions with the Welsh Government and the Council as to the next steps to provide a tidal lagoon without the time and expense of obtaining the necessary consents for the new project. We are pleased that the Council has re-affirmed its commitment to a renewable energy and a tidal lagoon project in Swansea Bay.

    With COP26 fast approaching and energy prices now skyrocketing the idea of a reliable, sustainable and green supply of energy on our doorstep should be looking more appealing than ever. Harnessing our tides could be a gamechanger in helping to solve the UK’s current energy crisis. Tidal power should be given the same attention as nuclear, solar and wind when it comes to making our energy green. It’s a credible option that give us complete independence and predictability, thus making a major contribution to energy security.

    As you will understand, with the legal case ongoing, we will not be commenting in the media or in response to any news stories at this time.

    If you have any further questions or alternatively would like to unsubscribe from receiving these updates please notify us at info@tidallagoonpower.com.

    Best wishes
    Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Team

      1. Jonathan Dean

        Yes, Tidal Lagoon Power plc. The folk who got the planning consent and maintain they still have it … and until the judge rules, they may have. FYI … I’m not an investor, but when they were strapped for cash to do something, anything, to start work just in order to secure the planning consent, they were searching for anyone with at least £500 and I asked for more details. I’m obviously now on their mailing list

        1. Brychan

          See my comment above about how Cyngor Sir Gar played off the unionists in London against the unionists in Cardiff to get funding for a project to benefit Wales. There is one avenue of investment that is still open to the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, and it doesn’t involve snake-oil batteries from Bridgend or fantasies like floating houses from the Swansea crayons unit.

          It is EU structural funding for non-member states.

          They have been used in Ukraine on energy projects. Leverage. It would be structurally important to the EU to pilot tidal barrages, which has to be on the coast with high tidal range and there’s the issue of grid resilience with a member state, the Irish Republic, they might still want the EW2, the 500Mw link between Wexford and Pembroke. You don’t get if you don’t ask.

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