Clear Water, Poisoned Debate

For decades we’ve been hearing that water is a diminishing commodity, and with an ever-expanding global population we’ll soon be fighting over water resources.

Though these predictions often came from the same people who at different times – or even simultaneously – could predict icebergs in Swansea Bay and no snow on Yr Wyddfa.

It was the usual nonsense from the usual sources.

And yet, in Wales now, water is being used as a weapon. Not by us against our village-drowning neighbours but by politicians and others, supposedly serving Wales and Welsh interests, against a section of the Welsh population.

If that necessitates twisting the facts, and taking control of certain bodies, either through funding or placement of personnel, then so be it.

This is another big one, so I’ll say what I always say: Don’t rush it, take your time, savour it, and you’ll enjoy it far more.

BULLSHIT FOR WHICH BULLS ARE BLAMELESS

It’s been accepted for many years that there might be a problem with nitrate discharges, from some dairy farms, mostly in the south west. This highly localised problem explained why Natural Resources Wales classified just 2.4% of Welsh farmland as ‘vulnerable’.

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When asked to revisit the issue NRW produced a report in September 2016 that (on page 13) suggested, ‘Adoption of the targeted approach would mean an increase in the total area designated from 2.4% to approximately 8% which includes those areas newly identified by NRW’.

A targeted approach was obviously the sensible and fair way to go, but then the politicians got involved. One politician in particular.

The elections of May 2016 saw Lesley Griffiths re-elected for Labour in Wrecsam. Her Senedd bio then tracks her meteoric rise to voodoo doll status in farmhouses across the land. (Soon to be accompanied by Gary.)

First, she was made Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. In November 2017 the job title changed to Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. Then, 0n 13 December 2018, she was handed her baton as Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

Despite the facts of the matter, and the sensible proposal from NRW, just before Christmas 2017 Lesley Griffiths declared that the whole of Wales was at risk of NVZ pollution. Using this to announce an all-Wales regime.

After a year of being fed a diet of undiluted pollution La Griffiths announced in November 2018 that her mind was made up and she would introduce what she considered to be the necessary legislation.

After a slight delay due to Covid the implementation date was set for April 1, 2021.

But then things started to go awry for the so-called ‘Welsh Government’.

Despite an (unsuccessful) appeal by NFU Cymru the debate was noticeably widening as others took an interest, and could see how disproportionate to the scale of the problem Cruella de Griff’s proposals were.

For in addition to the all-Wales approach the acceptable nitrogen level in Wales was to be 170kg/ha, compared to 250kg/ha in England and Scotland. This was so obviously unfair, in a country where farmers are, on average, less affluent than their English and Scottish counterparts, that it tended to give the game away.

Because there would of course be a financial burden for farmers. Though I’m sure that those trying to put livestock farmers out of business knew exactly what they were doing

The backtracking had begun. With Plaid Cymru taking the credit. For despite being Labour’s partner in a coalition that dare not speak its name, the reaction from Plaid’s large rural vote was giving the party’s leaders serious concerns.

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A Plaid Cymru source said their party had pushed Labour ministers to act‘.

Some cynics – not me! – might wonder what Plaid has offered in return.

The NVZ proposals couldn’t withstand scrutiny from any fair-minded observer because they had little to do with pollution. NVZ was a stick with which to beat livestock farmers, hopefully putting many out of business to release land for other purposes. Land coveted by many in the offstage chorus influencing our Lesley.

To support and legitimise this attack on livestock farming we were expected to believe that only farmers are responsible for polluting our waterways and seas.

Which meant that Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water), the worst culprit, got a free pass. How did that come about?

All will be explained later in this piece.

THE MEMSAHIBS OF KNIGHTON AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CHICKENSHIT

This section is part digression, part lead-in.

A group that has figured on this blog a few times is a coven of Green-Left-Woke crones who’ve imposed themselves on the border town of Knighton. There are a few men associated with them, perhaps even more unhinged than their female comrades.

Catch up with them in Colonialism in microcosm, or Knighton.

They perform the full far left agenda:

Rather than doing the honest thing and just staying away altogether on Remembrance Sunday they insist on making a nuisance of themselves by placing wreaths of white poppies on the war memorial. (Dressed à la mode Michael Foot.)

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You will not be surprised to learn that these biddies have formed a Knighton and District Refugee Support Group. Reluctance to welcome with open arms complete strangers from far-off lands will see you labelled a ‘racist’.

An epithet also hurled at those not condemning the fascists of the Israeli state.

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The gang’s environmental credentials are on extravagant display with Sustainable Food Knighton. Which, in practice, is little more than a vendetta against a local chicken farm.

The attack is mounted on two fronts. One, it’s cruel to the chickens. Two, intensive chicken farms are a big, big source of river pollution.

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Without being able to consult the chickens it may be impossible to address the first point. The second is more relevant to this article because it’s used over and over again by environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (eNGOs).

Especially those that allege chicken farms in Powys are severely damaging the rivers Usk and Wye.

But what are the facts?

Well, for a start, there are more, and bigger, chicken farms in Shropshire and Herefordshire, as the map below shows. So if chicken shit is a problem in Wales then it could well be coming from over the border.

Then again, it might not be a problem at all. Or, it’s a problem that’s being exaggerated.

Knighton is circled in green. Note on which side of the border the chicken farms south of the town are to found. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For anecdotal evidence suggests there are even more chicken farms in the Severn catchment area, the Trent catchment area, etc. But there are far fewer complaints from these areas.

Which could mean that either shit from Welsh chickens is particularly toxic – in which case every one of the little buggers should be killed immediately! – or there’s a purpose behind the lying.

It’s the latter.

A suspicion reinforced by the Environment Agency recently concluding that the bigger culprit in the Wye catchment is arable farmers, who are mainly found on the England side of the border.

Confirmed by this graphic released by the Environment Agency relating to the Wye in England. Note the section I’ve highlighted in the second level. The tributaries mentioned are also in England.

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Something also worth contributing here is that arable farmers use chicken manure as a fertiliser.

So even if chicken shit is the problem, it’s more likely to come from over the border; either directly from chicken farms or indirectly from arable farms.

And there’s yet another consideration to take into account. Certain interests are pushing us towards a meat-free diet, and in this scenario many view arable farmers as part of the solution. Which might explain them also getting a free pass.

The suspicion of an anti-livestock farming agenda being served was strengthened last month by a ‘report’ on BBC Wales about pollution on the Wye. One of the most biased pieces of television journalism I have ever seen.

Let me explain why I say that:

  • Passing references were made to sewage, but we were left in no doubt that the real culprits are farmers.
  • But only livestock farmers, with the programme focusing on one particular chicken farm.
  • There was no reference to the fact that the Wye is a cross-border river.
  • Despite being fronted by Wyre Davies the star of the show was Gail Davies-Walsh, who became CEO of Afonydd Cymru Cyf on February 22 2021, and secretary on March 11.
  • Afonydd Cymru (Rivers of Wales) serves as the umbrella body for the more local river groups.
  • Her Linkedin profile (here in pdf) tells us that until September she was Head of Natural Capital for the Wye and Usk Foundation‘. ‘Natural Capital’ seems to be code for, among other things, greenwashing. Certainly tree planting.
  •  Revealingly, Linkedin also tells us that Gail Davies-Walsh worked for Dŵr Cymru for almost 14 years, up until January 2020.
Gail Davies-Walsh. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Gail Davies-Walsh took the idea for the programme to the BBC. Which would raise more concerns about linkages, and influence.

Another who joined Afonydd Cymru recently is Harriet Alvis, (Linkedin in pdf) CEO at West Wales Rivers Trust, and co-editor of FISH, the magazine of the Institute of Fisheries Management.

More on both in a mo.

And the situation herein described is very much the same with more terrestrial eNGOs. ‘Environmentalists’ opposed to livestock farming take control of existing groups or set up new ones – and never go unfunded again!

A phenomenon reported on this blog many times. Try Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money, Invasion of the Enviroshysters (PG), or Back to the Land!.

TINKLING RILLS AND STREAMS OF POLLUTING CASH

Time now to turn our attention to the increasingly well-funded bodies looking after our various rivers, and we find new ones forming all the time. With the money available perhaps explaining the proliferation?

Here’s a table I’ve draw up, in pdf format (with working links) that I hope lists all the various river outfits operating in Wales. If you know one I’ve left out, then please let me know.

You’ll see that some are specific to one river while others are more general, some even claiming to be national in their scope.

Let me say at the outset, there are many genuine people involved in river trusts, boards, etc; not least, anglers, whose only concerns are for the health of our rivers, fish stocks, and other environmental matters.

But unfortunately, there are others, either looking out for themselves, or involved for a different purpose.

Go through the table I’ve linked to, particularly the ‘Comments’ section, and you’ll see substantial inputs of official funding in recent years.

Take the North Wales Rivers Trust for example. Total income in the year ending 31.03.2022 was £241,790. Of which £241,690 came in ‘Welsh Government’ grants.

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And it’s a similar story with other river bodies. Though much of the increase, instead of being shown as coming from ‘government grants’ or ‘government contracts’, is disguised as, ‘Income – charitable activities’ on the Charity Commission entry.

Such as here with the West Wales Rivers Trust. The Charity Commission graph shows income soaring from just £3,750 in y/e 31.03.2017 to £541,140 for y/e 31.03.2021.

That is one hell of a jump in just four years! One way of interpreting the big increase is the ‘Welsh Government’ – or Dŵr Cymru? – paying CEO Harriet Alvis’s salary.

Because don’t you find that strange?

A river group that has meandered happily along for 15 years suddenly needs a CEO.

Equally thought-provoking is Gail Davies-Walsh becoming CEO of Afonydd Cymru.

Making me wonder if Gail Davies-Walsh and Harriet Alvis were ‘placed’ in the West Wales Rivers Trust and Afonydd Cymru to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign, and also to protect Dŵr Cymru.

For there is a certain ‘circularity’ to it all. ‘Welsh Government’ and Dŵr Cymru would no doubt explain the increase in funding by the ‘state of the rivers’, which then justifies the attack on livestock farming.

A ‘circularity’ made even more suspicious by the fact that these vast increases in funding occur at exactly the same time Lesley Griffiths was hatching the absurd and punitive NVZ legislation.

If I’m wrong then maybe someone can give another reason for our river bodies being showered with cash from 2016.

Back to the riverbank . . .

On the other side of the country the wealthy Wye and Usk Foundation’s income from government grants and contracts jumped from £404,950 in 2018 to £934,670 in 2020.

Not far away is the South East Wales Rivers Trust, which also saw its income more than double between 2017 and 2021. Explained as funding from, ‘Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Water, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Welsh Government with European Funds’.

The ‘disguised grants’ I referred to earlier was money paid to Afonydd Cymru Cyf and then distributed to the individual water groups. Afonydd Cymru’s own accounts tell us ‘Income from government grants’ jumped from zero in 2019 to £894,700 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru may operate like the Wales Council for Voluntary Action does in relation to the third sector. That is, acting as a conduit for ‘Welsh Government’ funding in the hope of disguising the source of the funding.

But the money filtered through Afonydd Cymru is small beer compared to the £13.8m up for grabs in the Four Rivers For Life project, administered by Natural Resources Wales. (Though £4.5m actually goes towards ‘quaking bogs’.) The four rivers being the Tywi, Teifi, Cleddau and – it should go without saying – the Usk.

This might explain the recent formation of the Save the Teifi campaign. Though information is difficult to find. For example, the social media links at the foot of the website home page don’t work.

This report in the Tivy-side Advertiser in August links the group with Ffynnone-Community Resilience and mentions ‘spokespersons’, but gives no names. Is it a secret society?

The only name mentioned in the Tivy-side article is ‘Councillor John Davies’. This must be ‘John Cwmbetws’, of Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Bute being a Scottish company that wants to build twenty or more wind farms in Wales, some with the tallest towers yet seen on land.

Well connected, is John. In Llanelwedd, Corruption Bay, and other places.

The Ffynnone group might be trying to stay anonymous, but one name has been given to me. It’s Jessica McQuade who, I’m told, not long ago moved to Llandudoch, across the Teifi estuary from Aberteifi.

Her Twitter account confirms the link with the Save the Teifi campaign.

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What struck me was that McQuade and Harriet Alvis, the CEO at the West Wales Rivers Trust and, since last month, a director at Afonydd Cymru, are both followed by the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment.

This is the group created by Dŵr Cymru following its link-up with the Watershed Agricultural Council in New York State, in the area that supplies New York City with water. I wrote about this group in my previous post. It’s another outfit with very little information publicly available.

But what is McQuade’s and Alvis’s connection with this Dŵr Cymru outfit? And with Dŵr Cymru itself?

Jessica McQuade’s Save the Teifi / Ffynnone group has already received ‘Welsh Government’ funding. She could be another one ‘placed’ to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign / WEF’s Agenda 2030 and, of course, to shield Dŵr Cymru.

As I suggested earlier, all the money recently being splashing around, with a veritable tsunami of new funding approaching, may also explain the new groups springing up. Here are some more.

There’s the Cardiff Rivers Group, containing a few Sherman luvvies, set up in October 2020. Bay-watchers may recognise one or two of the trustees.

Then there’s the Welsh Rivers Union, which has a website, and a Twitter account from February last year, but seems to be unregistered as either a company or a charity.

Next, there’s the Wye Salmon Association, whose Twitter account started in September last year. This too seems unregistered.

Finally, and most recently, there’s Friends of the Upper Wye. Which registered as a charity in March this year.

Let me conclude this section with a tweet from Jessica McQuade who, you’ll remember, is busy with the Save the Teifi campaign since moving to north Pembrokeshire, but whose day job is with the World Wildlife Fund.

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Now why would the WWF be interested in food? And trust me – that is human food she’s referring to.

Because, gentle reader, the WWF is no longer about saving pandas; it is a full-on, far left organisation totally committed to the anti-farming and the anti-human – ‘reduce the population’ – agenda.

And also believe me when I tell you that the WWF wields great influence with the ‘Welsh Government’, and in the Bay more generally.

‘FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE FARMERS . . . ‘

The ‘Welsh Government’ – and, indeed, the Bay establishment – has bought into the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.

Both posit that burping, farting farm animals are destroying the environment; so we should switch to eating plant-based foods, insects, and gunge marketed as ‘artificial meat’.

Obviously, this will mean many fewer livestock farmers in Wales. Perhaps none. But that’s no problem, because the land vacated is already earmarked for tree planting, rewilding, conservation projects and other activities from which Welsh people will be largely excluded unless needed for window-dressing.

To facilitate this clearance programme livestock farmers must be blamed for things that are not their fault. This frees Dŵr Cymru from criticism. An objective easy to achieve given the influence the water company wields within ‘Welsh Government’.

To ensure that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet the ‘Welsh Government’, Dŵr Cymru and other official bodies are more than willing to fund assorted eNGOs which, in return, may accept ‘appointees’.

What I’m alluding to is little different to Bill Gates funding the BBC, the Guardian, New York Times, CNN and countless other media outlets around the world. He doesn’t do it in defence of the truth, he does it to ensure the media he funds will promote his and the World Economic Forum’s agenda.

‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

Headlines like this, frightening people into obeying the WEF agenda, don’t come cheap. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Wales, being a poor country, and a corrupt, one-party state, with no effective political opposition, and no functioning media, is especially vulnerable to powerful forces seeking to impose an agenda.

If farmers can be defeated, and the food supply controlled by forces you will have difficulty identifying, let alone challenging, then we will have already lost. Because who controls the food supply controls the world.

It’ll be too late to complain when your car is confiscated, or when your access to your bank account is blocked because you said something on social media that somebody, somewhere, didn’t like.

So stand with the farmers, and stand up to those who threaten them. Because those who threaten the farmers also threaten you.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Gilestone Revisited

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’.

Happy days!

BACKGROUND

To get the background for this story – fast developing into a saga – you’d better read Green Man, Red Herring? (20.05.2022) about the purchase, by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m, of Gilestone farm, just outside Talybont-on-Usk.

According to the aforementioned ‘Welsh Government’, the farm was bought in order to be leased to the Green Man festival. Yet the Green Man submitted no business plan, and says it has no intention of leaving its current venue at the Glanusk estate, a few miles down the road.

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.

It was arranged to coincide with the Watersource 18 Conference.

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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.

There was another US visit later that year. This time a Dŵr Cymru representative and some Beacons farmers went over. Among those who made this trip were Richard Roderick, who farms across the Usk from Gilestone, and Keri Davies of Crai.

Representing Dŵr Cymru was Nigel Elgar, the project manager for DC’s Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment scheme. So here’s another video!

(How many more transatlantic trips would there have been without Covid?)

In December 2019 Roderick and Davies were together again as guests at a meeting of Natural Resources Wales Land Management Forum Agri-Pollution Sub Group.

This was around the time Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) started blaming farmers for every bit of crud in every waterway in Wales.

An anti-farmer campaign that resulted in the notorious ‘NVZ’ legislation.

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.

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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.

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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.

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This is how Wikipedia describes these arrangements.

‘In the United States, a conservation easement (also called conservation covenantconservation 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’.

Let’s go back to the Watersource 18 conference in March 2018. Also attending were New York City Department of Environment’s Water Supply Bureau and, giving the keynote speech, the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC).

These bodies remind us that Conservation Easements / Covenants are not the only way for land to be used or acquired for ensuring water quality and other purposes.

The website for the Catskills Watershed Corporation tells us:

‘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.’

“Land acquisition . . . environmental protection programs”.

Then, this NYC Department of Environmental Protection document says something very similar (paragraph 5):

‘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.

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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?

There are six directors of the Beacons Water 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!)

CONCLUSION

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.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Bristol Fashion, Local Benefits, Magic Wallpaper, Island In The Sun, Maasai Resistance, Gilestone Update

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.)

BRISTOL FASHION

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.

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The story we’re going to look at tells that the National Trust is to take over the running of the Hafod (Uchtryd) Estate, inland of Aberystwyth, just east of Pont-Rhyd-y-Groes. The estate seems to be owned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and run in partnership with the Hafod Trust (HT).

Here’s the leaflet on Hafod issued by NRW.

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.

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But as I say, it seems NRW owns the estate, but leases it to HT. Confirmed by the HT accounts referring to a holiday cottage known as Hawthorne Cottage / Pwll Pendre, and the title document saying this property was leased in December 2000 for 25 years from The National Assembly for Wales.

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.

The Hafod Trust had one full-time and a few part-time employees. These are joining the National Trust.

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.

Or else buying land as a stage for its own planet-saver posturing.

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”.

Or not, as the case may be.

Whatever, here’s how the takeover is described on the NT website.

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.

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Daly is a solicitor, and has been chair of the Bristol branch of the Institute of Directors. She first came to Wales in September 2018 to work for the National Trust as assistant director of operations for South Wales.

She gives as her location on Twitter, “Western Gateway”. Which seems to have begun life as a ‘Sub-national Transport Body’ for local authorities in south west England, but has somehow morphed into a plan for a cross-border “powerhouse”.

In other words, the Greater Bristol Region.

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.

Image OS Maps. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

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On the plus side, the company involved is Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd. Probably a Welsh company. Phew!

Well . . .

There is indeed a company of that name but – and you won’t believe this – it’s based in Bristol! And until March this year it was known as BPUWL 11 Ltd. In fact, there’s a slew of companies using those letters as a name.

One of them, BPUWL 16 Ltd, also changed its name in March, to Craig y Geifr Wind Energy Hub Ltd. It shares the Bristol office address, and officers, with Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd.

From what I’ve learnt, Craig y Geifr is a ridge or an escarpment between Nant-y-Moel in the Ogwr Valley and Pentre in the Rhondda.

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And it looks to be quite a beautiful area. A reminder of what our southern valleys were like before industrialisation.

© Copyright Alan Hughes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Seeing as there are plantations close to Craig y Geifr, I assume that the land is owned by Natural Resources Wales. As for Bryn Brawd, I’m not sure. Unfortunately, the Land Registry offers no help.

So let’s focus on the two companies, Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd and Craig y Geifr Wind Energy Hub Ltd. What can the Companies House website tell us?

Now pay attention, because this may not be easy to follow.

When we click on the ‘People’ tab, and then, ‘Persons with significant control‘, we bring up the name, Belltown Power UK Wind Ltd. When we find the entry for this company, and go through the same procedure, we bring up Foresight Belltown UK Wind Development Ltd.

Following the pattern with Foresight Belltown UK Wind Development Ltd we bring up Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd. Same procedure for Blackmead brings up Averon Park Ltd.

Wee digression.

Averon Park has three directors. One is Philip Lloyd-Jones, described as ‘adviser’. The name is Welsh, so I got to wondering. And I found a solicitor of that name in Mold. Though since early in 2018 the practice has been part of Gamlins.

Unusually, for an enquiry like this, Gamlins is a Welsh company. Though Philip Lloyd-Jones is not listed among the directors. But we do find Vernon Oliver in what would otherwise be a Welsh girl band.

But I digress! Again.

Returning to Averon Park, all but one of the shares are held by Foresight Fund Managers Ltd. Which is in turn owned by Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd. And, finally, Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd is owned by Foresight Group founder Bernard William Fairman, using a Guernsey address.

The name ‘Foresight’ should ring a bell. These are the buggers who, thanks to the encouragement of the ‘Welsh Government’, have been buying up farms on which they’re going to plant ‘carbon capture’ trees.

Having received so much bad publicity over the trees scam it looks as if Foresight might be switching to wind farms. But staying in Wales because those assholes in Corruption Bay are such a pushover.

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.

North Data provides some information on Kaplan. Beneath the Network diagram it lists various companies, and the top one, Awel Newydd Cyf – owned through Petersham Holdco Ltd – should interest my Welsh readers.

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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.

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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).

Finally, and most worryingly of all, Foresight is allowed to brainwash young children. Here they are, again collaborating with Tilhill, using kids from Talyllychau to plant trees on a farm Foresight has bought!

Did Carmarthenshire education authority know about this insulting bullshit? What the hell was the teacher thinking to allow the kids in his care to be brainwashed by a company buying up local farms?

And have you heard of a ‘seed portfolio transaction‘? No, nor me. But that’s the kind of business Foresight is doing at Banc Farm, where those kids were exploited.

There’s more information here. It looks as if money is being made by Foresight before the trees are even planted.

‘PSSST, I GOT A GREAT IDEA’

At a recent gathering of the Honourable Company of Magic Bean Salesmen many toasts were drunk to the ‘Welsh Government’ and associated bodies.

Hardly surprising when we recall how many schemes of dubious merit (I will say no more than that!) have received funding in Wales. A new one came to my attention a few weeks ago.

Here’s a report showing Julie James, Environment Minister in the ‘Welsh Government’ looking interested in magic wallpaper that it’s claimed can replace radiators as a source of heat. James should be interested because her lot are funding this project for Melin Homes in Torfaen.

“Do it come in a nice red flock? Cos our tŷ bach is cowin’ freezin’ in the winter. Send some round to my office, love”. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

So who is the lucky recipient of this ‘Welsh Government’ largesse? The company mentioned is NextGen. So, you know me . . .

There are many, many ‘NextGen’ companies, but we need to look at this one. Despite the quite impressive website, NextGen Heating Ltd is a one-man band, and it’s in debt.

Not a great start.

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.

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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”.

Here’s the link. (The nodes are moveable.)

It tells us that Osborne is director, secretary, and judicial representative for Mosta Electronics Centre on Constitution Street in the town of Mosta. Though the website only mentions founder, Joseph Zerata.

The Mosta Electronics emporium in Mosta, Malta. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

The reason you’re reading about Crosbie is due to her opposition to a 1200-acre solar farm on the island. And anti-nuclear lefties telling her to “smell the coffee”. (Do people still use that silly expression?)

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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.

The company behind this solar array is Lightsource BP Renewable Energy Investments Ltd. Here’s their website, and here’s their Companies House entry.

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.

MAASAI RESISTANCE

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.

The Maasai, who claim the land, are being denied access. But they’re fighting back. As this tweet explains. While Modern Ghana reports that a policeman has been killed.

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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!

GILESTONE UPDATE

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.

In the hope of getting a bit more information I submitted a Freedom of Information request. Here’s the link to the response received yesterday.

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.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


‘Saving Wales From The Welsh’

“LISTEN TO US”

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.

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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 man who put out the tweet is CEO of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Registered as both a company and a charity.

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.)

On page 6 of the 2021 accounts and annual report we see this ambition set out.

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“What do we want?”

“Thirty per cent!”

“When do we want it?”

“No later than 2030!”

It’s worth using the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust as an intro to the bigger picture.

ENGLANDANDWALES

The Radnorshire Wildlife Trust is, as the annual report and accounts tells us, a member of The Wildlife Trusts (TWT). The result of a re-organisation you can read about circled in the panel below.

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Is that progress? Strikes me as a step backwards.

Wildlife Trusts Wales maintains the pretence of independence with a website of its own. (Look top left.) Though the contact address is now in Nottinghamshire.

Then, perhaps to confuse things further, the charity, Wildlife Trusts Wales Ltd, seems to be ploughing on, yet the company dissolved itself in March.

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!

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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.

Here’s the document I’m talking about.

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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.

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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'”.

It got a bit boring after a while. So did he.

Someone else who joined in was a man with a beard, but no name; he was simply the “Welsh manager” for the Confederation of Forest Industries (UK) Ltd, headquartered in Edinburgh.

And there were others.

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.

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When we look at the trustees we find at the top of the list, Roger Thomas, who is also a trustee at Tir Coed and Coed Cymru Cyf. (Not to be confused with Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust’s Welsh disguise.)

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.

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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.

This was the case with Sharon Girardi and her beavers at Blaeneinion. She came to my attention only because her response to Covid made the news. I started digging and then published ‘Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money‘.

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Blaeneinion has been owned since 2009 by a company registered in Gibraltar.

How many more Blaeneinions are there?

Let me end this section by reminding you that we are not just talking about land, and trees, for the enviroshysters also want our coastal waters.

According to the Rewilding Britain website back then the Summit to Sea project wanted 10,000 hectares of land and 28,400 hectares of sea.

And as we saw earlier, the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust has a core objective to, “Ensure 30% of the land and 30% of the sea is actively managed for wildlife by 2030”.

Not only are these vegan environmentalists determined to end livestock farming in Wales, they also wish to abolish commercial fishing.

POWYS, THE EPICENTRE

There were until recently 5 wildlife trusts in Wales. The North Wales Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW), and then three in Powys.

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.

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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’.

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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!

FINAL THOUGHTS

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”.

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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”.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Guest Post by Neil McEvoy: The Rotten Heart of Welsh Politics

As the title tells you, this is a guest post by former Plaid Cymru MS Neil McEvoy. 

Neil has made enemies. When you know who those enemies are then, just like I did, you’ll warm to him. A man I’ve always found to be straight, honest, and approachable.

Neil’s enemies tend to have certain things in common. Almost without exception they belong to the ‘progressive’ – if not Woke – consensus that dominates the cess-pit I always refer to on this blog as ‘Corruption Bay’.

These are politicians, third sector / pressure groups (who have more influence over ‘our’ politicians than we do), unregulated lobbyists (ditto), and ‘journalists’ so supine they might as well be on the Labour-Plaid-Green payroll. Perhaps they are.

This is the new colonial elite. The creation of devolution. They will fight to keep devolution, they will demand more power (and money) from London for their gravy train, but the thought of independence terrifies them.

Now read on.

In May 2016, I made the mistake of thinking that as a Plaid Cymru politician, I had been elected to hold the Government to account and to be an opposition politician.

I quickly found out that my job was to not rock the boat, not to expose scandals, but to toe the line. Plaid Cymru was furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s client ACT obtaining £113 million from the Welsh Government.

They were furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s dodgy contract with OFCOM. I was told many times to leave it well alone. I later discovered that Deryn itself had asked Plaid Cymru to rein me in. My senior advisor was told to tell me to stop asking questions about Plaid Cymru’s lobbying firm, or “face the consequences.”

I had to go home to my wife to tell her that my ability to pay our mortgage would be gone, if I continued to ask questions which powerful people did not want put. My wife was rock solid and said that if we had a choice between earning a good living, or sticking to our principles, then we would stick to our principles. Very soon after getting married, my wife realised why I told her to not take my surname. Let’s just say life is never dull.

Eleven days after the story about Deryn which I was supposed to ignore became public, I was suspended from the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, supposedly for being found guilty of bullying by the Ombudsman for saying that I wanted to restructure Cardiff Council to change eviction processes and stop people being evicted.

Plaid just did not care about us winning seats in the Council Elections in 2017. It was clear that senior people wanted us to lose. I was reminded at the time that they did not want me elected in the first place.  In 2016, we were the busiest Plaid team in Wales, but I was the only candidate in a target seat to lose party funding. They also took Senedd staff off me at a crucial point and gave them to Simon Thomas; more about him later. Anyway, as you can gather Plaid Cymru used Senedd staff to campaign politically in Senedd time. Every party does this. It would be odd if they didn’t.

Moving on, I was the first politician in 17 years to ask to see Government Ministers’ diaries. I had a whistle blower about a matter and I needed to prove certain meetings had taken place. The Government refused to publish the diaries retrospectively, but after a fuss agreed in early 2017 to publish them going forward. I was still able to prove that lobbyists had access to ministers by simply flashing around a photograph of lobbyists with ministers in the Senedd.

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru voted against my proposal to bring in rules for lobbyists in Wales. This keeps covered the awkward fact that Welsh politics is run by a small group of people, who do not want scrutiny.

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In March 2017, complaints were made about me, almost all connected to Deryn. It was pay back time.

After the 2017 election in June, I suspended my office manager. There were complaints he had harassed a young female and I had witnessed one incident myself. Members of the public had also complained about him for not doing his job; one person also witnessed the harassment. Michael Deem had also misused my office budget, causing me to have to pay for an expensive unwanted item myself. Shockingly, I later discovered that Deem had taken photographs of a child protection file and kept the details of the children on his phone. I was sickened and staggered. I sacked him.

The man who had harassed a young woman and had stored details of children on his phone was supported by Plaid Cymru and he made further complaints about me. He was later employed by the Plaid Cymru Senedd member who replaced me, Rhys ab Owen, whose brother Rhodri is a lobbyist, who worked with Daran Hill at Positif Politics. Rhodri Ab Owen is now managing partner and co-owner of a re-branded Camlas Public Affairs, listing big pharmaceuticals as clients.

The complaints process took on a life of its own. The BBC’s Aled ap Dafydd always knew more than me about what was going on. He became the first journalist who I refused to deal with. I later discovered he was in a relationship with Plaid Cymru’s Head of Communications, who was later given a top job by Plaid Cymru’s Presiding Officer at the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru denied on behalf of Deryn that the complaints about me were coordinated. Please note that a political party was answering for a lobbying firm.

The Deryn issue rumbled on. I understand they monitored me closely. My complaint had merit and they lost the disputed contract.

OFCOM admitted fault.

Rhodri Williams who oversaw the contract process left OFCOM and re-appeared as the Chair of S4C.

I was really unhappy with the Standards Complaints process. Before it began, a key organiser of the complaints, who had known the former Standards Commissioner for decades had a meeting about me. I was not allowed to attend and there were no notes of the meeting. I stated that the former Standards Commissioner had allowed himself to be lobbied.

I was so concerned at what was happening that I requested the audio recordings of my hearings. It took some time to get them, but it was worth the wait. I heard the former Standards Commissioner making a derogatory remark about me when I was out of the room. The complainant and Standards staff were present when it was said.

In the public interest and for self-defence, I then decided to secretly record everything when I was out of the room.  If the hearing was at 9am, I would place my phone under the table on record at 8.15am. I would usually irritate the Standards staff by then turning up late for the hearing, which gave them plenty of time to voice their true feelings about me. This went on for months, with hours of audio footage. I heard the investigators discussing the case with the complainant, who was offered advice and help in his career. I heard about a lack of evidence against me. I also listened to the same complaints made about another MS not taken forward. I also heard about a really serious matter just brushed under the carpet.

It was also shocking to hear about staff saying they had consulted with a senior member of the Senedd staff who was open to just seeing my appeal against guilt, “just thrown out,” before I had even made the appeal. This was the basis for the police investigation into Standards staff, which did not result in charges being laid by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Knowing what I knew, I pulled out of the farce and refused to play any further part on legal advice.

Months later, my staff member was threatened with imprisonment; I felt that things had gone too far and I pulled the trigger on the recordings. The Standards Commissioner resigned. At that point, the so called investigation should have been dismissed.

My press conference can be viewed here:

The complaints process was delayed, which provoked what I can only describe as “fury”.

A new commissioner came in and continued a very unjust process as I see it.

I continued my work exposing what I could:

Two Welsh Government properties being sold at almost a £1 million loss.

Light bulbs costing £245 and being fitted in just a few minutes.

Our office brought the plutonium laced nuclear mud scandal to public attention.

I blew the whistle of the fake fire safety certificates in the cladding scandal.

I was vilified in writing by Plaid Cymru Members of the Senedd for attacking the early retirement of Natural Resources Wales’ Chief Executive, after the £39 million wood contract being found to be unlawful by the Auditor General.

I pursued many family cases and employed a social worker to do so. Supporting a child alleging abuse in care got me called a bully again and banned from the Council for 4 months. The alleged abuser started the complaint. An issue conveniently ignored by ‘journalists’, politicians and useful idiots on new media, all eager to stick the boot in, whilst ignoring the poor child’s allegations.

I pleaded with journalists to give the child a voice, but the author of the WalesOnline article today, Ruth Mosalski and her husband Cemlyn Davies of the BBC had no appetite to find out what had happened to the child. I am still as disgusted now as I was then at how those people had such little care for what a child said happened to it. Shame on them. I can look in the mirror in the morning without guilt. I cannot see how they can do the same thing.

Shamefully, when I said that the paedophile Plaid MS Simon Thomas should have gone to jail, disciplinary action was taken against me for bringing Plaid Cymru “into disrepute”.

This made me feel sick and I ultimately withdrew my application to get back into Plaid Cymru. We backed Dewi Evans in his bid to clean up Plaid, but he was prevented from campaigning and bureaucratic means were used to stop members voting. My time with Plaid, such a disorganised hypocrisy was over in the Autumn of 2019. A once proud Plaid Cymru has been reduced to being a poodle for the corrupt Labour Party, cheaply bought off with press opportunities, appointments on public bodies and jobs.

Fast forward to September 2021 and the complaints process was complete and written up. The reports were held back until now, just as the Council election campaign is starting.

I deny doing anything other than being a politician. I did my job. My staff printed and folded material for example opposing Cardiff’s Local Development plan and I did so unashamedly. I paid for the folding machine.

I am supposedly guilty of using electricity for political purposes. Are they serious?

Who does not do that? Both Labour and Plaid Cymru Senedd Groups were also found guilty of misusing public resource for political purposes, but those details were not covered by the Welsh media. Plaid Cymru used the Senedd restricted areas for party political filming, but nothing was done.

I did interview someone on the Senedd estate about a political job; which party political group has not done that? I did attend a party political meeting on the Senedd estate for which Plaid Cymru kindly provided the invite and minutes to the Standards Commissioner. The irony is that Leanne Wood’s staff booked the room, yet it was me who carried the can. I did organise a few political meetings in my office. Which MS has not done that?

The Standards Commissioner got the most basic details wrong. I did correct him on the Committee, but that did not make the report. For example, he accused me of employing a family member who is no relation to me at all!

One staff member did have an exchange of messages with a complainant. It was not a wise move, but after being harangued in public by the same person who was worse the wear for alcohol, it was difficult to look too unkindly on the exchange.

If anyone ever has the chance to look at all the documentation regarding the complaints, they will see that the complaints changed as the process went on. I was first accused on producing 250,000 leaflets on the Assembly printer. A simple look at the manufacturing specification showed that this was impossible. Eventually, the total was boiled down to a few thousand.

When I was in the Senedd, I donated my councillor allowance to various causes. I am not motivated by money. On the grounds of natural justice, I will not pay the sum of money plucked out of thin air, because I do not owe anybody anything. I pay my way and I will not credit such a shocking stitch up with any financial contribution.

The good in all this is that Propel was born. We are still not even one year old, but have so much going for us and a collective of people in every Welsh constituency who support freedom and social equality. We have had a belly full of the rotten core at the heart of Welsh politics. A democratic Welsh revolution, underpinned by a Welsh constitution is our aim.

Propel is uncomplicated, principled, and intent of giving Wales a much better option for all our futures. I’r gad and watch this space.

♦ end

 

Growing Resentment

Yes, I’m still retiring, and writing this piece has reminded me why.

I could have written a piece like this at any time in recent years. I would only have needed to change the names of those ripping us off and the racket used for doing it.

The constant would have been the incompetence and gullibility of the so-called ‘Welsh Government’, and the contempt in which politicians hold the electorate.

Now, how do I get out?

This week’s piece was inspired by a tweet put out last Thursday by Lee Waters, the MS for Llanelli and Deputy Minister for Climate Change. (Which means he comes under Julie James.)

This is the man who admitted that he and his ‘Welsh Government’ ‘don’t know what we’re doing’ when it comes to the economy.

Who said there are no honest politicians?

MORE TREES

In the tweet I refer to we see Lee Waters getting his boots muddy for a photo op with some tree-planters. And they reciprocated with a tweet of their own. So, who are we dealing with here?

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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.

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The PATT head honcho is Andrew Graeme Steel. Who has a couple of other companies, Precision Farming Ltd and Steeldom Properties Ltd, neither of which is setting the world on fire. (Not that he’d want to, of course!)

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.

Fancy that!

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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.

The tweet from Waters also mentioned @GreenTaskForce1. Green Task Force Ltd, set up in October 2019, is another company run by Steel. Also, since last March – when Sentient Retreats Ltd changed its name, for the third time – we have Green Task Force (Cymru) Ltd. With Steel again holding most of the shares.

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.)

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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.

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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.

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Next up is Cass Supplies Ltd, launched in April 2010. This company is also in the scaffolding business and seems to be doing reasonably well. The Development Bank of Wales seems to think so because it made a couple of loans in June and September 2020.

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.

SUMMARY

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.

Particularly Hafod Resources Ltd, and Children in Wales / Plant yng Nghymru, both chock-a-block with do-gooders and other burdens on society and / or the public purse.

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?

Questions. Questions.

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

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One of the farms near Llanwrtyd, Lofftwen, is now Lofftwen Forest Farm LLP. Run by a man who, ‘ . . . never intended to get into farming‘. But he had money looking for an investment.

And when he wanted more money – the ‘Welsh Government’ chipped in. (See panel below.)

Despite what Lee Waters said in a recent radio interview about planting operations all needing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), the truth is that they’re just nodded through. Check out this list supplied by Natural Resources Wales (scroll down).

Lee Waters was right to say that EIAs are required, but none are refused and few checks are undertaken.

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And it’s into this demi monde of sylvan scammery that we need to fit Messrs Steel, Gibbs and Gent. They’re planting trees and the ‘Welsh Government’ will pay them handsomely for doing so.

Interestingly, the image below from a Green Task Force tweet (no ‘Cymru’) suggests co-operation with Octopus Energy. Is this company using Green Task Force to offset its carbon output, in Wales, and is the ‘Welsh Government’ subsidising this nonsense?

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.

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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!

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Money Does Grow On Trees!

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!

‘WOODLANDS FOR SALE’

We’ve all seen them, in both Welsh and English, the roadside signs reading, ‘Coedwig ar Werth’, ‘Woodland for Sale’. Most belong to Woodland Investment Management Ltd (WIM), trading as woodlands.co.uk.

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.

Specifically mentioned in the earlier articles was Allt y Gelli, between Llangynog and Llanybri. There, WIM carved up the old woodland into saleable parcels and flogged them off with names like Coed Aberoedd, Allt y Castell, Coed Gwas y Neidr, and Coed Tâf.

These ranged in size and price from £19,000 for 2.5 acres to £55,000 for just under 8 acres. And the process continues.

In the panel below you see, left to right: an OS map of the area twixt Llangynog and Llanybri, with the area I’ll discuss in a minute circled in red. The woodland is Allt y Gelli.

The central image highlights the parcel of 8.25 acres labelled Coed Ffordd Pererin, which recently sold for £65,000.

While the image on the right shows an adjacent plot outlined in blue for which a man from Guildford, in the county of Surrey, was hoping to get planning permission.

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I assume he wishes to be a lumberjack. For last year he intimated to Carmarthenshire County Council his desire to build a ‘shed’, some 8.5 metres long, 2.9 metres to the eaves, and 4.8 metres to the ridge.

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.

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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.

Shamelessly lifted from an earlier piece this shows the rough triangle formed by the A40, the Tywi, and the Tâf. The woodland highlighted is Allt y Gelli. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

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.

Many trees have been cleared and one suggestion made is that a woman from Lampeter plans to grow vegetables on the site. Whether she has bought it from Oriel is unclear. The Land Registry says he is still the owner.

OK, my red outline is a bit wobbly, but it’s been a hard Christmas and New Year. What with the Jack Daniel’s and the mince pies, the Malbec and the Christmas pudding. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

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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!

Some of the chalets and other structures in Coedfryn woods, none of which have planning permission and all of which have had enforcement notices served. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

The narrow strip of woodland in the centre of the image on the left is shown again in an aerial image on the right. At one time there were 20 dwellings there. All unauthorised. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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’?

Here is the community council’s response to the chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council last week. It’s worth reading because it lists the various problems in the area, all of which are attributable to the failings of the council.

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.

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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.

Another proprietor at Coedfryn woods is Ivan Wallace of Swansea. He owns land alongside the trackway. But again, there’s a wee mystery.

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.

And following Audit Wales’ damning review of the council’s planning services last year there was a big shake-up of the planning department. (This might explain the decision to wipe the slate clean.)

From the Summary of the Audit Wales report into CCC’s planning dept. It mentions ‘enforcement’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

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That someone is Arthur Edwyn Turner-Thomas. For that’s the name given on the title document for ‘The Pen, Pembrey’. Though on this Companies House entry for Richard Thomas and Co (Hydro) Ltd he is elevated to Sir Arthur Edwyn Turner VC.

It should go without saying that he is neither a knight nor has been awarded the Victoria Cross. He is, as the title to this section suggests, a fantasist.

But not to be entirely dismissed, because he’s also a practising con man.

Artists who appeared at his Tenby Folk Festival in August 2008 – headlined by Cerys Matthews – are still wondering what happened to the £30,000 collected by Arthur Turner-Thomas – cos they never saw a penny of it!

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?

Anyway, moving on . . . Arthur applied to build a small solar farm on the marshland he owns. The community council objected, a plan so absurd that Carmarthenshire County Council turned it down!

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?

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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!

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CONCLUSION

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!

I hope I’m not giving you ideas, Sir Arthur!

♦ end ♦

 




‘Renewables’: The Great Welsh Rip-off

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.

BACKGROUND

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.

Here’s a link to the relevant Planning Inspectorate documents.

In England, projects of up to 50 MW are decided by local councils. In other words, by those elected by local people. So here we see another example of democracy being eroded in Wales.

In fact, the legislation giving power over wind farms in England to local authorities and the legislation doing the exact opposite in Wales were part of what I view as a package. With the ‘Welsh’ legislation compensating for the English.

The planned solar farm is very close to Pont Abraham Services, where the M4 becomes the A48. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

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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.

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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.

An even more recent recruit is Moritz Ilg.

So, who’s behind Brynrhyd Solar Farm Ltd?

To find out we need to go to the Companies House entry. Click on the People tab; then, just below it you’ll see a tab, Persons with significant control, which identifies Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd.

This makes sense, because if we click the Charges tab it tells us that Foresight Island has made a loan to Brynrhyd Solar Farm.

Next, go to the Filing history tab. Click on the entry for 20 October 2021 and you’ll see that on that date all the shares in Brynrhyd Solar farm Ltd were transferred from Island Green Power Ltd to Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd.

It might be worth noting in relation to this company that there has been one share issue after another over the past year. Which suggests the company is gearing up for future activity.

(Island Green is one of the Ian Lawrie companies. And there’s more than one company with the Island Green name.)

Coming to a valley near you – with wind turbines on the hills? All foreign owned. Every penny leaving Wales. Providing no jobs. ‘But it’s OK, cos we are savin’ the planet, innit’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

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.

I bet you can guess the next question!

And the answer to who owns Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd is Averon Park Ltd. Clicking on the People tab tells us nothing, so we need to go to Filing history and see who owns the shares.

There, in a confirmation statement of 21 October this year, we see that all but one of the Averon Park shares is held by Foresight Fund Managers Ltd.

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Foresight Fund Managers Ltd is in turn owned by Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd.

And then, finally, when we look to see who controls Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd we find the name of Bernard William Fairman. He founded – with Peter English – the Foresight Group in 1984.

Companies House suggests that Fairman is a resident of Jersey. Or maybe he just uses a PO Box there. Either way, I am fairly certain he does not live in the UK.

On top of which, he does not seem to be a director of any company registered with Companies House. And hasn’t been a director since 2010.

Here’s a wee graphic I knocked up to help you remember.

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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.

Bute Energy’s 16 planned wind farms. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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.

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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?

Jenny Rathbone’s shares portfolio. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

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.

Foresight appear in this BBC Wales news report. Though if you’ve got a few hours to spare, or if ‘global warming’ has snowed you in, you can sit down and read ‘National Forest for Wales – The Woodland Investment Grant, rules booklet’.

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.

I say that because Foresight has big plans for carbon capture tree planting.

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.

Foresight is buying farms for carbon capture, planning solar farms, and so it should go without saying that it’s also into wind farms. In partnership with Belltown Power Ltd of Bristol.

Already operational are Tirgwynt, near Carno, Powys; Gelliwen, near Caerffili; and Tai Hen, ’22 Km north of Anglesey’.  One in the planning stage is Waun Maenllwyd, north east of Lampeter.

There will be more. Many, many more.

But the threat is not just from the big boys.

There are countless small groups buying up parcels of Welsh farmland. One to which I was recently directed is The Carbon Community (TCC) of Windsor, Berkshire. It’s a company, and also a charity.

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.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES?

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.

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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.

Another front in the war on Welsh agriculture came with Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) introducing legislation premised on the lie that farmers and only farmers are responsible for pollution in our rivers.

Nakedly anti-farmer legislation, now undermined after it emerged water companies give major corporations a free ride – while themselves pumping shit into rivers and seas. (And it’s not confined to England.)

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.

That leaves Plaid Cymru . . . which last week signed up to a deal with Labour!

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!

What credibility does ‘Wales saving the planet’ have after Glasgow? After China, Russia, India, even Australia, basically said, ‘We are not wrecking our economies so that tax-averse billionaires with private spaceships can promote their global agenda’.

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.

♦ end ♦

 




‘Energy Parks’ – new name, but same old corruption, same old exploitation

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.

The previous post was a cri de coeur from someone who by chance had learnt that she is to have a wind farm plonked on her doorstep. Which is often how people find out.

Because in the early stages of wind farm projects those pushing them like to tread carefully, and operate in the shadows. Which encourages skulduggery and often results in what can only be described as corruption.

Yes, I know, that will shock and surprise many of you. But it happens, even here, in planet-saving, refugee-welcoming, men-with-cervixes accepting Wales; where self-absorbed nobodies flit about the Bay out-mwahing each other as they await the next ishoo over which to drool and became instantly knowledgeable.

BACKGROUND

I must begin with a sizeable recap, because if you don’t understand what has gone before then you’ll have difficulty making sense of what’s happening now. And what is likely to happen in the future.

About three years ago I was contacted by people in central Powys who were fighting against the imposition of a wind farm. What resulted from that approach was Corruption in the wind? in November 2018.

This was followed up in August 2020 with, Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough.

The story began with the strange case of Hendy Wind Farm, not far from Llandrindod. To cut a long story short . . .

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Planning permission was refused by Powys County Council in April 2017, at a meeting where there occurred an episode worth recounting. (And here I lift a section from my November 2018 offering.)

‘Back in 2017, on April 27 to be exact, there was a curious scene played out at a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee. At a point in the meeting after the committee had refused planning permission for Hendy and was about to discuss further conditions for Bryn Blaen, a woman who had been sitting with the developers tried to hand a note to one of the committee members.

The woman had to be forcefully ushered away. She was recognised as a lobbyist, working for Invicta Public Affairs, a company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne . . . 

It was Anna McMorrin, who had been recruited by Invicta in October 2016 for no reason other than she was a Labour Party insider, having joined the party when she was a student, and as a result of her subsequent career she knew exactly who to approach to get things done.

While she was working for Alun Davies they began an affair which resulted in both leaving their long-term partners. They now live together.

In the general election of June 2017 Anna McMorrin was elected Labour MP for Cardiff North.’

When McMorrin became an MP her profile obviously increased, and she could hardly be expected to raise the hopes of elderly councillors by slipping them billets-doux during planning committee meetings.

A replacement would have to be found.

Inevitably, the Hendy developers appealed against the council’s decision but the appeal was dismissed by a planning inspector in May, 2018. Then, just five months later, Lesley Griffiths, Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Secretary for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ over-ruled the planning inspector.

Here’s the letter Lesley Griffiths sent to Keith McKinney of Aaron and Partners LLP, a firm of Chester solicitors acting for the developers Hendy Wind Farm Ltd. Which is directly owned by DS Renewables LLP and ultimately owned by U + I Group Plc.

You’ll note that Griffiths says the justification for her overruling the planning inspector is that Hendy Wind Farm is a Development of National Significance (DNS).

Yet Wales already produces roughly twice as much electricity as we consume, with the extra going to England for no remuneration. So Hendy and all the other developments planned cannot be in the Welsh national interest. Which means they must be in the national interest of England or the UK.

Suggesting that Wales is being lumbered with an unfair and disproportionate number of the UK’s wind farms. Take Scotland out of the calculation and it becomes even more obvious that Wales is suffering an excessive number of wind turbines in order to protect English landscapes.

But it’s OK, because this exploitation is presented as little old Wales saving the planet.

It’s unusual for a minister to overrule the Planning Inspectorate. And because the Planning Inspectorate plays by the same DNS rule-book Griffiths’ decision made a number of people suspect that other factors or influences might have been at play.

From the ‘Welsh Government’ website. Click to open in separate tab

And then . . . it was noticed that Labour insider David James Taylor had slipped on to the stage. Was he the replacement for Anna McMorrin?

In this website – put up I assume by objectors – Taylor’s company Moblake is named as working for the developers. Though as I’ll explain in a minute, there are two Moblake companies. And Taylor’s connection to those developers goes beyond Moblake.

Taylor is described in this piece as a ‘Former Labour spin doctor’. To give you some more information I shall shamelessly lift a section from last year’s piece:

‘Back in the early part of 2009 a bright lad in the Labour Party launched a website attacking his party’s political opponents. The site’s name cleverly linking the names of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan and national hero Owain Glyndŵr. As background music it even employed Tom Jones’s Delilah.

How we laughed!

But it all came unstuck and caused the bruvvers considerable embarrassment. First Minister Rhodri Morgan was particularly irked because Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had been portrayed as a clown. In normal circumstances this wouldn’t have mattered, but Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru at the time.

The website itself has long disappeared into the ether, but this old blog will give you a flavour. Though the Aneurin Glyndŵr Twitter account lives on.

The photo below shows Taylor canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Assembly elections along with some kids shipped in from England.

Around the same time he stood as the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post, but lost. Which would have left him looking for a suitably remunerative position.

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Taylor had worked as a spad for Peter Hain when the Sage of the Serengeti was Secretary of State for Wales, and has also served as head cook and bottlewasher to former Labour Assembly Member Leighton Andrews.

Taylor joined the party while still in nappies and chaired his local constituency association before leaving kindergarten. In short, he is Labour through and through, and is very well connected in the Welsh branch of the UK Labour Party.

Additionally, he’s from the north east, and knows Lesley Griffiths personally.

WHAT A BUTE!

There is something of a changing of the guard in 2017/18. Not only do we see Taylor taking over from McMorrin as the Labour Party / lobbyist presence but those originally behind Hendy wind farm are overshadowed by new players.

The linkage between the new and the old can be found in the company originally named Windward Generation Ltd, then Bute Energy Ltd, and finally, RSCO 3750 Ltd.

The first two directors were Oliver James Millican and Lawson Douglas Steele, both using the address of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre at 90a George Street. They were joined 6 days later by Steven John Radford of Hendy Wind Farm Ltd.

Radford left in December 2019 and in the same month Stuart Allan George joined. Millican, Steele, and George will dominate this narrative from now on through a galaxy of companies under the Bute Energy umbrella.

Click to open in separate tab

To help you make sense of it I offer this table, with working links, that shows the various companies involved at the outset of the Hendy scenario and how, since they appeared on the scene, Millican, Steele, and George seem to be planning wind farms – now renamed ‘energy parks’ – all over Wales.

Since April 2020 there have been 20 new companies. Most of them location specific. See how many you can identify.

Earlier I mentioned David Taylor’s two companies called Moblake. These are Moblake Ltd (formerly Moblake Wind Ventures Ltd), and Moblake Associates Ltd. Despite the suggestion in the name of the second, Taylor is the sole director of both.

The latest unaudited financial statement for Moblake Ltd (not to be confused with audited accounts) show a healthy balance of £765,000. The ‘Nature of business (SIC)’ says that this company deals in ‘specialised construction activities’.

From the latest accounts, y/e 30.04.2021. We can guess where the money came from. Moblake is just a conduit. Money goes in one end and Taylor takes it out at the other end. Click to open in separate tab.

The Moblake companies were formed a week before Lesley Griffiths wrote to the developers’ solicitor advising that the Hendy Wind Farm was going ahead. What a coincidence!

Which I find curious. For Taylor has neither qualifications nor experience in the field of construction. I’ve read somewhere that he took time out from being a political fixer to study cyber security in the USA.

To further the pretence of Welsh involvement in or benefit from these projects Bute has recruited or appointed a Welsh Advisory Board headed by former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan.

UPDATE 15.10.2021: We now learn from her entry on the Register of Interests that senior Labour MS Jenny Rathbone‘s partner is a member of the Advisory Board.

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This is John Uden.

What expertise does he bring? Or is his real benefit that he’s the partner of a Senedd Member who sits on the Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee?

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Having touched on Taylor’s background, it’s worth adding that Millican, Steele, and George have never driven a digger for Wimpey either. Their expertise is in real estate and equities.

Which raises a number of possibilities.

Until he discovered an interest in wind turbines Millican was a director of companies under the Parabola label. Companies such as Parabola Estate Holdings Ltd, operating out of the same London address as his more recent wind farm ventures.

A director of this and many other companies is 72-year-old Peter John Millican, who I assume to be the father of 40-year-old Oliver Millican.

Given that Millican junior is in ultimate control of all the wind farm companies I can’t help wondering whether he has really branched out on his own or whether he’s still working for daddy. Or perhaps fronting for someone else.

To summarise, we have the three musketeers from Caeredin, and their man on the ground in Wales, David Taylor, none of whom has any obvious background in engineering or renewables. Nor are they believed to be card-carrying members of the Greta Thunberg Fan Club.

Which suggests to me that they’re just in it for the money. With that money assured through being able to influence the ‘Welsh Government’.

For it wasn’t Taylor’s sparkling repartee that persuaded the Bute gang to make him a member of Grayling Capital LLP, and a shareholder in Windward Enterprises.

All of which leads me to wonder if this lot will erect a single wind turbine.

Because having apparently secured the rights to so many sites all they need do on each is spend a few thousand for a planning application and, once that’s secured, each site becomes worth millions.

And we are talking tens of millions of pounds, possibly nine figures, for a total outlay of less than a million pounds, and without having to do any real work.

Not far from Hendy Wind Farm, nearer to Llangurig, we find Bryn Blaen. A modest affair of 6 turbines with a tip height of 100m and a potential output of just 14.1MW. This too was launched by Steven John Radford, the man behind the Hendy project.

The latest accounts (to 30 September, 2020) show ‘Tangible assets’ of £35,567,344. And this figure has been reduced by the estimated cost of removing the turbines when their days are done, and restoring the site.

Click to open in separate tab

Though I predict it will be a hard job getting those responsible to restore wind farm sites. We might see companies locating offshore, as we saw with those seeking to avoid cleaning up opencast coal sites. A famous example being Celtic Energy.

Incidentally, Celtic Energy was advised by M & A Solicitors, which changed its name to Acuity Law and then advised Stan ‘The Pies’ Thomas on his notorious acquisition of public land.

I wrote about it back in the early part of 2016, with Pies, Planes & Property Development, soon followed by Pies, Planes & Property Development 2. ‘Planes’ refers to Stan and his brother Peter selling Cardiff airport to the ‘Welsh Government’ for a ludicrously high price.

When dealing with the ‘Welsh Government’ the Thomas brothers adhere to the old maxim, ‘Sell high, buy low’. With which the ‘Welsh Government, apparently, agrees.

Acuity Law still does a lot of work for Whatshisname and his gang. God help us!

Let’s conclude this section with a bit more information on Bryn Blaen. Radford and other directors left the company in February 2020. They were replaced by Stephen Richard Daniels, Edward William Mole, Benjamin Alexander Phillips, and Roger Skeldon.

Together, the three for whom I’ve provided links, hold 1,647 directorships, and a hell of a lot of the companies are dissolved.

It might be worth keeping an eye on Bryn Blaen.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO DIFFERENT

Consider this: We have a ‘Welsh Government’, and it wants to fight climate change by covering Wales in wind turbines.

The obvious course to have taken would have been to build up a Welsh renewables industry. Welsh companies could have been formed, could have grown and prospered; created jobs, built up local skills, and put wealth into local economies.

Had this been done we could today have Welsh companies erecting wind turbines around the world. Using highly-skilled Welsh technicians and engineers. Bringing money back to Wales.

But no.

Instead, our colonial elite behaved like procurers, offering Wales up to foreign investors and companies for them to do with as they wished. The former sometimes based in tax havens, the latter often state owned, such as Sweden’s Vattenfall, which owns our largest wind farm, Pen-y-Cymoedd.

But it will get worse before it gets better. Because in some ways Bute Energy’s plans may represent the last hurrah for increasingly discredited onshore wind.

The next scam is tree planting. Which is why . . .

When independence is seen to approach the first priority must be to seal off Corruption Bay and block all escape routes. Then flood the place. Have gangs of likely lads at each exit to mercilessly deal with anyone trying to get out.

Because . . . can you imagine giving more power, and more money, to those we find in that nest of vermin? The jumped-up councillor politicians, their spads, and other hangers-on; the third sector parasites dreaming up new ‘problems’ they can use to bleed us dry; the (unregistered) lobbyists; the civil servants taking orders from London; the enviroshysters and other ‘influencers’ directing ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

They must all be swept away.

If independence offers nothing but devolution on steroids, then here’s one lifelong nationalist who will reject it. My independence, whilst being free of ideological pre-conditions, demands a fresh start, with a different model, and in a new place.

A new system that works for the Welsh people, not against us.

♦ end ♦

 




Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As is so often the case, this week’s post began life with someone sending me a ‘this might interest you’ snippet. Sure enough, it did. Because once I started digging, all sorts of interesting information came to light.

LIFE WITH THE BEAVERS

It all started with a news item from the Cambrian News, about a ‘conservation retreat’ not allowing onto the property people who had been vaccinated against Covid-19. I don’t buy this ‘paper and I try to avoid reading it because I’ve never trusted the Cambrian News. (I give some reasons in this short pdf document.)

As you’ll see, the CN report gives the name of no individual so, on the assumption that this ‘conservation retreat’ doesn’t run itself, and isn’t run by the beavers, I started my enquiries.

I soon realised that the story had also appeared in English dailies, and they had no hesitation in naming Sharon Girardi as the woman running Blaeneinion. So why would the local rag be so reticent to name her? Local weeklies survive by naming local people doing this and that. That’s why locals buy them.

Image: Daily Mail. Click to open in separate tab.

Next step was to the Land Registry, to see who owns Blaeneinion. And now it gets really interesting. Here’s the LR title document. I suggest you open it in another tab and keep it open.

You’ll see, on the first page, that the property is owned by Endeavour Ltd, a company registered in Gibraltar. And that it was bought for £595,000. At the foot of page 2 we read that Endeavour Ltd bought Blaeneinion on November 13, 2008.

Next stop, Gibraltar.

Companies House in Gib is quite efficient and helpful, and so I had few problems in buying a company profile for Endeavour Ltd. Though, this being Gibraltar, the paperwork doesn’t tell us much. Here it is anyway.

We learn that Endeavour Ltd was set up April 14, 2008. Some 7 months before the purchase of Blaeneinion. Perhaps created specifically for that purpose. Maybe other properties were bought.

Two thousand shares were issued and they’re all held by Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd (GITCO). An old entity, this; Incorporated in November 1968.

You will not be surprised to learn that GITCO appears in the Panama Papers, where it links with other exotic forms of commercial life such as Cathay Transport Ltd of the Bahamas.

Image: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Click to open in separate tab

But, thanks to Open Corporates, we also find GITCO linked with a new company nearer home.

I’m referring now to Friar Street Properties Ltd, Incorporated with Companies House as recently as March 29, 2021. There, among the directors, we see Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd.

Why would Gibraltar International Trust Corporation be named as a director for a small-scale property company operating out of the red brick office in Worcestershire of Hayward Wright Accountancy Group? Especially as this new company seems to be the only one in the UK with which GITCO is officially linked.

This sumptuous accommodation seems to be the base for Alistair Graeme Hayward-Wright, director of Friar Street Properties and many other companies. Though the latest accounts filed suggest that Hayward Wright Accountancy Group is a dormant company.

Back to Sharon Girardi. She’s not named on the LR title document as a leasee, so it’s reasonable to assume she’s the owner. As such, she must be Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar. If not, then she’s fronting for someone.

The Daily Mail report tells us that, ‘She has previously been backed by the Forestry Commission to plant 34,000 native saplings at her Blaeneinion estate’. But the FC doesn’t operate in Wales, that role here is filled by Natural Resources Wales.

The image above – of Ms Girardi with ‘Mr Beaver’ – was used in the Daily Mail report I linked to, but I think it appears first in this Daily Mirror article from September 2015. Though the beavers had arrived in 2011.

From the Mirror article we learn that Sharon Girardi kept the wolf from her door through Airbnb. Though as a rewilder, shouldn’t she have welcomed Mr Wolf?

From the Daily Mirror, September 2015. Click to open in separate tab

The more I think about it, the more bizarre this whole story becomes. I can’t help feeling that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

  • It starts out with someone buying a remote property for £595,000 without need of a mortgage.
  • But they claim they can’t make ends meet with organic veg so they go in for Airbnb.
  • Which means that despite claims about conservation and rewilding, what we see at Blaeneinion is to all intents and purposes a tourism business.
  • How much has Natural Resources Wales or any other agency of the ‘Welsh Government’ paid to Endeavour Ltd or Sharon Girardi?
  • Assuming Sharon Girardi is Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar, what is the ‘Welsh Government’s position on funding companies based in tax havens?
  • Come to that, why did Sharon Girardi feel the need to buy Blaeneinion by this roundabout route?
  • Though if she’s not the owner, then who is?
  • What is the connection between Endeavour Ltd and Friar Street Properties Ltd?

HORSING AROUND

Not far from Blaeneinion there is a similar but larger venture, only this time, instead of beavers, it’s Konik horses . . . at the moment. And while beavers were once native to Wales I’m pretty sure our ancestors never saw these critters.

They’ve gained quite a bit of publicity over the years, they’ve even appeared on this blog, in The Green Menace, back in August 2018. Here’s a BBC report about them.

(It seems Wales has no native horses that could have been used.)

As the BBC report tells us: ‘Cambrian Wildwood wants to extend native woodland from 10 to 100 acres across its land using natural projects. It is looking after a 350 acre site which was acquired by Wales Wild Land Foundation (WWLF) on a 125-year lease from the Woodland Trust, which bought the land.’

Wales Wild Land Foundation operates as Cambrian Wildwood. It’s explained here, with maps, in the Management Plan 2017 – 2022. And the plans are ambitious. Some might say unrealistic. Even worrying.

On page 13 we read: ‘All other native species, including large herbivores, will be present. Some animals requiring cooperation and agreement across a large area of landscape will be longer term considerations: for example, wild boar, moose, bison and red deer.’

There are some pretty hefty beasts named there, with the potential to cause a great deal of damage. Will a bunch of enviro-dreamers, with no experience of domestic livestock let alone wild animals, really be able to restrict them to the 350 acres they manage?

Click to open in separate tab

On the same page we read: ‘For the foreseeable future, it is presumed that the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx) will not be present on the site, and it is considered beyond the scope of Cambrian Wildwood to promote these species.’

A confusing sentence, that. It starts off by suggesting that large carnivores might be a long-term ambition, with the concluding phrase hinting that it might be achieved by someone other than Cambrian Wildwood.

So which is it? And if these animals are out of the question, why mention them at all?

Bears strolling into Mach’ for a few pints of a Saturday night, and wolves taking down Mrs Evans on her way to the Co-op, should certainly get the old town rocking.

As I’ve said, Cambrian Wildwood is the operating name for the Wales Wild Land Foundation. So let’s turn our attention away from carnivores stalking the denizens of Machynlleth to a form of parasite to be found a-plenty in the nearby hills.

Wales Wild Land Foundation is a CIO; that is, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Here’s the link to its Charity Commission page.

You’ll see that it was formed in 2014, which makes perfect sense. For in December 2013, Alun Davies, then Minister for Natural Resources and Food in the ‘Welsh Government’, announced that the maximum 15% of CAP payments would be transferred from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2.

Which meant taking money from Welsh farmers and transferring it to what were euphemistically called ‘other rural activities’. In other words, those who had lobbied against farmers and expected to profit from the diverted funding.

My notations in red. Click to open in separate tab

It may have taken a while to start, but the funding is definitely flowing now. As you’ll see from the table above, ‘Welsh Government’ funding for the WWLF rose from nowt in y/e 31.03.2018 to £349,773 in y/e 31.03.2020.

If it keeps increasing at that rate they’ll soon be grazing thoroughbreds at Bwlch Corog!

And what’s the money for? Well, I suppose a cynic might say it’s for ‘looking after’ land that could just as easily look after itself. But nice work if you can get it.

And when ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, former ‘Welsh Government’ Minister for Environment and Sustainability (2007 – 2011), is your Patron, then the funding from Corruption Bay tends to flow much more freely.

The long-term ambition seems to be to buy the 350 acres currently leased from the Woodland Trust and fit it into something bigger.

This piece from GlobalGiving talks of, ‘7,000 acres of native woodland, heathland and rivers will be restored. Animals like red squirrel, water vole, wild horse, deer and bison will be living in the wildwood.’

Actually, it’s 7,413 acres, or 3,000 hectares. And it seems to be part of the Dyfi Biosphere project. Explained here.

Click to enlarge

I wonder how much local people know about these plans.

But then, locals aren’t important. What matters is that those drawing up the plans have the ear of politicians and civil servants in Corruption Bay. And that they are united in wanting to replace farmers and other ‘obstructive’ indigenes in order to free up vast tracts of our country.

How many jobs and business opportunities will the Dyfi Biosphere create for Welsh people? Very few, if any. But I guarantee we’ll be paying for it.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder how much we’ve already paid. Let me explain.

The land in question can be easily identified from various images supplied in assorted locations.

But before moving on, I just want to set out a bit more information and some more thoughts. See what you make of it all.

The first piece of evidence is the maps locating the land in question. Due to the recognisable outline it was easy enough to find the title documents on the Land Registry map search. Which is where it gets interesting.

Because I suppose the first question is – why did the Woodlands Trust buy land on which there were hardly any trees? The only sensible answer must be that they intended to plant trees.

Click to open in separate tab

The title document for the purchase of the land tells us that the transfer was completed May 31, 2017. And whaddya know – the lease agreement is dated the very same day!

Clearly, the lease was agreed before the purchase was made; and more than likely, it was that agreement that prompted the purchase. But let’s think about this a little more.

The Woodland Trust bought rough upland pasture, heath and bog. Which it immediately leased to the Wales Wild Land Foundation, for an unspecified amount. Though as we are clearly paying the lease we’re entitled to know much it is.

As the annual report for y/e 31.03.2020 tells us, WWLF expects to be getting a lot of money in future from the ‘Welsh Government’. This explains the increased income we saw in the table above.

Which means that . . .

 . . . the ‘Welsh Government’ is giving hundreds of thousands of pounds, maybe millions, to the Wales Wild Land Foundation to improve land that belongs to an English organisation, the Woodland Trust. Unless of course, WWLF itself buys Bwlch Corog. 

Either way, where is the benefit to Welsh people from throwing vast amounts of public funding at schemes like this? This kind of spending can only be justified on projects owned by and open to the Welsh public. It should not subsidise hippy fantasies.

‘Welsh Government’ pays one bunch of strangers to lease land from another bunch of strangers and increase the value of that holding, while simultaneously undermining Welsh farmers so as to free up more land for more strangers.

The overall strategy is pretty obvious.

And as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, this all links with that lebensraum venture, the Summit to Sea rewilding project. But the WWLF gang got cold feet when the public pressure mounted against Summit Sea.

From the Wales Wild Land Foundation annual report. Click to open in separate tab

I’ve written about this episode of colonialist arrogance more than once. So just type ‘Summit to Sea’ in the search box.

Though from thinking about Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog and other examples it looks as if Summit to Sea may still be going ahead, incrementally, without much fanfare.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

The ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay is so wedded to reducing investment, so addicted to greenwash in all its forms, that what we Welsh need no longer figures in their calculations.

This explains why Welsh farms are being bought by hedge funds and others from the City of London.

It may even be valid to compare Wales under devolution with post-colonial Africa. Where we see newly-independent countries ruled by crooks who encourage foreign exploitation but dress it up as ‘investment’ or some other bullshit term.

Because when you think about it, someone buying a holiday home is ‘investing’ in Wales.

These lies make leaders look good but work against the interests of the people they claim to represent. That seems to be the situation both in Africa and Wales.

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Devolution has been a disaster. Not just by the yardsticks of health, wealth and education. But also because we own less of Wales today than we did in 1999.

That’s a sobering thought; and no amount of airy-fairy gestures and ‘look at us!’ virtue signalling can disguise that we are becoming strangers in our own country.

Corruption Bay, including those we elect, is conspiring in this displacement.

Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog, OPDs, Summit to Sea, etc., etc., tell us the truth about Wales today; who the system really benefits, and where we Welsh fit in.

Before long we won’t fit in anywhere.

♦ end ♦

 




UNESCO – let the rip-offs begin!

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This post is a ‘filler’ until we return to that cornucopia of dissembling, skulduggery, and now whimpering, put-upon Marxists – YesCymru! Possibly with a post at the weekend.

Most of you will I’m sure have heard that the old slate quarries and mines of Gwynedd have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

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(Here’s the above article in pdf format.)

Even though I live very close to a former slate quarry, Bryneglwys, in a village largely built in the 19th century to house the quarrymen and their families, and even though I’ve been (loosely) involved with the local preparations of the bid to UNESCO, like many others I’m wondering how exactly my community will benefit.

Let me explain.

I first learnt of the UNESCO bid in the autumn of 2019. There was a meeting or a presentation in our Ganolfan organised by Gwynedd county council. So, ever the inquisitive, I rolled up to see what it was all about.

There were a few guys there who seemed to be running the show, and I assumed they worked for Cyngor Gwynedd; but no, they were from the Talyllyn Railway (TR). Which I found to be rather surprising, and disappointing.

The people of Abergynolwyn, many of them the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of quarrymen, knew little or nothing about the UNESCO bid, and yet the Talyllyn Railway not only knew about it but also seemed to have commandeered its local element.

Bryneglwys quarry workforce, 1897, Victoria’s Jubilee. Click to open in separate tab

Worse, projects in Tywyn, having only the most tenuous connection with the slate industry, also had bids in for their slices of the cake.

Another at the meeting was the owner of ‘King Arthur’s Labyrinth‘ in Corris, located in the old tunnels dug and blasted to extract slate in the next valley. This place is to Welsh history what Boris Johnson is to statesmanship.

For those unfamiliar with the area, Corris is the most southerly of the Gwynedd slate communities and on the same seam as Bryneglwys.

But back to the Talyllyn Railway.

Some twenty years ago, I was raising the money to build our new Ganolfan. Not an easy job, and at times dis-spiriting. To fill out a 60-page application form, make sure that all the attachments are in place, and then get a curt response that says, basically, ‘Hard luck, pal’, is very frustrating.

One example was an application I made to the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF). I think the figure I applied for was £200,000.

Bryneglwys in the 1960s, some 20 years after the quarry closed. Click to open in separate tab

Anyway, the point was that this funding was for communities within 5 miles of a quarry or aggregate workings. So, I filled up the form, sent it off, and a representative of the ALSF came to discuss it. ‘No problem’, says he, ‘you meet all the criteria . . . but of course it will have to go before the panel’.

The panel, or rather the two who swung the decision – both involved in tourism – decided that the grant should go to the Talyllyn Railway. To be spent on its Wharf Station in Tywyn, over 7 miles from Bryneglwys quarry.

The justification given was  that the TR had a closer link than the village with the quarry. And the track itself came within the required 5 miles!

Now, I don’t deny that the railway was built to carry slate to the coast and the main line, but it is now a commercial enterprise, a tourist railway, run almost exclusively by ‘enthusiasts’ from over the border.

Whereas the village of Abergynolwyn, as I’ve said, was built to serve the quarry, and is still home to descendants of the quarry workers. (My wife among them.)

Another reason I’m less than optimistic relates to the ownership of Bryneglwys quarry.

For the Land Registry title document says that in 1980 Bryneglwys passed from Hugh Pugh Roberts to the Secretary of State for Wales. Then, in 2006, it transferred to the National Assembly for Wales.

The quarry is now in the stewardship of our old friends at Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Where they seem to believe that it’s near Machynlleth.

Which I suppose it is . . . if you’re a particularly energetic crow; or if you fancy climbing a few miles up to the ridge and then, after getting your breath back, negotiating a few more miles on t’other side as you descend into the Dyfi valley. (But you do get a nice view of Cader Idris and you can see down to the coast.)

The reason the mention of NRW saw my spirits sink is because of that agency’s record. In just the previous post on this blog we read about Natural Resources Wales offering up publicly-owned Welsh land to foreign investors who are thinking of plonking on it the tallest wind turbines we’ve yet seen.

Put together the tourism element and the involvement of Natural Resources Wales and you should understand why I’m not optimistic that locals will see many benefits from the UNESCO recognition.

Added to which is a real danger that the former slate communities will see increased numbers of tourists. With all the attendant problems. This is what Cylch yr Iaith fears. And they aren’t the only ones.

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Which brings us to the fundamental conundrum.

Gwynedd council led the UNESCO bid, and champagne corks have been popping in Caernarfon since the decision was announced. And yet . . . the council has publicly conceded that certain parts of the county suffer unsustainable numbers of tourists.

Yet powerful lobbies will seek to exploit the UNESCO recognition to attract more tourists in order to make more money. More tourists means more traffic, more rubbish, more people looking to buy property, more pressure on Welsh-speaking communities.

To complicate matters, Bryneglwys quarry, unlike the larger sites at Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bethesda, is inside the Snowdonia National Park. So there’ll be no zip wires or underground trampolines.

But that aside, the overarching question remains . . .

How does Gwynedd square this circle of capitalising on UNESCO recognition without encouraging unsustainable and damaging levels of tourism?

A further issue I have with this project is the way it has portrayed the relationship between Wales and England.

Here’s what our Secretary of State had to say about the announcement. ‘Fantastic news for the UK’, and he’s right. For we can guarantee that most of the beneficiaries will come from over the border.

It might also encourage more English people to ‘staycation’ in Wales thereby keeping their money in the UK. Which is a major reason why Wales suffers saturation tourism.

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But it’s not just Simon Hart who’s guilty of misrepresenting the relationship. About a year or so ago the council commissioned a series of films, one for each of the quarries involved in the UNESCO bid.

The film for Bryneglwys focused almost entirely on the tenure of the McConnel brothers of Manchester, stressing that without English money there would have been nothing here. There was little mention of the men who worked – and died – at the quarry, their families, and the lives of the people of Abergynolwyn.

Sir Henry Haydn Jones, an old-style Welsh Liberal. A tradition that may have served Wales better than its successors. Click to open in separate tab.

The truth is that slate was extracted in the 1820s, possibly earlier, by local men prepared to invest a bit of money and hard work. The McConnels arrived in 1864 because cotton was not reaching their Manchester mills from the Confederate states due to the war, and so they looked to diversify. In the third act, local MP, Sir Henry Haydn Jones took over in 1911, and kept the quarry open long after it ceased to be economically viable.

Certainly, the McConnels invested a lot of money, but they weren’t philanthropists, they came to make money, and if there hadn’t already been slate workings here they would never have heard of Bryneglwys. Yet the film commissioned by Cyngor Gwynedd wrote out the Welsh involvement entirely!

Another film, by Dr David Gwyn, put up on YouTube last week, is not a great improvement in its emphasis.

Even this page from Llechi Cymru concentrates on the McConnels, with just a nod to those who went before, and no mention at all of Sir Henry Haydn Jones.

If I was one of those frightful nationalists I might view this ‘Can’t manage without England’ theme as fairly obviously political. Perhaps we’ll hear it again when the tourists start swamping the communities that have been blessed with UNESCO recognition.

And once again, we shall be expected to show gratitude for becoming strangers in our own communities, and our own country.

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Guest post: ‘Stop Y Bryn Onshore Wind Farm’

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

Over the years I’ve written a number of times about wind farms, and the deception on which they’re based. Because, as an answer to global warming or as a form of electricity generation they are useless.

Their benefit, or rather, what makes them attractive, to politicians, especially, is their visibility. Everyone can see them, and they allow politicians to crow – ‘Look! Look! We’re doing our bit to save the planet’.

To further ‘prove’ how sincere they are in saving the planet governments offer big subsidies to those erecting and owning wind turbines. This attracts investors, hedge funds, and others who don’t give a toss about the environment.

Due to the fact that the wind is intermittent and unpredictable, there must be 100% back-up for wind turbines. One consequence of this is higher electricity charges for domestic consumers.

‘You can’t pay your electricity bill, Mrs Jones? Never mind, love, sit in the dark and console yourself by knowing you’re saving the planet’.

There are other problems associated with wind turbines, especially in Wales, that no one wants to talk about. One such issue is flooding.

Of which there has been an increase in recent years for English towns on the River Severn, downstream of the ever-increasing number of wind farms on the hills of Powys.

The Rhondda has also seen increased flooding since the massive Pen y Cymoedd wind farm went up. But of course it’s being blamed on ‘blocked culverts’. Doesn’t anyone wonder why the culverts are being asked to cope with extra run-off from the hills? Or are politicians just refusing to even address the question?

No, wait! It must be global warming – put up more wind turbines . . . more flooding . . . more turbines . . . self-justifying lunacy.

The reason wind turbines on our hills cause flooding is because trees are felled to make way for them, and huge areas of peat are lost because each turbine is sunk in a concrete base the size of a rugby pitch. And then there are the hard-core access roads, and the cable trenches . . .

Yet trees and peat are vital in both preventing flooding and in carbon capture.

Without admitting that it’s been causing environmental damage with wind turbines the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ recently announced a scheme to create peatland in the very area where this habitat has been lost to wind turbines.

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The article in the Western Mail does mention “wind farms”, but without making the obvious connection, though the image used is revealing.

When you think about it, if the environment was the real priority, then, rather than political virtue-signalling and providing guaranteed returns for foreign companies and well-connected people, the best thing to have done would have been to leave the trees and the peat well alone.

Not only has the ‘Welsh Government’ failed the environment, it has also failed us, the people of Wales. For these bird-killing monstrosities create no jobs, no turbines are built in Wales, and they’re all foreign-owned so the money leaves Wales.

Wind turbines in Wales are 19th century colonialist exploitation (but without the jobs) given a quick coat of greenwash for the 21st century.

Wales deserves better. But we’ll never get it by voting in the same clowns who encourage managed decline and then pretend to be ‘doing something’ by offering wind turbines.

Support this campaign because we all want to help the environment but wind farms are just a money-making scam that’s gone on for far too long.

Now read what a spokesperson for the campaign has to say . . .

In just 4 short weeks, the ‘STOP Y Bryn Onshore Wind Farm’ Facebook Campaign group has gone from a standing start to ‘full pelt’ in the blink of an eye, leaving its originators with very little time to catch their breath, and yet in that brief but exciting period, support for the group has grown to just short of 1000 members; it has established a committee, set up a bank account, a Crowdfunding page, AND it has held its first public protest outside the Welsh Government home, Y Senedd.

The protest outside Y Senedd. Click to enlarge

If that is not enough for starters, It has also attended all five of the initial public consultation meetings set up by the proposers of the wind farm project, Coriolis Energy (wind energy developers) and ESB (Ireland’s premier energy company), where the group and its supporters have emphatically shown they are serious about fighting this proposal to the very end.

The campaign group is acting in response to a proposal that is so lacking in detail that even some Senedd members are terming it as just an ‘idea’ at this time, but with it comes the need for so many questions to be answered, and the residents of the affected villages are not happy to let this proposal go uncontested.

But where do you start with the issues brought about by a proposed development of this magnitude? It is one of the best kept secrets in amongst these small semi-rural areas of South Wales, which is an achievement in itself given that usually a mouse can fart and everyone is gossiping, and whilst residents were clapping for NHS Heroes or giving an elderly war veteran money to walk around his garden, the supposedly transparent Welsh Government by way of Natural Resources Wales were inviting tenders that would allow swathes of lush green countryside to be carved up in anticipation of 26 wind turbines to be built in situ, the size of which onshore Britain has never seen before. But secrets of this kind don’t tend to remain secrets for very long, and this one was not going to be the exception.

Soon after the secret was out, residents found themselves talking at 2 metre distances about the environmental destruction that was being proposed, their conversations focused on the suggestion these turbines would reach heights up to 250 meters, and that their blades would be of 80 meter lengths….but what is that in ‘old money’ and what could these structures be compared to?

The turbines planned for Y Bryn are taller than Wales’ tallest building. And remember, the Meridian Tower is at sea-level, whereas these turbines, more than twice the height, will be on hills. Click to enlarge.

The Eiffel Tower, the Shard, local electricity pylons…..it was all a guessing game because of that lacking detail everyone so desperately needed. The reality is people can’t begin to envisage how these will look on top of their beautiful, lush green hills without appropriately designed graphic images, but what they can envisage is how detrimental and destructive these colossal chunks of steel will be to the area, perched on top of land that provides habitats for some of the country’s most cherished species of animals and birds, and who’s ecology contributes so much to an environment already facing a crisis that seems to know no bounds.

These surrounding areas have undergone a transformation in recent years, where the scars from coal mining and other heavy industrial activity have been eradicated and acceptably replaced by flora and fauna many now see as an extension to their own back gardens….except now people are envisaging morning coffee views that bring with them the hum of rotor blade activity drifting on the winds of change, and bringing with them the threats to communities and environments that mean so much more to the residents and villagers.

Many of the campaign group’s questions focus on the environmental impact of this proposal, but like so many other controversial proposals, the details are extremely vague to the extent that the credibility and the incentives of both development companies involved have to be seriously questioned.

For example, why is NRW, which is a public body, being permitted to freely auction off environmental spaces that mean so much to walkers and cyclists, not to mention the eco systems that dwell therein? Surely such activity should be overseen by Welsh Government, and surely they should be seeking authorisation from Y Senedd before putting public land up for tender?

Additionally, with the land proposed being of such historic interest, who at NRW first thought it to be an acceptable area for wind farm development? Heaven knows the importance the people of Port Talbot and Bridgend put on their green space where they are seen as byways that promote better mental and physical health and wellbeing. But, when questions regarding issues around Environmental Impacts, land suitability, sustainable long term employment opportunities, and community benefits are asked, answers are at best contradictory, if there are any answers at all.

The reality is, the Valleys and feeder regions have long been ignored by politicians and business leaders for the inward investment opportunities so desperately needed as a resolution to industry losses in sectors like coal and steel to name just two, and its the residents of those regions who have been expected to accept ‘poor relations’ subsidy programmes historically bestowed upon us by quangos like the Welsh Development Agency, which have then been passed off as ‘Tory Blue’ success stories.

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Nevertheless, the people of Port Talbot and Bridgend are no longer prepared to be overlooked, and they expect their voices to be heard on this proposal. As the campaign grows and gathers momentum, its members intend to battle on through a program of constructive research and fact-finding exercises whilst it develops a strengthening network of support that delivers positive responses on a daily basis, all driven by the members who BELIEVE wholeheartedly in this fight.

Its steering committee consists of intelligent individuals who are not only aware of the ‘due process’ proposals such as this one are expected to follow, but they are also creative and resourceful to boot. These are not a trigger-happy bunch of community gun-slingers, but instead they are community-spirited residents who are steadfast in their belief that whilst the world needs answers to the Climate Emergency that has been declared globally, there’s is a real suggestion colossal wind turbines are NOT a suitable on-shore solution due to the environmental devastation they can bring, and that a more strategic approach with joined-up thinking and measured risk analysis is needed in order to find a sustainable solution.

The area as it is today. Click to enlarge

As the first round of public consultations is assessed, initial feelings are very positive, especially when the main developer Coriolis is reporting an unexpected number of written objections as well as attendance to its public meetings.

The voice that is ‘STOP Y Bryn Onshore Wind Farm‘ is being heard, and the message it is portraying is reaching far and wide into the communities that stand to be affected by the development. The live Facebook broadcasts from Y Senedd protest have impacted not only on existing campaign group members, but they have touched corners of the community that have so far remained oblivious.

‘What next?’ they hear you ask…..quite simply, they continue to do what they have done so successfully thus far, which is working strategically but stealthily, using their resources and contacts collectively, and pooling their knowledge to lead a campaign that shows grit and determination that is so inherent in the people of Wales! Are you on board?

Cymru Am Byth. Together we are stronger

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