Tourism in Wales: problems, thoughts, suggestions

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I’m taking a break from the con men, fraudsters and assorted crooks who figure regularly here. But I’m not moving far, because this week I’m focusing on tourism operators, politicians and others who themselves have but a nodding acquaintance with the truth.

THE STORM BREAKS

One of the benefits of coronavirus and lockdown was the absence of tourists, and the joyous consequences of that absence. Such as much less traffic on our rural roads, fewer call-outs for our emergency services, and in all manner of ways making rural and coastal areas of Wales more pleasant for those who live there all year round.

Making recent months seem even more of a lost golden age has been the irruption of noisy, stupid and irresponsible tourists since lockdown was eased by our self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, bowing to pressure from the Conservative and Unionist Party and tourism operators.

There has inevitably been a reaction from local people to the return of the tourists in what have been, literally, overwhelming numbers. What you see below was the scene two weeks ago near Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

Click to enlarge

Much of the anger this has generated is directed at motorists, with many photos in print and online of inconsiderately parked cars. Which allowed some to argue that all would be well if we had bigger car parks to accommodate all the vehicles. Or even park and ride schemes.

Both of which ignore the real problem – many areas get more cars than the local road system can handle, and more people than the environment can cope with. I shall return to the environmental angle later.

Let’s also remember that the problems caused by tourism go way beyond traffic issues.

RESPONSES

Here’s a two-page spread from last Wednesday’s Llais y Sais, in which we read Councillor Gareth Thomas, Cyngor Gwynedd’s Head of Economical Development, opine that, despite the recent problems, tourism, “provides high quality jobs for local people as well as supporting the county’s environment, language, culture and destinations”.

“Destinations”?

Click to enlarge

I don’t know Gareth Thomas, he might be a great bloke, but anyone saying that tourism provides high quality jobs, and that it also supports the area’s environment, language and culture is talking absolute nonsense.

Yesterday’s Daily Post carried what might have been an attempt to retrieve the situation. (With first minister Drakeford not ruling out a tourism tax . . . sort of.) But did council leader Dyfrig Siencyn really say, as he is quoted: ” . . . our rural economy is totally dependent on the tourism industry”?

A fuller version of this article may have appeared in Llais y Sais, Read it here.

Perhaps hoping to establish its own credentials vis-à-vis tourism opposition group Llais Gwynedd also weighed in. For those unfamiliar with Llais Gwynedd (which has 6 councillors), it sees itself as perhaps more radical than Plaid Cymru, more rooted in the local communities of Gwynedd.

Its spokesman, Glyn Daniels, wants to charge hikers on Yr Wyddfa £1 per head. I don’t know Glyn Daniels either, but he’s also talking rubbish. At £1 per head the money raised wouldn’t be enough to cover the costs of collecting and processing it.

What’s more, it would not serve as a deterrent. And we need some kind of deterrent to reduce the numbers coming to areas like our national parks and other ‘honey pots’. To cover the costs mentioned, and put a decent amount into the communities affected, the charge would need to be a minimum of £10 a head.

In a Daily Post poll, more than 70% of respondents agreed there should be a charge.

Opposing Councillor Daniels’ suggestion to charge hikers was Brân Devey, of Ramblers Cymru, with a remark I found rather puzzling: “Local people will not go up Snowdon really in the summer, it is too busy”.

Is he saying we shouldn’t charge the people overcrowding Yr Wyddfa in summer because they’re not locals?

‘Ramblers Cymru’ is worth a little detour.

‘RAMBLERS CYMRU’?

You will remember that ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, Minister for Hippies in the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition 2007 – 2011, and midwife of One Planet Developments, was also Welsh vice-president of The Ramblers before stepping down in 2007, and then, as grough tells us, she rejoined as president when she departed Corruption Bay in 2011.

But of course she shunned The Ramblers, and the ramblers, while she was a minister.

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For some reason this second stint with The Ramblers is not mentioned in Davidson’s Wikipedia entry. (By the time you read it the page might have been re-written, again.)

Though it’s difficult to make out if there really is a group called Ramblers Cymru or, as the grough article I just linked to puts it, Davidson became “president of the Ramblers in Wales”.

The website, https://www.ramblers.org.uk/wales, suggests another Englandandwales organisation, for when you click ‘Home’ on the Wales page you go back to the UK site.

Which is appropriate, for most of those working for Ramblers Cymru have moved here to do jobs that are clearly beyond the abilities of Welsh people. Mainly women of the type who have flooded into Wales since devolution to run the hundreds of third sector bodies that the ‘progressive’ parties feel we can’t do without.

One, Maria Hamlett, says: “My background includes working in numerous third sector organisations in key governance roles”. While Amanda Hill has: “15 years experience working for Worcestershire County Council”. Rebecca Brough: “I have a background in policy influencing work in the governmental, charity and statutory sectors”.

Important points there. For the staff at Ramblers Cymru don’t restrict themselves to scolding a wicked farmer for leaving Berwyn the bull on the footpath, they also seek to influence policy-makers. Just as Jane Davidson did, before, during, and after her stint as a minister.

The people I’m describing do not represent – nor do they seek to represent – our interests. If Welsh interests are served then it’s entirely accidental or tangential. ‘Ramblers Cymru’ and similar organisations seek to curate (love that word!) our homeland for the benefit of others like themselves.

We have far too many colonialist organisations like ‘Ramblers Cymru’.

Because it is what it is no one should be surprised to learn that – just like ‘rewilders’ – The Ramblers demand that the ‘Welsh Government’ forces farmers to do their bidding or have their funding withheld.

Dontcha just love the term, ‘our land’. Another example of, ‘What’s yours is ours’.

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The Ramblers merit this digression because they see Wales as an area for recreation. For them Wales is not a different country; where people witness their language and identity, the country itself, being destroyed by saturation tourism.

What should also make you angry is that these memsahibs, based on Cathedral Road (ideal for rambling), and others just like them, have more influence in Corruption Bay than we poor natives will ever have.

WHAT THE POLITICIANS SAY

That ‘our’ politicians go along with ‘Playground Wales’ is easily explained.

The Labour Party, which has managed Wales since 1999, is an urban party with little concern for rural areas. Labour has no coherent economic plan for the countryside so pretending there is a ‘strategy for tourism’ is a useful way of disguising this inadequacy.

The truth is that tourism is unregulated; it just ‘happens’, and things would carry on in much the same way if the ‘Welsh Government’ fell into a wormhole and reappeared in some distant galaxy. (Stop dreaming!) Making bodies like Visit Wales little more than bystanders, pretending they do something more than organise beanos where they hand out awards and grants.

Click to read article and play video

One of the few things to be said in its favour is that tourism reveals the inconsistency, if not the hypocrisy, of the Labour Party.

Wales must be covered in wind turbines to save the planet, says Labour. For the same reason, OPDs must be allowed to impose their carbon footprint on previously unused land. Yet when our environment is trashed by tourist hordes on a regular basis Labour politicians are blind to the environmental damage!

Another example of Labour’s hypocrisy might be promoting renewable energy, saving the planet, and worrying about the underprivileged . . . while giving millions of pounds to Aston Martin to build £200,000 cars doing 12 miles to the gallon.

The ‘Welsh Government’s declaration of a climate emergency is just bullshit to explain away Wales being lumbered with the wind turbines English communities refuse to accept, and having to accommodate Jane Davidson’s friends.

The Conservative and Unionist Party (plus the fringe BritNats) will support tourism because they will never object to anything that both anglicises Wales and keeps money flowing back to England from staycations in Wales.

Blind, unthinking loyalty to tourism probably explains the comment, quoted in the North Wales Pioneer, from Darren Millar, the MS for Clwyd West, addressing Glyn Daniels’ pound a head suggestion. In Millar’s view, “This is a bad idea. Every pound charged will be a pound less for people to spend in the local economy”.

If Darren Millar had thought before speaking he’d have realised that every pound charged would be guaranteed to stay in the locality, unlike money taken in other ways.

What’s more, those who drive to Yr Wyddfa – to park here, there and everywhere – are often day-trippers, from Greater Manchester, Merseyside and towns nearby. Some will arrive having filled the fuel tank before leaving England, bring a packed lunch, and go home without spending a penny!

For the environmental damage alone, these buggers should be charged £20 a head.

While Plaid Cymru . . . well, what can I say? Plaid Cymru nowadays doesn’t give much thought to Wales. They’re too busy facing up to the fascist hordes they see advancing, outing terfs on social media, and planning more dirty tricks against Neil McEvoy.

Though maybe it’s best they stay schtum, because when they do address the subject – as we’ve seen with Gareth Thomas – they only confirm that they’ve lost the plot.

Whenever a political party, or a politician, says, ‘Wales needs tourism’ they are either lying or exposing their ignorance. The truth is only arrived at by reversing the phrase to read, ‘Tourism needs Wales’.

To conclude this section on a more optimistic note, Wales has two new political parties – Gwlad and the WNP – who I’m sure will take a more analytical, and patriotic, approach to tourism.

I expect both to demand a form of tourism that works for Wales, and the Welsh. Rather than what we suffer at present – an alien enterprise with Welsh people nothing but helpless bystanders as their country is trashed.

MAKING TOURISM WORK FOR US

Let me set out my stall . . .

  • I want to see an industry offering visitors from all over the world quality tourism.
  • An industry that provides business opportunities and well-paid, permanent  jobs for Welsh people.
  • An industry that benefits Wales and her people without the cultural, social and environmental damage currently being inflicted by tourism.

Here are just a few suggestions for achieving these objectives:

1/ Tourism tax: A minimum charge of £2 per head per overnight stay, including those in self-catering accommodation. This to be collected by the owner of the property or site and paid to the local authority.

This money will used in the areas from which it is collected or on capital projects of more widespread benefit. Why not consult local people on how they’d like to see it spent?

Tourism tax is raised everywhere and it benefits local communities. I recall Silvio Berlusconi having to pay a local tourism tax in Sardinia when he docked his luxury yacht, the Bunga Bunga.

2/ Caravan sites: These is no place for these blots on the landscape in a country promoting quality tourism in a respected environment. They offer holidays on the cheap and the money they put into the local economy is overstated. Very few jobs are created and the major beneficiary is the site owner, often a foreign company.

Caravan sites should be phased out over a period of ten years with no replacement ‘vans, cabins or lodges permitted. Thousands of acres could be returned to agriculture or Nature by getting rid of them.

Farmers and others should be allowed small sites of perhaps no more than 50 units.

To maximise tourism income, business opportunities and jobs we should strive to have as many people as possible staying in serviced accommodation.

3/ Raising standards: In New Zealand – a country with which we often like to compare Wales – they have a School of Tourism, operating on eight campuses throughout the country, internationally respected and offering a wide range of courses.

In Wales, all we do is teach Siôn and Sioned elementary catering skills at the local sixth form college so they can work for Kevin from Stockport who owns the local hotel . . . since he bought it off Keith and Sharon from Coventry. Kevin, of course, will have had no training.

Or it might be Paul and Rowena Williams at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor. Or their business partner, Myles Cunliffe. (‘Weep for Wales’ passim.) Or perhaps Siôn and Sioned can get a job at one of the hotels owned by Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

Or perhaps not, seeing as all the businesses owned by these crooks are closed and/or in the hands of receivers.

Which is why other countries insist on a proven level of proficiency, and background checks, before anyone is allowed to run a hotel. But here, money is all that matters. As long as you’ve got the dosh you can buy a five star hotel, and run it badly, thereby damaging the reputation of the locality, and Wales.

You can even buy a zoo without knowing anything about the care of animals!

4/ Permits: New Zealand provides another example worth following. (And NZ isn’t alone in this.) I’m referring now to limiting numbers visiting environmentally sensitive areas and issuing those visiting with permits.

If you live outside Wales and you want to go hiking in one of our national parks then you should pay £20 a year. For the three national parks you pay £50 a year. If the National Trust can charge us to visit sites in our own country, why can’t we do something similar and use the money for our benefit?

Again, the money raised would be used within the local area.

Click to read article

5/ Airports: You don’t need to go as far as New Zealand to realise the value of a good airport. Scotland is a much nearer example. Overseas tourists, high-spending overseas tourists, fly directly to Glasgow and Edinburgh. They do so all year round.

All we have is Cardiff airport, kept afloat by public money and still losing out to Bristol. We obviously need a new, more accessible airport in the south. We also need one in the north. Why not revamp Llanbedr airfield? It would be better to have overseas tourists flying in than to have the place used – as at present – for testing inaccurate drones that will wipe out wedding parties in Afghanistan.

Well-heeled foreign tourists flying in also offer opportunities for taxi and car hire firms.

6/ Public Transport: Overseas and other tourists not wanting to drive will need public transport. An integrated public transport system is therefore essential. This would have to include a north-south rail link.

The ‘Welsh Government’ has prevaricated for years over re-opening the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line. That’s because doing so would offer no obvious benefits to Cardiff or to England.

Yet you’d think that an administration dedicated to saving the planet would prioritise public transport. But no, and this lack of commitment to public transport – apart from the Cardiff Metro (to benefit the Cardiff economy not the environment) – is yet another example of Labour’s hypocrisy.

7/ Funding: A major obstacle to Welsh people getting involved in tourism – other than as cooks and cleaners – is a lack of finance.

The ‘Welsh Government’ could divert a portion of the funding it squanders on third sector memsahibs into a pot accessible to young Welsh people who’ve been through school, got a few years practical experience under their belts, and now need funding to branch out on their own.

I appreciate that this is not how tourism is supposed to operate in a colonial context, but what the hell – let’s give it a try!

8/ Touring caravans and Camper-vans: I’m throwing this one in more as a traffic safety measure and a means of lowering blood pressure, but it’s definitely related to tourism.

No towed caravans or camper-vans should be allowed on any public highway between the hours of 6am and 10pm.

CONCLUSION

Tourism in Wales can be summed up as hundreds of thousands of people driving east to west along overcrowded roads, congregating in unsustainable numbers at certain points, staying in the cheapest possible accommodation (if they stay at all), and spending as little money as possible before driving home. Each wave succeeded by the next, and each wave contributing to erosion.

So, what do you think – should we continue to accept ‘Tourism at any cost’?

I say no. I say we reject the idea that Wales exists to provide cheap holidays for our neighbours. Wales should not provide anything to anyone on the cheap.

But the political will must be there to make the necessary changes.

If the political will is absent then we as a nation have every right to defend ourselves from this exploitation of our homeland, this assault on our very identity.

♦ end ♦

 




111 thoughts on “Tourism in Wales: problems, thoughts, suggestions

  1. Red Flag

    Councillor Gareth Thomas, Cyngor Gwynedd’s Head of Economical Development, opine that, despite the recent problems, tourism, “provides high quality jobs for local people

    Total bollocks. Most tourist -related jobs are minimum waged and far too many are seasonal.

      1. Sion Blewyn Coch

        Agreed, Jac – of course he knows it’s bollocks. He’s in Gwynedd for fuck sake, that hot bed of manufacturing!! However, he’s obviously another twat who doesn’t want to talk himself out of a job. FFS the Economic development round here is shite, who’s fault is it….oh shit, I’m the Economic Development Manager.

        1. Conuts

          Absolutely true, net negative economic development in Gwynedd, and I would say across North Wales since I arrived in 2008.

          Shocking.

          Cheers Ken Skates!

      2. Steffan

        Just for accuracy’s sake, Jac, Ramblers Cymru’s office is not in leafy Cathedral Road, Cardiff but at the rather more basic Coopers Yard in Curran Road – just south of Cardiff Central train station. Definitely not worth hiking to in order to see the views. It won’t change your opinion about their employees as ‘memsahibs’, but it is more ‘bungalow’ than ‘Government House’, if we are to extend the Raj analogy probably a tad too far.

        I admire the radicalness of parts of your tourism manifesto and wait to see which of your punts for next May, Gwlad and the WNP, picks up and runs with some of your ideas.

        1. I definitely saw the Cathedral Road address somewhere. I found this on Google, but the link does not work. This address is the office of the union Unite, which is the Labour Party by another name, and confirms The Ramblers closeness to Labour.
          Ramblers Cathedral Road

      3. Dafis

        … especially coming from a man whose earnings are as secure as any and comfortably in the top 10%, possibly 5%, for the region. Must have enjoyed too many freebie lunches or spent too much time with well heeled second home owners.

      4. Brychan

        It’s not minimum wage. It’s legally below minimum wage. Young people in Gwynedd who are on universal credit have it stopped the day they start work at a seasonal tourist site. At end of season they then have to wait up to six weeks to get a universal credit when they are laid off for the winter. At least if you’re on minimum wage in a proper industry 52 weeks a year you get paid all year and you can do some kind of financial planning. You’d also then qualify for paid holiday, sick pay and maternity rights. This doesn’t happen with short term seasonal work. Cllr Gareth Thomas is a prick.

        1. Dafis

          Stop that Brychan, you know damn well that a prick has its uses. We are yet to see evidence of Cllr Thomas’ utility.

  2. Colin

    I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of shopping during lockdown but now with thousands of tourists about the prospect terrifies me, especially seeing as Mark Drakeford now strongly advises against travel to the north west of England but allows them all to flood over here for our benefit. Anyway shopping: on Sunday afternoon we went to Tesco Caergybi (I know) to collect an order, the girl who brought it was “proper Holyhead”, we were chatting about the customers in the store and she said “Dunno about you but I enjoyed the lockdown, it was proper lush”. It was, it reminded me of my childhood, quiet, no traffic, the only people I saw were those who knew me apart from a few (and it seemed too many then) second homers who sneaked in.

    One of the more surprising things of the lockdown was the total absence of seagulls, usually they’re everywhere being a pest but there were none to be seen, even as the first small steps were taken in the easing of it. Until the 5 mile limit was lifted and a week later campsites opened, then the buggers started coming back, why, because they chuck crap everywhere. 2 full weeks into campsites being open there is rubbish everywhere, dog shit bagged and un bagged left all over often within 20 paces of a bin. People are hugging and kissing people they haven’t seen since last year as if the last few months had never been. Pubs opened outside, they were packed, people forcing their way inside thinking they were open because they are in England. The police have given one a final warning over this but there’s nothing they could do to stop 50 people barging their way inside. OK so that is just a snapshot after the easing of the coronavirus restrictions but it it 100% typical of the general behaviour of tourists; we’re on holiday, everything is fine and we can do whatever we want!

    It is what tourism in general has become, Benidorm in Wales, Bournemouth or wherever they flock, disrespectful and damaging in every respect. Living in Rhosneigr pretty much all my life I’ve seen it grow from acceptable in the 60s, to unpleasant in the 70s to totally unacceptable now. Surely the industry can see what it has become? Surely local councils can see what it does to the areas?

    Another one to consider is “Wild Camping” Campervans and tents mostly but caravans as well in laybyes. We see a lot of that on the common here, I’ve seen campervan people emptying their toilets into the river once already this year, but most nights they are there so I suppose it happens every day.

    Campsite on farms, 50 units is a big site, I would say 20 max and some limit to the amount in any one area, maybe sizes agreed to spread the load around equally? If there were limits on the number of caravans allowed in an area then the amount on the roads would be reduced accordingly eventually anyway to save blood pressure problems.

    Bloody hell I like a holiday myself, maybe being at the receiving end of it we do act respectfully when we go and we tend to go off the beaten track, France mostly, so far we have always been made welcome, being “Galles” must help but we’ve even been invited for a meal at a perfect strangers home which shows that tourism shouldn’t be the way it is here today; I think anyway.

    Whatever, something needs to be done, what happened at Pen y Pass recently is beyond, the very fact that these idiots don’t see what is wrong with their behaviour beggars belief. Again I love the hills myself, we used to be regulars but about 15 years ago it started getting busier and busier so we eventually stopped going because the very heart of the place had been trampled over. Gareth Wynn Jones the farmer from Llanfairfechan has ranted more than once this spring and summer already about broken gates and clowns thinking they had the right to drive across his land in their 4 wheel drives. Quite how you can regulate the number of people in the national parks I don’t know, double yellow lines, pre booking with a charge with specific car parks out of the area, towing away or clamping enforcements being widespread? God knows the answer seems as bad as the problem but something should be done to protect the land, the roads etc. All that needs paying for too, it’s only right that the people who use and abuse the parks should foot the bill if you ask me not the rest of the population who just don’t bother going there anymore because of the crowds.

    1. The legacy of coronavirus in Wales could be a re-evaluation of the role and benefit of tourism. In the past few days it has become clear that more politicians are accepting that the current model is unsustainable.

      1. Colin

        It’s likely to get a lot worse before it gets any better or begins to. Can we honestly see Welsh labour, Tories or Plaid standing up to the industry or even having a serious thought about it’s consequences over the coming years? I doubt any of us can or if they do most of us would be shocked enough to have to take a seat and grab a quick panad. You’re more likely to see the richer second home owners saying well this has turned into a steaming pile and bugger off somewhere else first before the entire coastline of Wales resembles Rhyl on a rainy Tuesday morning before they actually wake up

        I don’t even think those that have been questioning the current model actually see the effect of it, certainly not like those who are planted firmly in the middle of it like it or not. Gareth Thomas’ statement to Llais y Sais (I think it was?), in what world could tourism bring high status jobs and promote the language and culture? It’s so far off the mark I wonder it that was a huge typo/misquote, surely to God no one ever could believe it possible? Tourism could be so much more, it could I can’t see any real changes on the horizon any time soon even if one or two are taking notice, another month or so it will be forgotten about until next spring. I’m afraid I have lost all faith in any level of government in this country to do the right thing.

        The difficult decision will be for someone to stand up and say enough is enough instead like of Rhun ap Iorwerth of congratulating the likes of the Timpsons for buying back the Oyster catcher and employing a bunch of import criminals again for rehabilitation cheap labour of whatever they want to call it. Eee by eck, int tourim grand! I guess we will need to wait for Gwlad or the WNP for that decision? Sooner the better!

      2. Jonesy

        Excellent points made in your article. Most EU countries raise a local tourist tax and we pay it without quibbling. Many National Parks in the Americas make you pay up front gor a permit…and we still visit

  3. Dafis

    Jac says – “If you live outside Wales and you want to go hiking in one of our national parks then you should pay £20 a year. For the three national parks you pay £50 a year. If the National Trust can charge us to visit sites in our own country, why can’t we do something similar and use the money for our benefit?”

    I agree although we might wish to apply that fee to people already resident here in Wales too and levy say twice that figure for visitors from outside of Wales.

    Why ? Well my casual observations suggest that native visitors are just as bloody dirty and inconsiderate as many of those from further afield. They need just as much cleaning up after themselves and just as likely to call upon the blue light services or be pulled by the local police.Recent experience in North Wales may well be down to nitwits from Cheshire hitting the coast, but here in South Wales most of our dirty visitors come from our inland communities. The inability to pick up ones own litter is our pandemic, recently extended to taking a shit in someone’s drive or garden. Perhaps they should learn to contain it or carry special dogshit bags for adults !

    1. You have a point. Maybe the comment from Jeremy Wood offers a suggestion with three levels of payment – foreigner, Argentine, local, with locals paying the least, or perhaps not being charged at all.

  4. Yann Maenden

    A very good article – except for the patently childish – “To conclude this section on a more optimistic note, Wales has two new political parties – Gwlad and the WNP”

    A hibernating hedgehog has more political influence than those two ever will.

    They’re just the usual pop-up anti-Plaid parties driven by somebody with a chip on the shoulder.

    1. Yes, there have other attempts to challenge Plaid; the difference this time is that Plaid has never before been in the mess it’s in today. On the one hand, it has a figurehead leader, yet the party’s direction of travel is still decided by the wokie followers of the deposed leader. On top of which, the more ‘traditional’ wing – quoted in this piece – believes we can’t live without tourism. If that’s true, then Wales is finished.

      Neither wing of Plaid Cymru offers 90% the Welsh people leadership or inspiration. That’s why the time has never been more propitious for challengers.

      Though I bow to your knowledge on hibernating hedgehogs.

    2. Sion Blewyn Coch

      I’d like to be able to take politicians at face value. If the new Gwlad/WNP prove themselves then great, if not then it’s just the same old shit. I think people like McEvoy should be given a chance and if he proves he’s up to the job and looks after the needs of his constituents, then great. If not and he joins in the lies of all the others and fails to deliver then I suppose there’s nothing lost by letting him have a go. I certainly can’t agree with Plaid trying to blindside someone merely because they perceive them as a threat…..not very socialist that.

      The quality of politicians in Wales is awful. At least across the border most of them are educated with some sort of professional background. We just have third rate morons with Honourary qualifications ffs, take a bow Dr Jane. I’d be fuckin embarrassed to use an honourary qualification. She’s the worst sort, who started off across the border, couldn’t cut it and then popped over here to show us how it should be done, all in the interest of feathering her own nest/Yurt. Disgrace.

      1. I would suggest that Neil McEvoy has been ‘proving himself’ for a few years on Cardiff city council and in the Senedd. That he keeps being attacked by Labour-Plaid would confirm this for many people.

        1. Colin

          How Neil is still standing after the crap and conniving shit he has had to put up with is beyond me let alone still plugging at his job like a true fighter, he must be rocking the apple cart something awful down there and good for him! If Cardiff bay had a few more like him this country would be in much better shape.

          Plaid, I would rather vote labour than them to be honest, I least Labour are open about being pro union and don’t sell us out with lies and bollocks

    3. Dafis

      Jac commented “To conclude this section on a more optimistic note, Wales has two new political parties – Gwlad and the WNP – who I’m sure will take a more analytical, and patriotic, approach to tourism.”

      You may well prefer to take the piss about that remark, but having spent 50 + years of my life tracking the weak and wobbly track record of Plaid Cymru I am dead pleased to see some new political parties adopting a more grounded and sincere stance on the whole range of challenges that confront our nation.

      If your hibernating hedgehog party ( not a bad description of Plaid Cymru by the way, prickly but not known to go on the offensive often) continues as the primary Nationalist opposition to the colonialist cluster of Unionist parties then the eradiction of any separate identity will be completed in due course. It will mean almost total assimilation, Cheshire will extend to Ynys Enlli and the West of England will reach Fishguard and the entire southwest coast.

  5. Neil Singleton

    According to a usually reliable source, it is understood that the litigation whereby Welsh “Government” (WG) was suing Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), alleging incompetence and conflict of interest in the notorious RIFW scandal, has been quietly settled before trial, Notwithstanding that WG was deprived of sums exceeding £100 million, with 18 parcels of land being sold at considerably less than it’s actual value, without being put out to tender and with LSH acting for WG and the purchasers, the sum being sued for was £15 million. LSH ‘s professional indemnity insurers are rumoured to have done a deal “at the doors of the court” for considerable less than £15 million. It expected that the “arrangements” will be concealed in a Non Disclosure Agreement.

    1. I would not deal with Lambert Smith Hampton under any circumstances. It was almost certainly one of their employees/partners who facilitated the mortgage fraud perpetrated by Paul and Rowena Williams.

  6. Here in Patagonia everyone pays to enter a national park. There are three levels – locals, Argentineans and foreigners. Most other tourist attractions charge non-Argentineans more.

    I remember, on another note, a few years ago, I met the delegation of MPs on a trip here. The visit was arranged by David Davies. I gave a long list of how these Welsh MPs could help us in Patagonia. One of the key issues was tourism. It is the dream of all Welsh Patagonians to visit Wales and, while they may be able to scrape enough money together to fork out for the air fare, they typically can’t afford the very high charges of even the most basic B&B in Wales. So, I proposed that the Tourism Authority in Wales invest very little money in setting up a database of people in Wales who would offer no-cost or low-cost accommodation for Welsh speaking Patagonians. David Davies introduced me to the head of the Authority who organised a meeting in Cardiff with some Welsh Government officials who were “very keen to promote tourism in Wales to Patagonia”. Not only did they poo-poo my proposal, saying that they did not have the resources to properly verify that all the Welsh people offering this accommodation had the appropriate facilities (and suitable health and safety, of course), but they also proposed absolutely no other solution specific to Patagonians.

    1. I’m sure Argentina represents the norm, rather than being the exception. Which David Davies are you referring to?

        1. Dafis

          Davies is by no means perfect but on balance a useful bloke considering his party and his constituency. Has worked on his Welsh which doesn’t get him many brownie points in that part of Wales but he got stuck in. Prepared to take a stand on matters, not just by queitly distancing himself from the mainstream. He pipes up and gives it straight, not always to my liking, but so what ? On the other hand there’s a guy around here who’s about as deeply into bullshit as I can imagine, thinks he has a divine right to a separate set of rules yet belongs to a socialist party. Total fuckin’ sham. No prizes for guessing who that is.

            1. David Davies always struck me as someone who’s difficult to label. He is or was a part-time cop, I’ve seen photos of him with the gloves on, so he believes in getting out of the political bubble. He’s a staunch Unionist, but unlike many of that persuasion he is not anti-Welsh, he doesn’t dismiss all expressions of Welsh identity as ‘ugly nationalism’. And of course, he’s taught himself Welsh.

              Maybe he’s one of those people – and he’s not alone in the Conservative Party – who is genuinely proud to be both Welsh and British, but of course the former must always be subordinate to the latter.

              1. David Smith

                My take on these “Welsh AND British” types, if I can lump an entire demographic in a pigeonhole just for the purposes of making this point, is that they’re not the most ‘outside the box’ of thinkers. Otherwise, why else would they deal in such rigid, inflexible terms, in that there needs to be a unitary British state to have a British identity?

                In my own head I’ve come up with four (count ’em, FOUR!) sort of ‘types’ of Britishness. The first and most glaring is the good old, GSTQ, By Jingo!, Two World Wars and One World Cup sort of Anglosupremacist shite that we all know and abhor, that which Gwynfor nailed in its cultural expansionism into neighbouring nations and of course beyond. That of the red white and blue stardust which every crafu tîn Pet Taff aspires to have rubbed off on them by their betters, who are in reality laughing their bollocks off at them. This archetype is personified by a bloke I know in Holyhead who drives a bus down the port, who turns up at the Chester races proud as punch in his very best UJ blazer, and in doing so summarily rubs out the purpose of satire and parody of his kind.

                There’s the statutory Britishness upheld by citizenship and nationality law, which is what it is, for the time being I do hope. Then there’s the two Britishnesses (sp?) I embrace. There’s that by virtue of our descent as a nation from the Celtic Britons who once were sole custodians of this island, and the unbroken continuation of that lineage, as manifested in all corners in ancient legends, placename etymologies and the like. And finally there’s the immutable and inescapable fact that regardless of its political makeup, we will all still share this island and that will always confer a shared identity. As for this last one, I’ll never concede in any debate that we need the straitjacket of this ghastly, anachronistic and no longer fit for purpose construct called the United Kingdom to maintain it.

                1. ‘British’ is obviously a difficult term for any Welsh person wanting independence who is also conscious of their history and their true heritage. Until a few centuries ago the English still used it to describe us and our language.

                  But the point I was making about David Davies and his type of ‘Welsh and British’ is that they don’t entirely reject Welshness. They believe it’s perfectly possible to be both Welsh and British, seeing one as a component part of the other. Their position is exposed somewhat when English expansionism and colonisation threatens to destroy Welsh identity. Not speaking out in this context tells us that one is obviously more important than the other.

                  This kind of position has traditionally been more obvious, and sustainable, in Scotland, where ronk Unionists are still fiercely protective of Scots Law and the other institutions that differentiate Scotland because they are protected by the Act of Union. A Union that recognises Scotland as a separate and distinct country.

                  Another kind of ‘Welsh and British’ we encounter in Wales is the Owen Edwards strain, still evident in Plaid Cymru. This seeks a Union that respects Welsh cultural distinctions, but often rejects political nationalism or independence. Essentially, cultural nationalism. But for this to be credible England must play ball. Introducing legislation in London (or Cardiff) to protect the Welsh language is one thing, but then to undermine the language with saturation tourism, immigration, holiday homes, a lack of decent jobs in Welsh-speaking areas, these all make a nonsense of any legislation and expose the British state’s true regard for things Welsh.

                  Ultimately, unless the Welsh and British position is founded on the historical reality – understood by too few people today – any claim to being Welsh and British is a form or deception, invariably exposed by pressure that requires a choice between the two. Because if push comes to shove, how many of our ‘Welsh and British’ choose Wales?

                  1. David Smith

                    Jac, the sort of ‘token’ Welshness within the sphere of Britishness you describe is 100% on the money, and it is a manifestation of the inescapable fact that within a British state, England will always, for now until forever, dominate proceedings. She is, in an almost literal (yet still allegorical) sense, the elephant in the room. Indeed it wouldn’t be fair to impose our will on an equal basis to that of England. The UK as a state can only, perpetually exist in two forms, unitary-wise, i.e. pre-1999, or as we are now, which has English nationalists moaning about their own “Oppression”. You also resonate with your discussion on how ‘British’ has been appropriated. How many from Ystrad Clud to Ceint will ever know the history of the lands in which they live?

      1. Dafis

        Damn I just sprung a rib ! Ian is dead funny, that deadpan ironic delivery takes him straight into the Frankie Boyle league.

  7. Brychan

    Static Caravans.
    http://campsites.s3.amazonaws.com/original/4d/47/f3/2500-whiteford-bay-leisure-park-96-1465052430.jpg

    These all need to be removed from the Welsh landscape. They are not really ‘caravans’ in that they have no wheels and are delivered by lorry. Often used as a council tax dodge under the month vacate planning loophole, each unit needs to have council a council tax banding applied soon after the 2021 election. The occupiers of these blots are a burden we can ill afford. They pay nothing into the local economy. Wales does not owe you a living, pay up or fuck off.

    Touring Caravans.
    http://i1.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article4988414.ece/alternates/s615/PAY-Caravan.jpg

    Again, the occupiers of these pay nothing into the local economy, and even worse, cripple the roads in Wales when people who do pay their way need to get to work. As an immediate law change, these should be classified as an articulated trailer and banned from driving on any lane other than the inside one on all motorways, expressways and duel carriageways. These are particularly damaging to the environment as they need a 2-3lite engine of a car to tow, a vehicle which is then polluting the rest of the year when not towing.

    Motorhomes.
    https://cdn3.park4night.com/lieu/61301_61400/61398_gd.jpg

    These are actually beneficial because there is an indigenous out of season storage industry that does not blot the landscape. Being a self contained vehicle they also pay full vehicle tax and insured. They also present the best opportunity for revenue in the form of designated ‘aires’, parking spaces run by local authorities like in France that can charge giving municipality direct income as well as sale of metered electrical hook-up, water metre charging and sewage tank disposal. They are also most suited to farmyard standings, and being motorised the sites can be away from beauty spots and utilise old industrial locations. There are also opportunities for indigenous rental businesses, like in New Zealand, where statics and tourers are banned.

    Conclusion.
    If we penalise the first two types and promote the third, there will not only be a boost to indiginous businesses but also a degree of upmarket displacement. It’s also much easier to ‘police’ a motor vehicle, like traffic banning orders when certain locations become saturated. There are other benefits, as in Norway where ‘aires’ are located in towns where the electric hookups can be used, on local tariff, for electric cars. Also, statics and tourers are captive markets for site operators, motorhomes, by definition, move about when on holiday so are far more likely to patron outside indigenous businesses.

    All this is already within the legislative competence of the Welsh Government or relevant local authorities.

    1. Another issue with static caravans, chalets, etc is that people live in them all year round without authorities knowing. This ‘hidden’ population often comes to light from comparing who’s registered with the local doctor with who’s paying council tax or who’s on the electoral register.

    2. Sion Blewyn Coch

      Caravans, the bane of the A55. All cars have to have their tyres up to scratch, or the Heddlu are all over you…..caravans? when do they have their tyres checked??? Everytime I see a broken down Saes caravan it’s a blown tyre on the van….not the blackened window Range Rover that causes the problems.

  8. Sion Blewyn Coch

    If, as “they” say (whoever they are) we get the politicians we deserve, then we’re up shit creek (no, not the new holiday adventure park being promoted by Bear Shit…where he teaches you how to wipe your arse on a dock leaf for £500)

    1. Ap Ioan

      Why not double or triple the price of a pitch on Caravan and Camp sites. It will put off the tripers who don’t want to spend money on anything other than a bag of chips and an Ice cream. Site owners then don’t loose out, and will lead to better and cleaner experience for everyone.
      Can we work with our Cousin’s in Kernow, who are struggling with the same Saturation Tourism? Second Home owners who are claiming Grant’s to keep them afloat, fraudulently, stealing from those who need it.
      I don’t agree with Brychan. Camper Vans are a blot on the landscape, with lots of them parking in public carparks, and blocking lanes, paying no site pitch fees. Filling litter bins and putting pressure on Local Authorities, who have to clean up after them. Visit Wales, early this year, ran an advertisement for Good old Camper Vans, bring your own food, get drunk and don’t pay anything, good times.
      Gower is over run with them, parking on double yellow lines for weeks. Rob Stewart, should take action, but shits himself when asked to do something.

  9. John Ball

    Annwyl Jac

    Two quick thoughts.

    Today’s Nation Cymru carries an article by the Plaid Cymru MS for Arfon bemoaning the loss of Welsh place names and their replacement with English.
    A while ago the Assembly (as it then was) discussed a motion with a view to legislation on ending this practice. It was supported by UKIP (yes!) and I believe some Tories. Half the Plaid Group didn’t turn up.
    About that time there was something of a wider debate on tourist taxes. A photo appeared in the press of the charismatic Plaid Cymru Assembly member for Ceredigion standing alongside an English caravan site owner who had been very busy pointing out that such a tax would kill tourism…..
    You couldn’t make up such duplicity…..

      1. Dafis

        The old chestnuts about “dead sheep” might be back in vogue too especially as the lady likes her woolly jumpers.

  10. Welsh Political Leaders and Tourism Operators need to check this out about Kenya’s Nairobi National Park admission fees, as my basic arithmetic is rusty, and it can fluctuate daily with currency rates. It can all be found on Google. Corrections welcome. Here they are approximately:-
    Resident Kenyan Adult £3 and Non Resident Kenyan £25. This is based purely on proven residency identity. These prices are generally quoted in Kenyan Shillings and US Dollars as per exchange rate on the day that you visit and they need juggling in to £ Pounds Sterling as above.

    1. Dafis

      That 8 and a bit to 1 ratio sounds very commendable. Lob it over to the local authorities and parks authorities so that they can spend time contemplating it before binning it. No guts, no will to raise their own funds. Much prefer moaning about underfunding, blah blah and waving of begging bowls. Only government action will do and even they are partial to ducking such issues even when the answers are self evident.

      1. Brychan

        Almost all local authorities in Wales now has ANPR at entry points to recycling facilities and charge a commercial fee for entry is you’re ‘out of county’, or turn the vehicle away. Same should apply at Capel Curig, Dyffyrn Ogwen and Nant Peris. The technology is there, but not yet the will. Other possible sites – Slip road at Abergwyngregin, Sycnant Pass at Dwygyfylchi, Great Orme, Llandudno, Crafnant, up from Trefriw, and sites such as Nantlle, and Abergynolwyn. It’s exactly what they do to Welsh tourists to London.

  11. Fourth of August 2020. Just drawn to my attention by a contact in Ceredigion:- this below is still online – from Switzerland this time – have they read her Research Thesis?

    Dr. Jane Davidson | IofCwww.iofc.ch › dr-jane-davidson
    Dr Jane Davidson is Vice President for Sustainability and Engagement at the University of Wales and in 2017 become an associate faculty member at Harvard …

    1. Sion Blewyn Coch

      Mildred Mitty, that’s what she is………don’t see Billy Connolly calling himself Dr, even though he’s got honourary qualification(s).

      She just used the WA to raise her profile and mug the people off for what she could. All this recycling she’s responsible for,well done Dr Jane, how much of it is actually recycled and how much is just sent abroad….to pollute somewhere else. Self serving twat, fuck off back over the border with your OPDs

      1. Wrexhamian

        I’ve been monitoring the the reaction to her book on the ‘sustainability initiative’ (i.e. OPDs and hippy lebensraum) on her Amazon.co.uk page. Two unflattering reviews, which led to a barrage of reviews praising the book (and her policies) to the skies, My guess is she made a few desperate phone calls to friends, asking them to rally round…

  12. David Smith

    I thought it might be worth mentioning, to the aid of future prodding endeavours at the very least, that anyone can access any version of any Wikipedia article, even deleted articles if you do a bit of digging. Alongside these comprehensive logs, other article metadata are freely available on the site, such as talk page conversations and side-by-side comparisons of article versions, known to us computer nerds as Diffs.

    Mike Parker’s ‘Neighbours from Hell?’ nails the tourism problem; despite being a 13 year old book, little seems to have changed since. Have you had a read of it? If not, I can’t recommend it enough.

  13. Brychan

    A motorhome or camper van is a motor vehicle. If they are parked on a double yellow they commit the same offence as any other motor vehicle. That’s just lack of enforcement by the council. I wonder how many Swansea traffic wardens actually do a days patrol in Oxwich or Rhosili or Llangennith? As we have seen in the north when GogPlod hit Pen-y-Pass, the enforcement of obstruction is not only effective, but pays for itself.

    I also think you are wrong about ‘local spend’.

    A caravan is parked for the duration, a captive asset for the park operators. The very USP of a motorhome is that it’s mobile. Users of them tour around and in doing so spend widely. It’s increasingly the case that city dwellers, especially like London, do not own a regular vehicle but would own a motorhome. These is a market in out-of-season storage. This requires annual maintenance, a storage fee, and of course do not drive in and then out of Wales. They can even arrive inbound by train and pick up their winter valeted vehicle at the train station.

    Here is an example.
    https://www.safeandsecurestorage.co.uk/services/caravan-motorhome-storage.html

    With a static or holiday park the jobs are floor mopping and pillow stuffing on minimum wage. Their cars are serviced in Wolverhampton. With a motorhome storage business the vehicle mechanic and structural fitter, properly paid jobs, is employed locally all year round. It’s also the case that motorhomes elongate the season, in a way that a week at the beach does not.

    Yes. Public car parks should be used by motorhomes. It’s not free. It’s a motor vehicle. You charge accordingly, and the revenue goes direct to the council. The fee should be double a normal vehicle, in a spot that would otherwise be empty overnight, or occupied by a day visitor car. You double the income from the same space and direct all the cash earned to pay for local services. You prevent them stealing local parking by having am area restricted with height barriers, something you cannot do with visitors who are staying in static’s or toured caravans.

    You make a point about litter bins. Think about it. A motorhome has a chemical toilet, and no access to holiday park toilet blocks if they choose to be mobile. The motorhome owner has to do empty the cartridge at a municipal dump spot, that’s where they pay a fee to the council and also use the bins provided.

    https://greatershepparton.com.au/assets/files/images/tourism/dump_point_symbol.png

    There is a quality difference too. A caravan or static visitor eats at the drive through McDonalds. Someone who owns or hires a £65k vehicle (yes, that’s how much they cost) cannot access such facilities (height barriers) and are more likely to use local quality restaurants. The challenge for tourism in Wales is to up-market the offer. At the other end of the spectrum, there is also the fact that one of the pressures we face is holiday cottages. A quality motorhome offer (can be hire like New Zealand) is an alternative to this and takes away housing pressure by offering alternative option to the wealthier visitor.

    Look at the number plates. Those pulling a caravan will be English. Those in motorhomes are often French, Dutch, German etc, usually with bikes strapped to the back. They don’t need to park at Rhosili or Tenby. Swansea and Kilgetty will do, paying the council. It’s a different type (less damaging) of tourist, more available to off-peak utilisation.

    Unlike a static or parked-up tourer caravan. You can’t get drunk in a motorhome. By definition, that’s drink driving. Easy catch, and traffic police can move on any anti-social in minutes. We need practical solutions.

    1. Colin

      Sounds like you have a motorhome or campervan Brychan? We have a campervan too just for disclosure.

      In an ideal world you’re right but it’s not an ideal world most of the time, there can be a lot of bad practice from some owners especially when they wild camp, we see it quite often, litter, emptying toilets at he side of laybys etc. Look at Scotland where it is legal, it winds the local population up quite often, they drive past at night pipping their car horns in defiance etc, again take a walk 50 yards from those places and you’re likely to find signs of someone’s toilet being emptied at some time. The minority as always spoiling it I suppose, the lack of any municipal servicing areas doesn’t help but still.

      The Aires on the continent are brilliant, I’m surprised they haven’t caught on over here. But as for using the local shops etc I’m not sure that many do, we try to but often local knowledge or lack of it leaves us short and we have to resort to the supermarkets which isn’t much use to the locals, maybe some signage in those Aires would help? In principle yes I agree with you, motorhomes are probably better than caravans for promoting spending in the local economy it certainly seems to work in France and Italy, Spain on the other hand seem the complete opposite and make it more difficult for them. They can be bloody big things, the very last thing you’d be wanting to meet on a smaller road. If you were going to have them then I believe it should be made easier for them to do it properly and in limited numbers and actively enforce a ban on wild camping.

      The trouble is camping in “Britain” is a very different thing to camping in France, here it’s often (not always obviously) a cheap means of holiday for the dregs of society but over there it’s a peaceful, sociable family experience. I live right opposite a large camping site and next to a large static site, I see the negative side an a daily basis, I spend half the summer picking it out of my garden. It could be so much better for us but it needs very careful regulating and statics, there’s no place for them in my opinion

      1. Brychan

        Colin.

        I also had a motorhome a few years back, as a working away option. Key of my experience is the cost of fuel. A 200 mile trip on a motorway costs a fortune so actually, storage businesses like those I highlight in my previous comment is a win, win. For the vehicle owner they save hundreds of pounds on fuel, and the cash is diverted to the local economy for out-of-season storage and servicing.

        In the Scottish highlands, distances are far greater than in Wales, so they do have an assumed permission policy of ‘wild camping’. Scottish planning system is different; they have effectively banned ‘static’ sites. Also towed caravans is more Rhyl and Blackpool than Cairngorm and Trossachs. I do suggest the same for Wales, only we have saturation footfall, which make aires more profitable for local authorities. The remoter parts of Scotland does not.

        The issue of ‘dumping a chemical toilet’ is solved with aires. You have to fill up the water tank, and a plug in to recharge the leisure battery (extra revenue) at the same time. Airs do not need to be green fields on the coast, but converting brownfield sites inland in towns. I doubt if they’d pay for a recharge and top up, then deliberately drive off to dump the toilet tank later. They do it in one hit, down the septic drain.

    2. Ap Ioan

      Yes Brychan, lots of Motorhomes are beautiful especially the ones from Europe. You only have to go to Cross hands, to see the quality.
      However, much of what we see around here, have been picked up cheep on Gumtree, or even worse, home made from old Vans. You saw the sort of thing that was towed away last weekend. Not subjected to much maintenance and just about scraps through an MOT every year. And stored at the owners home.
      As for Parking. I have been working at Oxwich, this week and the same Camper Vans have been there all week. We have a family business producing sea food and we can collect every day, depending on the tide. Litter bins, full of household wast.
      Parking Enforcement, nonexistent. They do know the way to Caswell, but after that, I think they get lost. Porteynon is another easy opportunity for Parking Enforcement, with Vans along the way to the Slip. There’s a registered Campsite over the hedge, but they don’t want to pay for that.
      I agree with you, that High End Tourism benefits Wales and the Europeans are prepared to pay. But will the impression of the mess left around by the scrap Vans, will make them want to return?

      1. Brychan

        Ap Ioan

        The road to Oxwich needs bollards. Same with Rhosili. I’d displace those motorhomes to that patch off Oystermouth Road next to city hall, then run a rounder bus with cycle space, commercially. Swansea, Mumbles, Langland, Oxwich, Rhosili, Langennith, Penclawdd, Gowerton, Swansea.

        You make good point about ‘older vehicles’, however, because they are vehicles, rather than a towed trailer, they have to pass the MOT to go on the road, so each year there’s a natural ‘cull’.

        The thought stuck me when Jac forecast this weeks topic.

        In Porth Tywyn (Burry Port) there’s a aire, run by the harbour/marina. It has room for 20 to 25, charge £9 a day, which is usually a tenner as a quid goes to the RNLI lifeboat next door. As I cycle past regularly I notice that the season isn’t just summer. It’s open used from early spring to late autumn. Motorhome onsite means their paying each day. In fact the income derived rescued the toilets, now open again after CCC dumped then on the town council.

        Not far away at Penbre (Pembrey) there’s a static park, occupying a huge acreage, permanently. An eyesore of fake verandas, and deck chair wrinklies holding Daily Mails. Most are unoccupied for most of the year. Unoccupied means zero local spend. Those that are occupied for 11months a year are mainly English pensioners dodging council tax.

        I can see the contrast between these sites, first hand.

        As electric cars become more popular in cities, they don’t have the range to get to Wales, certainly not towing a caravan. The replacement option for the wealthier will be a motorhome, stored and maintained in Wales, even SORN for winter. I also think that SUVs and 4*4s to become horrendously expensive to keep in the next 20years, a vehicle that only has one practical use, to tow a caravan to Wales. There are two divergent options in the market emerging. Static/cottage or alternatively go motorhome with local storage. That’s what we need to address.

        A new government of 2021 needs a proactive solutions.

  14. John Ball

    Oops! Just for clarification, I should have used italics or quotation marks; my “charismatic” comment was supposed to be sarcastic.
    The previous response about using italics was from me; I’m not anonymous – didn’t press the correct key….
    Hwyl!!!

  15. Jonathan Edwards

    Writing from Dinas in Pembs, on the A487, an area big in tourism, its been interesting to see a sharper line being drawn. Local people more conscious of (a) Clawdd Offa = cops at St.Clears etc and (b) there can be life without tourism. Not worked through, but something has definitely shifted. Warning, tourism is bad for another reason not mentioned above. It feeds the second home culture. They come, they see and (being English and hard-wired this way) they want to acquire, own and hold. And then rule. Yes Pembs has a 2nd home tax. And yes we need a tourism tax. I’d suggest a Channel Is type 2-tier property market, but something grates. Pembs already has a housing market with a tier of property based on a Londoner’s ability to pay. And a caste of Archers listener retirees who suppress the economic dynamism locally.

  16. Anonymous

    CLIVE,
    Jac,i’ve followed your online blog for many years and generally,agree with much you have to say.
    However,i believe your latest comments regarding Ramblers Cymru are unfair and unjustified.
    I have been a member of The Ramblers for many years and together with many of my walking friends was born and brought up locally.
    Our pleasure is walking in the countryside and enjoying the beauty and tranquillity that the wide open spaces provide.
    Our organization lobbies governments for better access and protection of our public paths just as others such as The Country Landowners Association, National Farmers Union and Farmers Union of Wales protect their members interests.
    All land is owned by someone and while most landowners have no problem with responsible access to their land some are all too ready to show their hostility by threatening physical violence towards walkers.
    Our public rights of way are a precious asset which have existed for hundreds of years and deserve protection.
    Our countryside would be far poorer without them.
    Regarding your broader point of charging for access i generally agree as,with the access to social media our most popular areas are now in danger of being destroyed.
    I walked in a less popular area of Pont Nedd Fechan last Sunday with my daughter but parked my car near The Angel Pub.
    The number of visitors and cars had created total mayhem when we returned there mid afternoon.
    Pen y Fan likewise is not a place we visit these days owing to the numbers of people.
    I believe therefore that mass tourism is an issue that Welsh Government and the National Parks need to address as a matter of urgency.

    1. I understand what you’re saying, and you seem to be agreeing with me. Appreciate that my beef is not with ramblers but with Ramblers. They send in staff from England to run the show in Wales, and they seem to be in tune with George Monbiot and his rewilders who want to take over the Welsh countryside. And if that happens, you won’t be rambling anywhere. You’ll either be shot on sight as a trespasser or else you’ll be attacked by a bloody lynx.

      1. Brychan

        Some ramblers think they have issue with cows. Bison are on the way. Same re-wilding route as Konik horses. Both non-native to these Islands.

  17. RAMBLING in the countryside (and even in towns) is a very interesting form of exercise on our long established Rights of Way network and it’s to be encouraged, but is has its dark side. I refer to Towny Outsider Politicians who want to bulldoze through the countryside with re-wilding and creation of new paths that pillage and plunder through farm land. A really bad example is where Dr? “Who” PhD? was the mother of sections of the Coastal Path that’s created havoc for the business of a Gwbert farmer. Not content with that the eminent Dr? “Who” PhD? also gave birth to these follies for Off Grid good lifer people in ‘One Planet’ hovels. With so many Doctorate references I think we should all in future on this BLOG, and elsewhere forthwith, only refer to her as EDNA MITTY (the mother of Walter Mitty) to highlight the myths of these claimed Doctorates without any Research evidence. OK. So, from now on she should become EDNA MITTY.

  18. Dafis

    I notice that we have had some flooding again in the Rhondda despite relatively modest rainfall compared to earlier in the year. Patently obvious that joined up thinking doesn’t get a look in. As Jac rightly cites, PenyCymoedd Wind Farm has much to answer for. In addition local authorities, particularly RCT, need to get their fingers out and clear the drains while NRW need to map out clearly and deliver what’s needed to mitigate the negative effects of developments like PenyCymoedd. After all if the “science” says it makes sense to stick windfarms in such places the “science” should also guide the local dummies on how to offset the aftereffects. Or is it still the case that local communities don’t really matter and can be taken for granted eternally ?

    Yet another good reason for tourism tax – some of the loot can go to finance clearing of culverts and drains !

    1. If it is the culverts causing the flooding, then why doesn’t RCT council just clear them? And if the remedy is as simple as clearing the culverts why doesn’t the ‘Welsh Government’ insist they be cleared? I’m beginning to wonder if these culverts aren’t a convenient – if embarrassing – distraction from a real problem that cannot be dealt with so easily. Or even admitted to.

      1. Dafis

        All the more reason for the council(s) to get on with the culverts while NRW cracks on with the “strategic” remedy if such a thing exists ( it must do !). No doubt they baulk because it is likely to bring them into conflict with Vattenfall over liabilities. Vattenfall will claim they’ve donated loot to communities – £1.8m for c.25 years. NRW , if it had the cojones, should shrug say something like “chicken feed” and demand a budget worthy of the word to rectify the damage done. Won’t happen because they’re all a bunch of spineless pussies, a malaise which extends right into the heart of Welsh government (and Opposition). As evidenced by Gary’s Grinder’s recent decision making antics.

      2. Wynne

        I have no local knowledge of the flooding issues at this location but, in general, issues are resolved when all stakeholders decide to communicate with each other [NRW + Local Authority + landowners]. If hydraulically inadequate, or blocked, culverts are the cause of flooding many culverts on the ordinary watercourse network are in private ownership, hence the need to include landowners in discussions. From my experience the game is called “pass the hot potato”. Not my problem, go and talk to someone else ! Development upstream will obviously increase rate of storm water run-off creating flooding issues downstream. All Local Authorities in Wales are now “SUDS Approving Bodies” [SAB] with effect from 7 January 2019. Interesting short explanatory video on Ceredigion County Council website at this link.

        https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/planning-building-control-and-sustainable-drainage-body-sab/sustainable-drainage-approval-body-sab/

        1. A good video, Wynne. The options appear to be, either include SuDS in new developments, or retrofit. Both of which will be expensive. If wind turbines are making the difference in areas like the Rhondda and downstream from Powys on the Severn, then the cheapest option might be to remove the wind turbines.

          1. Wynne

            Yes, in promoting any flood alleviation scheme a “cost v benefit appraisal” is required for all options considered. Removing wind turbines should be one option examined. .

      3. Brychan

        In Pentre there were three streets which were inundated earlier in the year. Queen St, Treharne St, and Pleasant St. All these terraces slop uphill towards the main road, above which is a band of deciduous woods, above which is a NRW forestry plantation. To the left is St Peters Church.

        This is the view.
        https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8480/8172966414_aa8f01f363.jpg

        Recently two things happened. A new trackways on the mountain were constructed puncturing the surface layer of topsoil. This topsoil acted as a barrier to the pourous layer of rubble and slag underneath. These tracks are lateral to the slope. Below which there is the forestry plantation. This was recently clear felled by NRW, removing the sponge. Tailings from this felling were left on the slop of the hill.

        Below this there are a number of underground culverts, under the main road, the primary drainage is one of these and emerges at the top gate of a sports field at the top of Pleasant St. This is where the main flow remerged during the floods.

        https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.6528824,-3.4925369,411m/data=!3m1!1e3

        Looks to me like (a) the puncturing of the surface at the top of the hill allowed water to enter the pervious layer causing a surge in sub surface flow, and (b) the debris left over from the conifer felling blocked culverts, which also compromised street drainage lower down, causing damage, and subsequently (c) there were eroded voids in both the drain pipes and damage to the sewer pipes of the streets affected.

        Here is a video of the first flood.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD9kDSnQ2Os%5Bremovetoplay%5D
        Zoom out and hover to see the whole area.

        The council and NRW are blaming global warming. The Plaid councillors and MS who represents the area are blaming the Welsh Government, and they in turn are blaming the wicked Tories. The solution, of course, is to remove the access track at the top of the mountain and re-instate the soil structure, re-plant the forestry that was removed and replace all culverts and pipes that were subsequently damaged that transect the village of Pentre on the lower slopes. Who pays? It may well be that in Pentre, the clean up from last winter using pressure hoses also damaged the sewers.

        Note. There was only a ‘test turbine’ above Pentre. It was these new access tracks that were used for felling. It takes a few years for effects to become apparent in the catchment. Shifting hydrology.

        1. I’m sure you’re right in this specific instance in Pentre. But the issue you describe – the disturbance of porous topsoil, exacerbated by the removal of trees – is exactly the problem caused by wind turbines in their vast concrete bowls, and the access tracks to each and every one.

          1. Brychan

            Yes. That’s exactly what was experienced last winter. The surge flow from the upper reaches at Blaencwn, Blaenrhondda, Treherbert, and Maerdy as well as in the Cynon was responsible for the flooding. Both rivers meet at Pontypridd, where there was double the problem. Anyone who lives at the heads of these valleys will be familiar with these culverts. The puncture of the upland soil by these turbines and the tracks that lead to them is directly responsible for removing the ‘sponge’ effect and allows for sub-surface streams trapped in the pourous layer above the bedrock, to surge. Basic hydrology. There is the added problem in these valleys that the slopes are re-claimed coal tips, sub surface erorsion causes voids, slurry pools, and eventual collapse. This is what we saw in the Fach. Cutting the trees down to allow for wind tubines doubles the problem as the roots that previously held the surface layer together becomes mobile, the dead roots rot away.

            1. I am convinced that turbines are contributing to increased flooding, in the Valleys, downstream on the Severn from Powys, and elsewhere. But just about everyone has an interest in ignoring or denying the problem. Labour because it’s the ‘Welsh Government’ that has been pushing and allowing wind turbines for decades. Plaid Cymru is even more zealous when it comes to turbines and saving the planet. And even climate change deniers in the Conservative Party have investor friends and landowner relatives making a mint out of turbines.

              It really is a conspiracy of silence.

              1. Wynne

                Jac. I directed FOI request to NRW regarding impact of wind farms on downstream flood risk. I received reply 15 June. This has been forwarded to you by email. Following a note from you at the time I directed further enquiry to NRW on 16 June. This is reproduced below. Awaiting reply.

                To: Natural Resources Wales [N R W] – Customer Communications and Information Directorate – Customer Hub Advisor – Sera Jones

                Thank you for your letter dated 15 June [as attached] in response to my request for information. In reply, I offer the following additional observations.

                The information provided with regard to the three sites located on N R W land is helpful, and I note the role of N R W as a statutory consultee in the Local Authority Town & Country Planning Process. It would be helpful if you could clarify whether N R W also has a broader environmental remit with regard to the construction of wind farms on land not owned / managed by N R W. A case in point would be wind farm sites located in Powys County Council area where increased surface water run-off could be contributing to increased flood risk in downstream communities on the river Severn [a designated main river].

                In addition to your role as a statutory consultee in the Town & Country Planning Process, N R W also has a strategic overview on flooding from the main river network and tidal estuaries. I accept that “local flood risk” is now administered by Local Authorities following transfer of statutory powers from N R W, although N R W retains a strategic overview on all flooding matters. I remain concerned that increased surface water run-off from impermeable areas on wind farms in Wales may now be contributing to increased flood risk downstream in communities established along the main river network. A “main river” is defined as a river indicated on a statutory main river map available for inspection at N R W offices.

                Given your role as the “Strategic Flood Risk Management Authority” on the main river network, it would be helpful if N R W could advise whether any process is in place to assess the flood risk to downstream communities from increased surface water run-off from impermeable areas on wind farms in Wales and whether a policy or process is in place to mitigate that risk.

                I leave it to you to decide whether to process this as a request for clarification under normal correspondence, or, as a further, and separate, request for information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. I look forward to your further observation when you have had an opportunity to liaise with your colleagues in your Flood Risk Management Directorate. Thank you.

                Regards

                1. As I said in my reply, Wynne, the problem I see is that NRW is not independent of ‘Welsh Government’. People could be drowning in the Rhondda, and it could be attributable to extra run-off caused by wind turbines, yet WG would muzzle NRW. And as I said in another comment today, Plaid Cymru and the Tories have their own reasons for not pointing the figure at wind turbines.

                  1. Brychan

                    Labour amalgamated the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and the Countryside Council into an unaccountable mega quango called Natural Resources Wales. It’s failing.

                    When the current shambles is evicted in May 2021, NRW needs to be abolished and the proper designated bodies restored. This will return clout to the environment and proper conservation needs over any new projects without being run roughshod over corrupt forestry deals, tourism scams and turbine backhanders.

                    This would also lead to the sacking of the inside network of Labour communications gurus they appointed on phone number salaries and restore properly qualified scientists back into the decision making process. If they ain’t got a real PhD then they need to be kicked out. No more spivs and spin.

  19. How do we know how many trees were removed for Wind Turbines? Who exposed this?
    Can Dr Edna Mitty PhD tell us in the interest of flood victims and sustainability?

    1. Dafis

      post script to the above – the last 2 paragraphs could be written almost identically to relate to the situations in mid-Wales and the plateau around the southern valleys.

      1. Brychan

        Norway has the cheapest electricity in Europe, 95% of it hydro.

        They consume three times per capita as the EU average. Cold winters and electric heating. The 5% that is not hydro in Norway is made up of home grown biomass and wind. They do have a small gas turbine plant but that’s just for load balancing, which is mostly idle.

        In spring during snow melt they export a third of what they generate to Sweden, Denmark and Germany. At the end of this year a sub-sea interconnector to England (Blyth, even though Scotland is closer) is due to go live for additional export. The wind farms in Norway are not needed for local demand. It’s unpredictable surplus. Consumers in the UK pay a premium on the electric bill to pay for wind power, and that’s means everyone in Wales. Even though Wales, like Norway generates many times it’s consumption.

        Why doesn’t Wales have cheaper electricity like Norway?
        Why doesn’t Wales also charge a premium for exports to England?
        Wind farms don’t benefit the areas where they are constructed.

          1. Brychan

            Good question, so I did a bit of research.

            Things are not well for onshore wind in Norway as we see a moratorium on new projects. 78 municipalities out of the 101 total are against wind farms, but the Oyfjellet project is in a municipality populated by Saami nomadic peoples in the far north who, due to their annual commute into Sweden and Finland, many are not registered to vote.

            https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/colonialism-ruining-indigenous-lives-norway-200703135059280.html

            Statkraft is the Norwegian company that owns almost all existing wind farms in Norway. These are unprofitable compared with the majority of their generation, hydro. The only windfarm Statkraft makes money on it the one they own in Dumfries, Scotland, called WindyRig which earns the UK subsidy.

            https://www.statkraft.com/globalassets/1-statkraft-public/05-investor-relations/4-reports-and-presentations/2020/q1/interim-report-q1-2020.pdf

            The Oyfjellet project in the AlJezeera article, however, is German owned, Aquila Capital They get to cream an income from EU subsidies being domiciled in Germany, thus using this artificially subsidised, credits, as part of an electricity supply an aluminium smelter run by Alcoa.

            Nothing to do with saving the planet, just deals to earn a subsidy.They’ll get paid for idle turbines. We have some of these in Wales, they turn cash not blades.

            1. Dafis

              Thanks Brychan. Strange that the Monbiotic mob haven’t stumbled on the inherent contradiction in this threat to the Saami way of life. There again their love for the grand gestures overrides everything else. Farmers and others making a living in rural Wales, some of it not very remote, better beware.

  20. EDNA MITTY’s BOOK LAUNCH

    Book launched 4-6-20 with the author much heralded as “Dr” this and “Dr” that and probably “Dr” who or which “Dr” !

    Press Releases 2020 | University of Wales Trinity Saint David

    Press Releases 2020 | University of Wales Trinity Saint David
    Web Development Team – UWTSD

    #futuregen Book Launch: Jane Davidson In Conversation With Satish Kumar

    But a few weeks later having been rumbled as not having a PhD, the book’s publicity drops all reference to the title of “Dr”.

    #futuregen by Jane Davidson | Chelsea Green Publishing

    #futuregen by Jane Davidson | Chelsea Green Publishing
    “What Wales is doing today, the world will do tomorrow.”—Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary General The story o…

    This is a Calamity Jane. What’s really going on?

  21. I see that the weather forecast for Monday is heavy rain, thunderstorms and possible flooding. I hope those culverts have been cleared in the Rhondda.

    1. Dafis

      Bryant can shove his pants into a culvert and get them well rinsed ! Better still shove his head down the culvert and give the Rhondda a chance to start afresh.

    2. Brychan

      There have been three episodes of post-windfarm flooding.

      The second episode of flooding in June not only affected Pentre, but also some streets in Treherbert and Maerdy. It was as a result of surge run off from the Pen y Cymoedd catchment area. The upper slopes now dry out in summer and sudden summer downpours result in flash flooding.

      Since the whole upland drainage has changed there has also been a big change in the vegetation. In summer this results in dry scrub so mountain fires tend to be more extensive, and when it does get inundated it doesn’t have time to be absorbed into dry strata and goes through the watercourses like a sieve. Puncturing the tops results in more peaky flows when the rivers are in spate in winter, the effect is capacity overspill downstream, but in summer the rivers and streams are low, so it’s upper reaches that is subject to shock surges.

      https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2020-06-17/parts-of-the-rhondda-hit-by-flooding-following-heavy-rain
      If there are more instances on Monday expect to see Bryant rush back from London again, and more ‘heartbreak’ videos from Leanne.

      Note – Although Treherbert and Maerdy were also affected in June, the reason Pentre is a battleground in the public arena is that Plaid still hold the two seats there on the council. Plaid have lost Maerdy and expelled their councillor for Treherbert, so these villages are prioritised by the council for culvert clearing.

      1. Dafis

        The residents of all those communities in the Rhondda who are threatened whenever it starts to rain a touch heavy probably couldn’t give a shit which politicians are having their displays of public angst and posturing pageants. Time for the ruling Labour knobheads and their Plaid allies to stop fuckin’ about and get down to some real work to rectify the problems with lasting remedies.

        1. Brychan

          It’s important to consider how a wind turbine base is constructed. This is best seen at the site of Wales’ first experimental turbines at Port Tywyn (Burry Port) in Carmarthenshire.

          http://orapweb.rcahms.gov.uk/coflein/V/VDE_04_04_012.jpg

          This is what it looks like now.

          http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1660889/burry-beach-ufo.jpg

          These were minute compared with the present day constructions which are 200 times bigger but you can see what damage is done to the soil structure allowing the erosion, in this case incursion of some 200m into the disturbed strata by the sea.

          It’s not just the reinforced concrete dome cap but also the concrete piles that penetrate the soil strata. The scale of the constructions of the 72 bases at the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm can be seen here.

          Pen y Cymoedd turbine base.
          https://jacothenorth.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Wind-turbine-base.jpg

          Overlooking the Rhondda valley.
          https://group.vattenfall.com/globalassets/scaled/pen-y-cymoedd1_2x1_747x376_70.jpeg

          What remains of Coed Morgannwg.
          http://i4.walesonline.co.uk/incoming/article10615068.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/pen-y-cymoedd4.jpg

          Clear felling and cable runs.
          https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/ficheroenergias/fotos/articulos/ampliada/w/1wind_farm_7_uk.jpg

          What is quite bizarre about the Rhondda flooding events is that while the council, NRW and various politicians are arguing, what hasn’t occurred to them yet is that water flows downhill and what’s changed, the cause of ‘unprecedented events’ is staring them in the face up on the mountain.

          It should be remembered that the coal tip reclamation schemes and associated culverts of the 1970s made the assumption of a stable upland hydrology. This no longer applies. Patterns have changed.

          1. ‘None so blind as them that don’t want to see’. If it could be established that the ‘Welsh Government’ is allowing wind turbines in Wales to save the English landscape, and that this is causing flooding in the Valleys, then it could be electorally disastrous for Labour.

            1. Dafis

              Combination of green zealots and dimwitted ( or bribed/compromised) politicians is a hazardous, toxic mix for any part of the world. The fact that these cnuts along with their corporate opportunist buddies have alighted on Wales is bad news for our communities unless people start striking back. There are few if any politicians currently operating in the stagnant pool of Welsh affairs showing any inclination to confront this “axis of evil”.

              Dumping Labour Plaid and Tory puppets is now becoming a critical priority. Set loose a new breed of community orientated, motivated representatives of the people. Time for McEvoy’s WNP, and Gwlad to get a higher profile and for the electorate to bowl these rotten bastards out of office.

            2. Wrexhamian

              This should be an electoral issue in the affected areas of the South, just as saturation low-end tourism should in the North and West. Welsh Labour’s indirect complicity in the flooding should be easy to expose, as is their junky-like dependence on tourism and their spinelessness over second homes.

              These are open goals that Plaid Cymru should be scoring in readiness for 2021. The election will be won or lost on such local issues; Gwlad or the WNP have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making these three major issues part of their platforms.

              I agree with all of Jac’s recommendations for reducing tourism from critical mass to a manageable level, but this needs to be backed up by the development of an alternative (pro-Wales) economy in the affected areas. This will cost money, and this is why Welsh Labour are content to sit back and just ‘let tourism happen’; Drakeford has done well (up to now) over Covid-19, but I suspect he’ll respond to any Senedd debate on tourism by just tinkering at the edges, partly because it’s easier and cheaper, and partly because the tourism lobby has power and influence and will almost certainly get the support of any Westminster Government.

  22. I think I should mention that it was myself who first elicited the facts and figures from NRW of trees cut down in Wales for large Wind Turbine products. I was the first to use Freedom of Information Questions to NRW on this issue. I am grateful for the now interest in this from the regulars on this BLOG of Jac’s. I tried early to get these statistics in the press and there was no interest from Welsh journalists. I sent them to Welsh Politicians which was a waste of time. After the flooding I sent the details to a few Rhondda County Councilors whose Wards had been affected, and my thoughts on the effects of mass tree cutting, causing new flooding and I was ignored not even a receipt “Thanks-Diolch’. I’ve been involved in this issue – at Mynydd y Gwair – for well over twenty five years – and been the subject of much ridicule from certain politicians and even nastiness from the so called ‘green’ people.
    Here below is something of a distraction I wrote a little while ago :-

    Natural Resources Wales NRW have released statistics about healthy trees felled in Wales for making clearance for Wind Turbines on land managed by NRW itself. This does not include private forestry land. This amounts to 1,938,400 healthy trees over an area of 1,155 Hectares – ha.
    These figures are for just four Wind Turbine sites at Pen y Cymoedd 732,320 trees; Brechfa 330,880; Cefn Croes 568,000 and Clocaenog 307,200. SOURCE of this information – formal answers from NRW to Freedom of Information Questions FoIQs.

    I have been trying to calculate the amount of atmospheric Carbon capture lost in this process. What I have found is off the internet (mostly reliable Forestry web sites) and will need checking. It can vary depending on the type of tree – I’ve used the Sitka Spruce data as the most common Welsh forestry tree. It can also vary with prevailing weather and altitude. This all needs proper research not just . These calculations could be described as “back of an envelope” figures but they do give a serious estimate. We can not rely on “Dr” EDNA MITTY “PhD” to do a doctoral thesis on it!

    Things to note are (1) these trees cannot be replaced at these sites as they are the (a) areas of the massive concrete Wind Turbine bases (b) the network maze of hard surfaced vehicle service tracks to each and every Wind Turbine and (c) corridors for the outgoing power line cables.
    (2) the calculations do not include the very extensive and considerable mass of foliage growth and thin branches and large tree root growths that do not count in the timber calculations below.

    Figures obtained from reliable web sites :-

    Such forestry generally produce about 16 cubic metres of timber per year per hectare and such trees are frequently harvested at forty years (and then replanted).
    This becomes 16 X 1,155 X 40 = 739,200 cubic metres
    Such timber weighs in at about 0.8 tonnes per cubic metre which is :-
    693,000 X 0.8 = 591,360 Tonnes of Timber which is 50% Carbon = 295,680 tonnes of Carbon element or via photosynthesis 971,520 Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide.
    Will the Wind Turbines ever displace that much carbon?

    1. Brychan

      In the 1950s and 1960s when clear clinical evidence emerged that smoking causes lung cancer, the tobacco industry tried to ‘sweeten the pill’ and launched various ‘not so harmful’ products. Menthol flavours, lite cigarettes and extra filter varieties. It was a cynical ‘look over here’ and ‘healthier options’ public relations exercise.

      The oil and gas industry are doing the same with wind turbines. They know that wind power is unreliable and erratic so a backup of gas power stations, initially branded clean power, is required with a capacity equivalent to a calm day. Wind turbines also have the advantage that the damage is mostly underground and the bit above ground is only visible in lower populated areas.

      Woodbines = Coal Fired.
      Rothmans = Gas Fired.
      Marlborough Lites = Wind Turbines.
      Silk Cut = Solar Panels.

      There was a cul-de-sac of ‘renewable’ power, that of bio-mass. This was a more direct form of substitution. Although a closed loop carbon cycle, grow trees, then burn them to make electricity, and replace the trees cut down. But the problem was the smoke is still visible and a huge acreage of land needs to be coppiced. So this ‘renewable’ was dropped in favour of sleek white towers with whurling blades (as long as their somewhere else, like Wales).

      Such an approach has the advantage that it doesn’t discourage consumption.

      1. Brychan

        On the domestic household consumption side of things, the UK does not have desperately cold winters like Scandinavia or Eastern Europe, and of course, the UK has North Sea natural gas which powers over half of water and central heating. So why do we see this?

        https://windeurope.org/wp-content/uploads/files/about-wind/campaigns/amsterdam/average-household-electricity-consumption-per-day.png

        Note1 – Only Iceland consumes more electric per head than the UK, but that’s the only country where 100% is genuinely renewable, all geo-thermal.
        Note2 – Why does Ireland consume half the domestic electricity per head as the UK?

        If the UK cut it’s consumption per head to the same as Germany, electricity consumption would halve. That’s half the current emissions. No need for any wind turbines if we address the consumption side of things, but hey, keep them addicted.

  23. Brychan

    Back on the subject of tourism. Wales online tells us that it was a Jet Ski (a motorised vessel). This report includes the statement from Coastguard and North Wales Police.

    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/woman-dies-following-collision-between-18740528

    However, the BBC says it was a “water bike” (light catamaran with pedals).

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53712297

    GogPlod co-ordinated the recovery of the casualty so I expect them to have recorded the facts.

    https://www.north-wales.police.uk/news-and-appeals/woman-dies-following-collision-involving-jet-ski-and-boat-near-menai-bridge

    Why does the BBC always charge the narrative for Wales?
    How much is the police precept on council tax bills up north that pays for this tourism?

    1. Brychan

      I see that London Weekend Television who run the franchise for “Im a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” is going to re-locate from Australia to Castell Gwrych near Abergele, a kind of ‘Brits abroad’ trash programme. Of course this is not the first time that this mock Georgian castle has been used to house an escaping community. In 1940 Castell Gwrych was used to house fleeing Jews from the Nazis, these being refugees of the Kindertransport. Perhaps they are going to dress contestants in stripy uniforms and feed them bread while watching over them from the towers. As it’s in Wales they have overlooked the history of the area, but the BBC is over it like a rash. This morning they got a ‘beachcraft and survival tutor’ onto Radio Wales to tell us about eating ants and cold showers. I question if the producers of this trash have considered carefully the location. Is the Welsh Government going to give them a grant as to boost tourism?

  24. Dafis

    Saw a plump geezer with a rapidly developing lobster-like appearance yesterday afternoon busy shoving bags full of litter, generated by his family,into a smallish dogshit bin ( purpose easily understood ?). Mentioned that it might be better if he put his waste in his vehicle to take home or find a more appropriate rubbish bin. Tirade of abuse about being hostile unwelcoming etc etc. Rather upset him by confirming that he was correct – I am a hostile unwelcoming rude bastard particularly to those who behave as though they own the fuckin’ place,have little or no regard for others and do not display some evidence of having basic common sense. Tourism, whether the visitor comes from near or afar, brings out a high proportion of wankers and slobs. Rant over.

    1. Dafis

      … and here’s another twat who can’t see further than lining his own pockets. According to a nation.cymru report :

      “Negative messages in the press and on social media about tourists and second home owners are holding Wales’ economic recovery back, according to a tourism boss.”

      “Jim Jones, chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said some press and social media commentary was becoming a problem for the tourism sector. as it attempted to get back on its feet after Covid-19.”

      Well Jim boy you better get off your arse and start cleaning up after those dirty fuckers you so keen to welcome. Try picking up litter and turds out of people’s private property. If you feel so good about these visitors try educating the slobs to use bins for litter and loos for doing their business. Simple really but they seem to have left all that basic knowledge at home, if they ever had any.

      1. The ‘negative attitude’ Jim Jones complains of is due to Welsh communities being overwhelmed by too many badly-behaved and irresponsible tourists. He’s got it arse-backwards. And not for the first time.

        1. Brychan

          Adavance Warning.

          There’s a company from London that’s been organising ‘Cook Outs’. Their MO is to sell tickets for around £30 to fill coaches with large groups and transport them to “secret” seaside locations where they lay on a ‘Jamaican Barbeque Rave’.

          Here’s one.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XonheYtwtA%5Bremovetoplay%5D

          The company that organises these events is Flavour Boss Limited (12337291) run by Orette Williams of Flat 31, Allingham House, Allingham Road, London, SW48EG.

          She also has set up a company called Williams and Sons Cars Ltd that hires coaches to run to these events and rents fleets of cars to participants. So far only locations on the south coast of England have been hit, but due to police interventions there, it’s likely they will now try pop-up venues in Wales.

          1. Dafis

            Better sharpen the bayonets, or is prepping a minefield more appropriate ? Barbed wire and razor wire is good stuff for boxing them into a channel ! Could even sell tickets to natives for such an event, nothing like a bit of participation sport.

  25. Border Dweller

    I wonder if you’ve seen the impact of ‘tourism’ on the small village of Llanrhaeadr YM over recent weeks? An imam decided the falls are holy and ever since car fulls of devotees have been making the journey from the big smoke up a 4 mike single track road, most have only ever experienced a dual carriageway, they don’t make use of the local pub or shops, park in passing places and driveways, a tourist tax of £20 per head may provide the facilities necessary to accommodate the sudden increase in visitor numbers

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