Wales and envirocolonialism

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

Envirocolonialism may not be a term you’re familiar with, but I’ve coined it to describe two separate but linked phenomena.

The first of which is companies from outside of Wales building wind farms, wave power installations, and other facilities, that provide few if any jobs for Welsh people and contribute little or nothing to the Welsh economy.

The second is eco-warriors of various hues, including ‘rewilders’, also from outside of Wales, demanding land and funding to put into practice what are often insane schemes working against the interests of Welsh people and their communities. Or simply milking the funding system.

Yet both these forms of envirocolonialism are encouraged by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, which dresses up this exploitation as an economic strategy by which Wales will become prosperous while also saving the planet.

This lie, and the ugly colonialism it disguises, must be exposed and rejected.

‘BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND’

Last week the Guardian told us that the Crown Estate had given permission to a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total for floating wind turbines off the north coast. The English Crown giving a French company the go-ahead in Welsh waters.

(In Scotland – thanks to the SNP – the Crown Estate is devolved.)

But we were asked to believe there was Welsh involvement thanks to a Pembroke Dock-based company, Blue Gem Wind Ltd.

Don’t get too excited, for Blue Gem Wind is simply a marriage of convenience between Total and Simply Blue Energy. Blue Gem changed its registered office address from Kernow to Pembrokeshire last June, probably in anticipation of this project.

Both directors of Simply Blue Energy Wind Ltd are citizens and residents of Ireland, but the company has an address in Cornwall. There’s also Simply Blue Energy (Wave Hub) Ltd, with the same County Cork-based directors and the same Cornwall address.

One of the Irishmen is also found at Simply Blue Energy (Scotland) Ltd, but the other director is Scottish, with an Edinburgh address. The secretary, though, lives in County Louth, some distance from both The Rebel County and Auld Reekie.

This announcement was soon followed by news of what I take to be a separate development of some 100 turbines. The beneficiary here is RWE Renewables, the German conglomerate. With the the usual flotilla of small companies from over the border following in the giant’s wake.

‘Renewable energy targets’ that bear no resemblance to Wales’ needs. Just a fig leaf to disguise exploitation. Click to enlarge

There will soon be wind turbines off the coast from the border to the Menai Strait. And the benefits for Wales will be counted in a few dozen jobs. Though from what I hear, those already doing the jobs seem to have arrived from a few hundred miles east of Mostyn docks.

But never mind! There may be no Welsh companies involved, and no Welsh jobs, but we can still get a warm glow from sitting in our deck chairs, looking out to sea at hundreds of wind turbines making Wales’ contribution to saving the planet.

A contribution so insignificant that it can be wiped out by just one more coal-fired power station in China or a day’s logging in Amazonia.

RIDING THE WAVE . . . BUT NOT IF YOU’RE WELSH

With wind power being unreliable, the short life span of the turbines, the landscape damage, the killing of birds and bats, and now the increased risks of flooding, public opinion is turning against onshore wind power.

This goes some way to explaining the increase in offshore wind power, such as we looked at in the previous section, and also wave-generated energy.

Which is the cue to introduce another company, one that hasn’t gone through the charade of taking out a Pembrokeshire address.

In fact, it would be odd if Wave Hub had moved to Wales . . . seeing as it’s 100% owned by Cornwall County Council. And before the council took control in November 2017 Wave Hub had been owned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

While Wave Hub is obviously not a Welsh company it nevertheless has enough of a ‘presence’ in Pembrokeshire to guarantee it £60 million from various funding sources. Including the Swansea Bay City Deal and the ‘Welsh Government’.

Did you know we had an ‘Internet Coast’? Click to enlarge

According to the linked article, the City Deal will provide £28 million with this “expected to help leverage a further £32 million of public and private funding”. No doubt a sizeable chunk of the remaining £32 million will come from the Welsh public purse.

And what will we get in return?

Research and development will almost certainly be conducted outside of Wales, and we can guarantee that Wales will not see the profits. Which leaves jobs. How many will there be and who’ll be monitoring the situation to ensure that locals get them? Answers: very few; nobody.

So let’s stop deluding ourselves and recognise a rip-off when it’s staring us in the face and twisting our gonads.

Here’s my interpretation of Wave Hub’s move to Wales.

Once it became clear there were to be City deals for Swansea and Cardiff clever minds in London sat down and thought, “OK, so we’re giving the Taffs this money . . . now how do we get back as much of it as possible?”

The Swansea Bay City Deal was signed off in March 2017 by Prime Minister Theresa May. The gestation period would have been at least a year. So let’s see how that fits with the Wave Hub timeline.

Chubby Cheeks looking miserable – tea but no biccies? Click to enlarge
  • Despite having been in existence since December 2011 the accounts for y/e 31 March 2016 show net assets of just £3,638. A company just ticking over, maybe waiting for a project.
  • March 2017, Swansea Bay City Deal signed off.
  • November 27, 2017, Cornwall County Council takes control of Wave Hub Ltd. Is this to make it more acceptable to the Welsh public?
  • July 1, 2019, Wave Hub appoints Piers Basil Guy as director. He will know ‘Welsh Government’ and Natural Resources Wales from being a director of: Llanerfyl Access Road Consortium Ltd; Parc Cynog Wind Farm; Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Ltd; Nant y Moch Wind Farm Ltd; Pendine Wind Farm Ltd; Nant Bach Wind Farm Ltd. What an inspired appointment!
  • September 18, 2019, Piers Basil Guy sets up Guy Energy Ltd. Hoping to make a bit for himself on the side?
  • June 11, 2020, announcement of £60 million funding for Wave Hub at its ‘Welsh’ operations.
  • June 11, 2020, elsewhere we read, with no mention of Pembrokeshire: “The South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator is being led by Wave Hub in collaboration with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, A&P Group, Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council.

Why the hell are WE, through the Swansea Bay City Deal and the ‘Welsh Government’, funding a project with no Welsh presence beyond a shed in Pembrokeshire? Where are the benefits for Wales?

All the companies listed for Piers Basil Guy are owned  by Vattenfall, the Swedish company that has so much influence with the ‘Welsh Government’. A number of the wind farms listed were built on land managed by Natural Resources Wales, an agency of the ‘Welsh Government’. This includes of course the massive Pen y Cymoedd.

In addition, Basil George Guy has worked directly for a number of Vattenfall companies, sometimes through what I think is its Dutch arm, Nuon.

In this BBC article from October 2011 Guy is described as, “Nuon Renewables head of development”; while this wind energy site says in November 2012 that he’s, “Vattenfall’s head of Onshore Wind Development in the UK”.

Money is being showered on a company that might, or might not, be owned by Cornwall County Council. Either way, it has but the lightest of footprints in Wales and shouldn’t be given a penny until we are assured of tangible benefits.

Finally, is there a connection between Simply Blue (Wave Hub) Ltd and Wave Hub Ltd?

Up at the other end of the country from Pembrokeshire a genuinely Welsh outfit, Menter Môn, also has plans for wave energy, but it is being thwarted by a cat’s paw acting for Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’.

The ‘cat’s paw’ is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), another English organisation believing that Wales is too nice to be left to the Welsh. A view shared of course by the board of Natural Resources Wales, with which the RSPB has far too close a relationship.

The RSPB has recently come out in opposition to Menter Môn’s Morlais tidal energy plan. The project itself is explained here.

Though the RSPB has no issue with wind turbines killing birds!

Perhaps what the RSPB and NRW found offensive was, “Morlais is a Menter Môn project which aims to benefit local communities . . .”. That’s not how envirocolonialism works.

Though there has been opposition from other quarters, mainly the Trearddur Bay Sailing Club and the owners of ‘seasonal properties’ at Rhoscolyn. This explains the intervention of the constituency’s Conservative candidate a few weeks before last December’s general election.

The person being interviewed is Tom Roberts, presumably a local, and therefore unrepresentative of the opposition to the Morlais scheme. Here he is looking suitably impressed with Virginia Crosbie doing a memsahib ‘Speak up man; speak, damn you!

She gets out of him what he has perhaps been primed to say – the Morlais project could be bad for tourism. Mmm. Is that a negative any more?

Virginia Crosbie, friend, possibly tenant, of Jake Berry, the Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. How many properties does Berry now own on Ynys Môn?

Joking aside, let me spell this out quite clearly, for the avoidance of any doubt.

The RSPB would not have objected to this scheme if it had come from a developer viewed more favourably by Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’, neither of which wants to encourage genuinely Welsh initiatives.

TALES OF THE RIVERBANK

For a couple of years now a few people have been urging me to take a peek at the The Wye and Usk Foundation. At first sight, there seems to be nothing to worry about, the Foundation is a body trying to improve rivers and riparian environments. It of course works closely with Natural Resources Wales.

Admittedly, it’s a cross-border organisation, with most of the territory it covers being in Wales but, as is usually the case, with a majority of its trustees from outside.

But then, the more you look at the Wye and Usk Foundation the more the doubts creep in. It can be a little thing, such as this sentence found under ‘Climate Change’, on page 5 of the latest Trustees’ report.

“The summer drought also led to an increase in fodder crops being grown in the Welsh uplands which pose a serious risk to our rivers this winter.”

This is an organisation based in Wales, so why not just say, “uplands”? Using the term “Welsh uplands” makes it sound like an alien, and hostile, area. Something that could have been written by a 12th century Norman chronicler.

And of course, there’s the inference that Welsh farmers harm rivers. Which could have been written by that scourge of Welsh hill farmers, George Monbiot.

Talk of the devil! – less than a fortnight ago the man himself was writing in the Guardian about these very rivers, the Wye and the Usk, saying:

“In the west of Britain, the main issue is livestock farming. As dairy and poultry units have consolidated, the manure they produce is greater than the land’s capacity to absorb it. As an agricultural contractor explained to the Welsh government, some farmers are deliberately spreading muck before high rainfall, so that it washes off their fields and into the rivers. A farm adviser told the same inquiry that only 1% of farm slurry stores in Wales meet the regulations.”

Follow the link and you’ll see that the person who made that allegation about farmers deliberately spreading muck before rain was allowed to remain anonymous. (If he or she ever existed.)

Typical Grauniad, picture of a Welsh river but headline refers to UK government. Click to enlarge

In the same article Monbiot also wrote: “The Wye itself is dying at astonishing, heartbreaking speed.” Yet the The Wye Usk Foundation is far more upbeat. But then, Monbiot is a polemicist and a scaremonger, with a strategy to follow.

Basically, Monbiot’s message is: ‘Welsh farmers are bastards, get them off the land and then turn the land over to people like me’.

So, does George Monbiot have links to The Wye and Usk Foundation?

TALGARTH, SEAT OF LEARNING

The Wye and Usk Foundation is based in Talgarth, and among the trustees we find Elizabeth Passey, formerly of US investment bank Morgan Stanley, and now the Big Lottery Fund. Ms Passey is also a trustee of the Black Mountains College Project in Talgarth. Though for some reason Ms Passey’s role with the Big Lottery is not mentioned in her BMC bio, below.

On the BMC website Passey is said to hail “from a corn merchant family on the Welsh borders.” But from Talgarth it’s the English borders. It’s only the ‘Welsh borders’ for people who see Wales through English eyes, or from an anglocentric perspective . . . such as those involved in the Black Mountains College Project.

Click to enlarge

I have written about the Black Mountains College . . . or at least, the plan to set up such an institution, and to link it with a similar school in the USA funded by George Soros.

The Black Mountains College plans to offer “planet-centric education”. As we have come to expect with such ventures, there is little Welsh involvement.

Click to enlarge

Just last month, ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, midwife to One Planet Developments, inspiration for the Future Generations legislation, doyenne of all things envirocolonial, appeared on the putative college’s website.

I assure you there is more crap on this website than Monbiot ever saw in the Wye. And the same could be said for Davidson’s book.

UPDATE 25.08.2020: The accounts for y/e 28.02.2020 are now available.

We see the £75,000 grant last year from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. A fresh grant of £49,036 from Arwain (money taken from farmers in the transfer from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 made by Alun Davies in 2013). Also, £16,750 from the National Lottery Community Fund. For which BMC can no doubt thank Ms Passey.

There are now three full-time employees; and while no one earns more than £60,000 we can be sure that with staff costs of £105,979 there are three people each earning a good screw.

Though I’d love to know why ‘Legal and professional fees’ jumped from £6,040 in 2019 to £122,415 in 2020.

Perhaps sitting next to Passey in the BMC boardroom yurt is Chris Blake, for he is also a trustee. You may remember that Chris had a walk-on role in last week’s offering, about beavers. That was due to him being a Natural Resources Wales board member.

When he’s not fulfilling the world vision of George Soros, or helping NRW screw us, Blake works with  The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest Company. As far as I can see there is no other company with that name, so why does it need ‘(Wales)’?

That nagging doubt returns about people being in Wales but still looking at the country through the eyes of an outsider, or else selling it to outsiders.

Also on the Green Valleys board we find Grenville Ham, formerly of the Green Party of Englandandwales and now Plaid Cymru.

Now we move south west, to the Rhondda, accompanied by Messrs Blake and Ham.

HONEST RIP-OFF OR PATERNALISM?

As any self-respecting crow will tell you, the distance between the hill station of Talgarth and the native settlement of Treherbert is just over 20 miles. Though they can appear to be much further apart.

Last week we learnt from the BBC:

“A former mining village has been awarded nearly £250,000 to develop Wales’ first community ownership project.

The Skyline project wants to take charge of about 1.5 sq miles (4 sq km) of forestry around Treherbert, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

It wants to create jobs in forestry and provide timber for affordable homes.

It also hopes to open up space to grow vegetables and encourage use of the woods for education and leisure.

The money will be used to develop the ideas with the hope of getting up to £2.5m from the National Lottery climate action fund to put their plans into action.”

There is clearly local enthusiasm, but who’s running the show, and what are their ultimate intentions?

We see mention of the Skyline project. I visited the Skyline website, where I found this video of an event held in Cardiff on May 1, 2019.

We hear Chris Blake, because Skyline is run by his Green Valleys company from Talgarth.

We also hear from Ian Thomas who, despite the name, does not sound as if he’s from round by ‘ere. He represents the ‘social enterprise’ Welcome to our Woods. In big type the home page of the Welcome to our Woods website tells us: “We are a community partnership in the Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys UK.”

‘South Wales Valleys UK’! Yet again, that ‘outsider’ phrasing.

WTOW Ltd is a company that has been going since 7 November 2014. Ceri Nicholas, a local who features prominently in the video below, was in at the start, but ceased to be a director in March this year. Why leave when things are about to take off?

Apart from Ian Thomas the directors are Simone Jayne Devinett of the Rhondda Housing Association; and Phillip John Vickery, who used to work for Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services and uses a Haverfordwest address.

Further confusion is caused by the WTOW website still showing Ceri Nicholas as a director, and also a Karen Davies of Purple Shoots, who is not listed as a director with Companies House.

Sort yourselves out!

In the video, locals are given bit parts, but at 2:04 we meet Sonya Bedford, introduced as ‘Head of Energy Stephen Scown Solicitors’. The name is in fact Stephens Scown, and it’s based in Devon. What the hell is she doing there?

The trip to Scotland is revealing, if only for the kind of people they met up there.

All the talk of growing vegetables, and living in cheap, timber housing suggests One Planet Developments. Which only adds to the feeling that this Rhondda project might simply be using locals to further the ends of a select group of outsiders.

People who are largely unemployable in the real world, whose companies are unviable, but who survive through political patronage, public funding, and of course Lottery funding. Which is where Elizabeth Passey of the National Lottery will come in handy.

To complete the picture of a scam being run by outsiders, for outsiders, the BBC was kind enough to tell us that the project manager is Melanie Newton.

Click to enlarge

If that name rings a bell it’s because Melanie was, until very recently, CEO of Summit to Sea, with which George Monbiot and others were deeply involved. This was an attempt to take over a vast area inland and north of Aberystwyth, evict the farmers, plant millions of trees, and introduce all sorts of exotic animals.

I’ve written about Summit to Sea a number of times, starting with The Welsh Clearances. There was also an excellent guest post by Jon Coles of the Pembrokeshire Herald.

Those involved in this population replacement scheme were encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’s threat to use Brexit as a weapon against farmers. Explicit in Brexit and our land. In fact, the ‘rewilders’ probably influenced the writing of the document.

One obvious channel of influence would have been ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, advisor to and lover of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. Gary hates farmers. So do too many of the civil servants advising that shower in Corruption Bay.

So maybe the people of the Rhondda should worry that the real plan may be to get rid of them, forest the valley floor, and bring in lynx, beaver, and God knows what else. Because Melanie has form, and so do some of the others involved.

It has been suggested to me that this project in the Rhondda is part of a wider scheme, the brainchild of Alun Davies, Labour MS for Blaenau Gwent.

The Valleys Regional Park seems to be one of the Labour Party’s periodic attempts to convince Valleys’ voters that they aren’t being taken for granted. The document is page after page of what Monbiot imagined he saw in the Wye, though not without black humour.

Extolling the natural beauty of the Valleys, on page 14 we see:

Click to enlarge

Those “magical moorlands” of Mawr have been desecrated by the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm of the Duke of Beaufort.

Fitting, because Davies’ partner is Anna McMorrin. She has been mentioned a few times on this blog, lobbying for London investors wanting to despoil Powys with wind turbines. She’s been the Labour MP for Cardiff North since the June 2017 general election.

And talking of the Labour Party, Melanie Newton is a staunch supporter, if not a card-carrying member.

Click to enlarge

Connections. Connections. Connections.

TOMORROW BELONGS TO THEM?

What I’ve described here is not sincere people saving the environment of Wales for the Welsh but a network of ruthless grant-grabbers and would-be colonists trying to take it from us. Which means that at every opportunity Welsh people, and especially farmers – because they hold so much land – must be demonised.

This explains the borderline racism about ‘upland Welsh’ from the Wye and Usk Foundation, and the anonymous ‘sources’ quoted by George Monbiot.

The environment of Wales is being saved by and for more enlightened and superior people. Reminiscent of the Nazi’s idea for removing lesser races from conquered territories in the east and reintroducing (even back breeding) lost species such as the Auroch.

“Lutz began calling for the transformation of newly conquered lands in the east in order to recreate the primordial forest described in the epic Germanic poem Nibelungenlied. Lutz and Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and president of the Reichstag, became friends and went hunting in traditional dress and armed with spears to try and recreate the heroism of ancient German mythology.”

I’m not suggesting that the rewilders plan ‘Beowulf weekends’, where blond and hearty computer programmers from Solihull roam newly-forested hills dressed as Anglo-Saxon warriors before retiring to the Hall for a saga, a skinfull of ale, and a bit of wenching.

But who knows?

Click to enlarge

This colonialist approach to rewilding goes hand in hand with Wales making such a disproportionate contribution to ‘saving the planet’ that Lesley Griffiths adopts the persona of a madam greeting punters: “Ev’nin’, ducky, which bit of Wales would you like to have your way with?”

Of course we must protect the Welsh environment, and sensibly increase the use of renewable and clean energies. But this must be done in the interests of Wales; not by using climate change to cloak exploitation, or to promote a form of conservation that is paternalistic colonialism flirting with ethnic cleansing.

♦ end ♦

 




31 thoughts on “Wales and envirocolonialism

  1. Brychan

    There is, of course a locally owned and locally controlled community enterprise in Treherbert. It’s called the Rhondda Tunnel Society. Their objective is to re-open the railway tunnel between Blaencwm and Blaengynfi, for public access and cycle path.

    https://www.rhonddatunnelsociety.co.uk/

    This project is constantly being knocked back for public finding by the Welsh Government and we now see the Labour Party channelling this cash into the English pockets of envirocolonialism.

    1. The picture is consistent from south to north – you have more more chance of funding if you’re not local. And it’s not just the ‘Welsh Government’ that’s to blame. I’ve noticed that Lottery funding is more likely to go to the same people. When you see who the Lottery is run by it makes sense.

      1. Dafis

        “The only good colonist is a dead colonist” – discuss.

        Oh, there’s nothing to discuss it’s as clear as the nose on my face !

    1. Surprisingly, she is not mentioned. Maybe because this is a Labour racket and there’s a coalition to think of after next year’s elections.

      What’s your view of £28m of City Deal money going to a company owned by Cornwall County Council that may have no presence in Pembrokeshire?

    2. Dafis

      The fact that Ms Wood isn’t known to oppose is not a big surprise. Neither is lack of shrill high frequency support as she is more focussed on sundry other matters that are not necessarily good for Wales or the Welsh. However her party’s utter unwillingness to question the integrity of these “projects” which are now increasing in size and frequency is perplexing for any innocents in our country who still perceive them to be the Party of Wales. Perhaps Adam might like to share his views and give insight on how all this sits comfortably in his grand vision for our futures.

          1. I must admit – I am the ‘Technophobe’. Thanks Jac for pasting on the photos – I could not get these photos onto your BLOG. They needed to be seen. We fought as villagers here, together with the mostly Welsh speaking Hill Farmers, who used to graze Mynydd y Gwair with sheep and cattle every summer for centuries, as a vital part of their farming business seasonal pattern. The Duke of Beaufort’s ‘Family Trust – The Somerset Trust’ actually owns the mountain, as he is still the Lord of Gower which includes north Swansea. The local farmers hold ancient grazing rights. We fought this for well over twenty five years and finally lost. Finally it was WAG and Minister Lesley Griffiths that beat us with Plaid Cymru doing nothing! Obviously, the pseudo greens were involved and so was ‘Dr’ Edna Mitty ‘PhD’ involved at stages. This whole mountain is now trashed for an average output of 8 MW for a 60,000 MW Grid. The only beneficiaries are the foreign businesses involved – German & French & Irish and of course the Duke of Beaufort’s family. Look at the beautiful original photo – this is within the boundary of the City of Swansea. It was once a ‘Marcher Lordship’ run by the cruel De Breos family now in the hands of the extremely wealthy family of Duke Bunter Beaufort. It will do nothing to prevent Climate Change. Jac and readers do you remember those Student Labour Councillors in Swansea? They laughed in derision at the hill farmers and were reported to the Ombudsman for that, but wriggled out of it and then fled Swansea.They were supported by Plaid Cymru who in turn lost all their seats on Swansea Council and now cannot even contest empty Community (Parish) Council seats in Swansea. This mess is the legacy both those two pathetic Groups left behind them in Swansea!

            1. Plaid Cymru’s position seems to be blind acceptance of anything claiming to be ‘renewable’ or ‘Green’ irrespective of the damage it does to Wales and to Welsh communities. What’s more, I cannot understand how a socialist party welcomes what is clearly colonialist exploitation with Wales seeing little in the way of jobs or other economic benefits.

      1. Wynne

        Well said Dafis. Over to you Adam. Let’s hear your views / proposals if you would like our support at the ballot box.

  2. Daiiroko

    A quote from your current moan ….. “companies from outside of Wales building wind farms, wave power installations, and other facilities, that provide few if any jobs for Welsh people and contribute little or nothing to the Welsh economy”.
    A classic Jaco sweeping generalisation!
    In a previous life I spent the best part of 8+ years as Cabinet Member for Regeneration with NPTCBC. So I have some experience of the challenges of “re-working” Wales over this time.
    A standout and frustrating message throughout this time was that Welsh ‘Ontreprenewers’ with large pots of money to invest, simply didn’t exist.
    As a Council we had a Business Connect set up, where locals could apply for start up advice and finance. Over that period several hundred businesses benefitted from the scheme. Some failed but many succeeded. My personal favourite was a local farmer who we helped diversify. He ended up selling his business for several millions ……..to an English Company.
    You and your disciples bang on about “outside/Colonialist’ moneybags coming into our area. Yet, I never see a comment/discussion about why ‘No Welsh Investors ?’. You always avoid the question of ”what do we do waiting for them to materialise”.!
    No, that’s not fair, I suppose Independence is your (stupid) answer !

    I can assure you that it became obvious to us that big Welsh Investors didn’t exist!
    Instead, working with the Welsh Government, we went to great lengths to secure the big GE Power Station investment (all American money) at Baglan, and worked tirelessly with Tata to secure their continuity at Port Talbot. The Amazon investment (all American money)at Jersey marine and then the new University Campus across the road took incredible efforts by us and others to deliver.
    Following a reading of some of your twaddle on the ‘colonialists’ my own personal laugh is the crap you peddle on wind farms, including PenY Cymoedd.
    NPTCBC Planning Department/Committee handled our side of that application. Every individual turbine tower was carefully placed to not impact on delicate peat and sensitive habitats. Much of the highway infrastructure used and improved on existing forestry structures. Absolutely no adverse drainage issues. No dead birds.

    And then there is your punch line “contribute little or nothing to the Welsh economy”.
    On this matter, let me tell you a little story. For close on five(ish) years it fell my lot to chair the regular meetings of the Afan Valley Regen Group.
    Covering the communities at the head of the valley it was made up of well informed public activists plus a Councillor or two. As a member of NPT I was aware of the areas rankings in the Deprivation League. They were in the UK (worse ) top ten. However, that never prepared me for the reality of people living under these circumstances. One of the most depressing experiences of my career. Meeting after meeting saw them begging for investment producing jobs. To that end Communities First Money was a small, but important lifeline.

    When the PenY Cymoed project began to unfold with the 25 year promise of an annual £1.8 million, the mood changed immediately.
    The project was going to provide a substantial investment for the foreseeable future. Pen Y Cymoedd is the best thing to happen to the Upper Afan valley in fifty years.

    A couple of ‘little’ points to finish.
    The ‘deforestation’ /tree removal for the scheme. An eminent mathematician disciple of yours produced frightening stats on the negative impact. Bullshit. The trees were in fact a man-grown crop which was felled and sold. As man intended!
    Oh, and of course there is no mention of the tree felling linked to the disease which tore through Upper Afan Valley before and during the PenY Cymoedd development. Three times that associated with Wind Farm projects.

    In fact, such was the quantity of timber being produced, particularly through the disease remediation work that the rate of cutting was reduced to respond to the fall in price of the timber because of the glut on the market.
    Finally, there is there little matter of the destruction of the landscape/flooding caused by the building of the turbines bases. Those with a minimal knowledge of the Valley’s recent pass will know that they pale into insignificance set against the post-Aberfan treatment of the old coal tips on the same landscape!

    1. Bloody hell, Dai! you’re early – on the wagon?

      Now listen to me Dai, cos it’s late and I’m tired. Everything you think you’ve said – and you’ve been unusually eloquent – is undone when you extol as the economic salvation of local communities the peanuts paid out by wind farm developers. If Vattenfall or RWE can give £5m, £10m, then how much are they making? And if they can make it then why can’t we?

      You’re a typical Unionist, Dai. Not only are you satisfied with crumbs from someone else’s table you aren’t smart enough to see that the crumbs are coming from a loaf the bastards stole from us.

      I’m not going to waste much more time, Dai; but apart from new swings for the kiddies, a community centre here and there, and back-handers for Labour councillors, how many jobs has Pen y Cymoedd brought, how many local youngsters have been taught skills that will get them a good job anywhere on earth?

      And, finally, taking credit for Amazon, where poorly-paid workers aren’t even allowed to go for a piss, just about sums up the ambition the Labour Party has for Wales.

    2. Brychan

      Dai – You are wrong to say that the planting of larch and spruce trees on the hillside above the Afan valley was as a crop. They were planted in the 1970s as soil structure stabilisation. There is a myth that there was a timber sales market for these trees. Unlike the plantations after WW1 which were destined as pit-props in the pillar and stall mining methods, by the 1970s all collieries had converted to hydraulic support longwall faces. The amount of timber consumption by the time these forests were planted was very small, and now zero. They were planted primarily as a quick solution to stabilise coal tips.

      You are also wrong that the felling of the one million trees for Pen y Cymoedd wind farm caused a glut in the timber market, it was because there was a pre-existing surplus. Such was the desperation to off-load practically worthless timber that NRW entered into corrupt disposal contracts. The type of wood liberated is suitable only for domestic lap fence panels or similar low grade applications, manufacture outside of Wales, but the majority were turned into wood chip for burning in the bio-mass power stations, one which was opened at Margam as you highlight, but it’s now on half capacity due to pollution.

      The final stage of the tips reclamation would have been to selectively fell the conifers, patch working, once the organic composition of the soil structure had improved, and replace them with native deciduous trees on lower slopes, or on the upper slopes natural heathland or meadow, the return of hafod livestock agriculture. This final stage was cancelled with clear felling for the wind turbines, resulting in putting the landscape back into instability problems of the 1960s. This is most starkly demonstrated recently in Rhondda Fach at Tylorstown with a tip slide, and in the Fawr with domestic flooding and lower down the catchments with river surges at Pontypridd.

      It should be noted that there is a ‘re-wilding’ project that has taken into account the ‘next stage’ of landscape remediation. It is the Gnoll park extension in NPT. Initially sceptical, I investigated, and although run by the Woodland Trust, the project leader, it turned out, was Welsh, a resident of Blaenau Ffesiniog, up north. Thing is, the reason that particular section did not have any wind turbines was because of the Gnoll County Park was protected and already being of community notoriety. It allows for final stage reclamation. The Treherbert scheme, however, is not of this type, clear felling accomplished, hydrology damaged and just a gravy train for outsiders to enrich themselves on grants, the upper slopes now infested with turbines and zip wires planned.

      Your bullshit might work with your former Labour councillors and dullards on NPT council, but when you comment on this blog, don’t be surprised when you attract the attention of those who know what their talking about (in any language) and a deep understanding of the landscape involved. Du kan prata svenska med mig, nest ti wybod dw in medru siarad cymraeg and of course, English. This leads me to believe that failure of Vattenfall to respond to my previous requests for information, even for courtesy, suggests their agenda is somewhat exploitative. I require no payment, other than the return of the land to the native communities involved, and an end to using the Welsh landscape for processes of physical and financial extraction.

    3. Brychan

      Dai says NTP council and the Welsh Government went to great lengths to secure the building of the gas power station on the old BP site at Baglan. This included grants and free land. It was built by GE in 2003, but when the ‘secure jobs guarantee period’ expired and the fixed strike price on electricity expired, GE sold it.

      It was purchased by a city consortium, Macquarie Bank, who went on to form the operating company, Calon Energy. In the deal they also purchased the gas power station, at Uskmouth near Newport. In June of this year liquidators were called in and Calon Energy is now in liquidation, with 111 jobs at risk.

      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09020390

      As usual, the grants and favours industrial policy of the Welsh Government has let us down. Firms just appear, take the cash, and when obligations expire they up sticks and leave or just close it down and asset strip. This is no way to run an economy or secure long term investment and jobs.

      Dai should be congratulated for his comment to this blog. It highlights the abject failure of the Labour Party in Wales and provides us with an example on why Wales needs independence. We need to stop it being run by a viceroy minions as some kind of colonial outpost.

        1. Brychan

          If he was entered into a tug of war competition he’d be the one pushing.
          Wearing Union Jack shorts.

  3. There once was a classic verbal set to in Alltwen between next door neighbours in the Swansea Valley where a leading County Councillor allegedly told a mere District Councillor across the garden fence “Trouble with you Dai, is you’ve been educated beyond your intelligence!”. Daiiroko do you remember Dewi telling you that, much to the mirth of your listening neighbours? Anyway Dai, you should have been grateful for how polite and truthful Dewi was compared to how Leighton Andrews bollocked you clean out of NPTCBC Cabinet and ended your petty political career.

    1. Daiiroko

      What an amusing, but characteristically anonymous contribution!
      To be fair, everything referred too has a modicum of accuracy about it. But, it’s the spiteful twist that reveals the character of the writer.
      Mmmmmm! “Leading County Councillor” (Dewi Evans) ….Is he the one that always came second to me in elections and eventually stood in another ward?
      My pal Dewi has a a remarkable skill at one liners. I have enjoyed them all over the years, and still do to this day with him!.
      On the topic of ‘over the garden wall’…we did live next door to each other. Did you hear about the time at one election when his good wife presented herself at my door with a bundle of dirty washing (Dewi’s). She wondered if she could use my washing machine as hers had broken down. Alltwen Magic!

      It’s the Leighton Andrews comment that need correcting. Its Leighton Andrews who was sacked. Following a meeting of LA and his team with the Board of WJECA, letter of serious complaint about his behaviour, from me as Acting Chairman of WJEC to Carwyn Jones, and a similar letter from the CEO of WJEC to the head of the Civil Service, that resulted in HIS sacking.
      An event buried by the media.
      The person who bollocked me out of the cabinet was my two faced ‘Pal’ of many years, Ali Thomas.

      “Petty political career”…mmm that’s an interesting comment! I suppose that some people might sum up a career of 38 years of enjoying the support of ones community, on the back of a string of major achievements both in my community, Lliw Valley BC and NPTCBC as petty, but such comments, in keeping with this Blog, would suggest jealousy, even GREEN with envy.
      I was fortunate to be part of a team that got things done, compared with others on the fringe whose major achievements would be “points scoring” finding fault in others.

      1. R. Bevan

        I know sod all about tree felling and such, but I do know Alltwen and I do know this: 38 years of service. Well ffycin done. All the young ambitious types have had to leave, and I don’t mean Swansea, the place is becoming a comuter belt for English professionals who work in Swansea and Cardiff and English retirees who just love the countryside. You useless dick. The very best your performance can be described as is managed decline.

      2. Gruff Williams

        Thirty eight years, string of major achievements, are you having a laugh? I’m not from your part, but am realiably informed there is very little for local people and many who have a job, usually in Abertawe, can’t afford a house in their own community. You must be so proud.

      3. Wrexhamian

        Your ‘contribution’ to NPT regarding your alleged attempts to generate Welsh-run enterprises suggests that, like every other council official overseeing an impoverished part of our country, you were wedged over a barrel by ‘investors’ from outside Wales and by the Westminster Government and Civil Servants who filled your begging bowl. It’s a form of blackmail, and still going on, but could have been, and should be, resisted. I appreciate that your constituents were desperate for a job, any job, but you would have done Wales a bigger service by keeping non-Welsh companies out of the picture, if your success in funding and generating Welsh-owned businesses was as great as you allege.

  4. What an amusing, but characteristically sarcastic contribution response from Daiiroko! With all the cross fire its difficult to know how many fingers Leighton Andrews & Dewi Evans & Ali Thomas and Daiiroko had in the NPTCBC pies. Rumour has it that the maximum would have been less than forty between all four of them. Maybe Leighton Andrews bit them off. He always was a bit of a carnivore in meetings.
    My advice to Jac’s readers is to ignore these past yesterday irrelevant nobody people above.
    Let’s all get back to Jac’s main theme subject this week – ECOCOLONIALISM ! Jac your POSTING on this topic is spot on.

    1. Wrexhamian

      On which subject, I have been monitoring the weekly progress of ‘Dr.’ Davidson’s apologia for envirocolonialsim, ‘Futuregen’ [sic.] A panic seemed to occur within her yurt when she received two negative reviews on her Amazon.co.uk page, pointing out that the book was a justification for hippy lebensraum emanating from the Home Counties, and worse. Since then she has had a string of positive reviews from well-placed individuals who have no other reviews to their credit for any other book, DVD, car accessory, item of clothing, or anything else sold on Amazon; which suggests that she has phoned around her chums in the eco movement and asked them to submit a positive review so as to minimise the bad publicity.

      Jac’s comment on her book is apt. No doubt there’ll be more bad reviews in the fullness of time, and a further bout of panic. The truth hurts.

  5. Brychan

    Karen Davies (originally from Epsom) and now director of Purple Shoots Loans and non-executive director of “Welcome to our Woods” had just previously spent 10 years an investment executive for Finance Wales.

    https://uk.linkedin.com/public-profile/in/karenvdavies?

    She recently published an article where she is lobbying for changes the benefits system to allow people to save funds for starting a micro-business. The savings threshold caps at £16k to qualify for benefits.

    Most people on benefits in Rhondda live hand-to-mouth and do not have savings. The ones that do tend to be a bit posh, live in England and have a trust fund stashed away that cannot be accessed, as they’d lose benefits. The type who’d love to move to Wales to wattle some wood while living in a yurt and still claim benefits.

  6. A simple internet search reveals that DAIIROKO reviews not only Jac’s Blog, but also a book on ‘Timbercladding’, and more interestingly a Pill Organiser Box as below to hold his twelve prescribed daily Tablets. My advice is to DAIIROKO – keep taking the tablets before reaching for the bottle after midnight. Oh, how the once NPTCBC Cabinet Member has slumped from dealing with his Economic Policy Failures down to writing Pill Organiser Reviews. Here below he is writing about his medical issues. Is this really you Dai?
    Review by daiiroko 24 May, 2017
    Pill Organiser
    Excellent product …no doubt!
    Set alongside a similar one from B….s – it is larger and of an equal quality and half the price.
    If I have any criticism it is that it is a little on the large size. In spite of the fact that I have 7 am tablets and 5 pm tablets there’s oceans of space left over. A small problem for travel but not for home use.

  7. Forest folly

    Eleanor Clegg, Friends of the Earth (FoE) continues to mistakenly sing the praises of, and glorify wind driven generators. According to her stunted reasoning these limited and ineffective wind driven machines will be instrumental and vital in saving life on the planet. Really! How on earth this will be achieved when nearly 2 million trees have been felled in Wales to accommodate her beloved wind farms – not to overlook the tons and tons of concrete used in creating generator bases and the necessary infrastructure to connect to the Grid. Huge areas of peat and gorse land have disappeared – land which would normally soak up rainfall, thus minimising run-off and the threat of flooding. National Resources Wales (NRW) state the number of trees that have been felled for all onshore wind farm development in Wales are as follows, Clocaenog Wind Farm, 307,200 Cefn Croes Wind Farm, 568,000 Pen y Cymoedd and Maerdy Wind Farm,732,320 Brechfa Wind Farm, 330,880; the total number of trees felled for onshore wind farm developments on NRW managed land so far totals 1,938,400. I support any ‘meaningful’ effort to generate electricity from a clean and sustainable source. Wind farms fall very short of this requirement, especially in Wales, when carbon absorbing trees have been felled to accommodate these ineffective and limited machines – it is absolutely absurd to reach a situation when under windless conditions we will have zero power generation and now 2 MILLION less trees – the strategy of the Mad Hatter!

    1. Remember! the NRW figure only applies to trees felled on NRW land. None of the many Powys wind farms are covered by that figure because they are on private land.

  8. Strangers to the truth

    In simplistic terms nuclear, coal, oil and gas fired power stations use their source energy to heat and boil water to produce steam. This steam is then used to operate a ‘steam turbine’ which then spins the rotor of an electrical generator. It thus begs the question as to why call wind driven generators ‘turbines’ when a large two or three bladed propeller is simply employed, via a gear box, to turn the rotor of an electrical generator – where exactly is the turbine? I would suggest that it is a clever marketing ploy by the wind industry to imply a much more effective and sophisticated machine than what they are in truth.

    Sir Charles Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine (1884) must be turning (excuse the pun) in his grave at people’s ignorance to the workings of such sophisticated machines. Indeed, the first turbine was connected to a generator that produced 7.5 kilowatts of electricity – the invention made cheap and plentiful electricity possible and revolutionized marine transport and naval warfare. A lot of folk are obviously not familiar with the workings of turbo-prop aircraft engines, which employ a combination of both a PROPELLER and a TURBINE!

    To be sure, a turbine in its simplest form consists of numerous blades connected to rotary shaft, which are all ‘enclosed’ in a metal housing, and are absolutely nothing like a propeller. Wind driven generators are not driven by turbines – may I suggest that uninformed folk visit their local power station and have a turbine explained to them by the engineers, thus enhancing their engineering knowledge – the power engineers might also offer their thoughts on large scale wind generation in the UK?

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