The Plaid Cymru AM said:
“It is time for the Assembly Government to actively promote windfarm developments by the Forestry Commission on large upland conifer plantations. This would have twice the benefits – producing renewable energy and allowing a managed return from conifer plantations back to a natural habitat, to include new broadleaf plantings. Such proactive measures by the Forestry Commission and the Environment Minister would contribute to meeting the TAN 8 targets, without necessitating commercial developments in populated, lowland areas such as the 25MW Rhos Garn windfarm in the middle of Ceredigion.”
Responding to Elin Jones’s question Carwyn Jones agreed that this should be considered by the Assembly Government and added that the Forestry Commission does have a policy on this issue. However he refused to comment on any future plans due to his role as Planning Minister.
Ms Jones further commented:
“I am disappointed that Carwyn Jones has chosen to sit on the fence here. We need renewable energy more than we need the products of upland conifer plantations.
Re-iterating her opposition to the 25 MW Rhos Garn windfarm in mid Ceredigion, she said:
“People will know that I am not opposed to windfarms in principle. However, they need to be in appropriate locations – Rhos Garn is not appropriate, but upland conifer plantations may well be appropriate.”
Q5 Elin Jones: What recent discussions has the Minister had with UK Government Ministers regarding rural development? OAQ0507(EPC)
Carwyn Jones: I meet my ministerial counterparts in the United Kingodm on a regular basis, and rural development plays a big part in our discussions.
Elin Jones: In your discussions, have you had an opportunity to consider whether the Forestry Commission should take a much more proactive approach to the development of wind farms on its land, or rather on our uplands, given that that could offer a substantial opportunity to produce renewable energy and to restore original habitats?
Carwyn Jones: This is something for the Assembly Government and not for UK Ministers to consider. The Forestry Commission has a policy and plans on this issue. Given that I am also the Minister for planning, I must adopt an arm’s-length attitude on this, therefore I cannot comment.