I was born in mid Wales, on an upland farm, which I still own. I live about one mile away from it today. I love the region, and can contemplate living nowhere else. It is a truly beautiful place, which underpins the largest part of the local economy, tourism. It can be no surprise that I, and almost all of the ‘disinterested’ population are horrified that ‘the state’ in its various forms in intent on destroying this place by industrialising our uplands, and desecrating our valleys with hideous cables and pylons.
I should begin by outlining just what the proposal is. ‘The state’ intends to grant permission for 600-800 new huge onshore turbines, beyond those which currently exist, and those that have planning approval, a 20 acre electricity sub-station, and about 100 miles of new cable, much of it carried on steel towers 150’ high. It is scarcely believable. Not even the enemies of Britain, over the centuries, have wrought such wanton destruction on this part of the United Kingdom.
Since the local population grasped quite what desecration was planned for them, there has been an uprising of anger and protest, the like of which I have never seen before. At one meeting I called in Welshpool, at short notice and with minimal advertisement, around 2,000 people turned up. If the National Assembly for Wales had been sitting at the time, and not involved in an election, all of them would have descended on Cardiff Bay to ensure that the politicians, who have designed this outrage, are fully aware of the scale of anger. This protest will still take place. I will arrange it.
We have to ensure that these politicians, in years to come cannot disclaim responsibility for the environmental vandalism for which they will be responsible. In decades to come they will be remembered with total condemnation, as those who were responsible for drowning the Tryweryn Valley are remembered today, half a century later. We must ensure they know that in mid Wales, their names will be remembered as part of the roll call responsible for splitting the Welsh nation asunder.
The people of mid Wales are a reasonable people. Should it be necessary to destroy our environment for some overwhelming greater good, we would be deeply upset but accept it. But what we have here is a form of state inspired ‘madness. Our region is to be sacrificed at the altar of a false god. To erect 800 new turbines in mid Wales, 30/50 miles away from any connection to the existing National Grid makes no economic or ‘climate change’ sense whatsoever. The carbon impact of this development will never be balanced by any carbon benefit. Even worse, the deliberate conflation of the term ‘on shore wind’ with the term ‘renewable energy’ has done huge damage to public support for the latter. Just as bad, the massive levels of public subsidy and blind refusal to consider opportunity cost, has swallowed up resource which could have done so much to advance the cause of renewable energy.
The policy which drives this economic and environment catastrophe is the Assembly Government’s advice to planning authorities on renewable energy, popularly known as TAN 8. We know that in the end ‘the state’ has the power to crush popular protest, but the people of mid Wales will fight to the last ditch to defend their inheritance, and the legacy that they leave to the next generation.
Glyn Davies MP has been Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, Wales since 2010.