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Wales accused of spoiling countryside with wind farms to spite the English 

Credit:  By Melissa Lawford | 14 May 2023 | telegraph.co.uk ~~

The Welsh government has been accused of spoiling the Welsh countryside with wind farms to spite the English.

Cardiff is pressing ahead with onshore wind farm developments when it could explore more offshore projects because it does not want to send fees to the Crown Estate or share control of projects with the UK Government, campaigners have warned.

Fay Jones, Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, criticised the Welsh government for taking a nationalist policy stance on green energy.

She said: “It doesn’t seem to have offshore in its sights because it won’t derive all of the benefit from that.”

The Crown Estate is the ultimate owner of around half of the coastline and seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland (a separate entity, the Crown Estate Scotland is the equivalent north of the border). This means it collects fees from the development of offshore projects.

The Welsh government’s Future Wales strategy document said it supported offshore wind but that these projects did not fall within its remit.

Plaid Cymru, the junior partner in the Welsh government’s coalition deal, has called for the Crown Estate to be devolved to Wales.

Ms Jones said: “If we put those two things together, then you can see the Welsh government’s thinking on this.”
Plans are underway for a major onshore wind farm development at Radnor Forest in her own constituency.

Ms Jones added: “People absolutely hate this project. It tells you a lot about how the Welsh government sees rural Wales as just a cash cow.”

The Welsh government has denied that it is anti-offshore wind. A spokesman said: “We are strong supporters of offshore wind, including floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, and have been pressing the Crown Estate to develop a long term plan to secure green energy in a way that can bring economic benefits to our communities.”

Ross Evans, of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW), a Welsh countryside charity, said: “There is a reluctance to get behind it [offshore wind]. The biggest reason is because they haven’t got control over it because it is up to the Crown Estate and the UK Government for the major projects offshore.”

He said there is also a risk that offshore projects will not count towards the Welsh government’s green energy targets if they come ashore in England.

He added: “They just want Wales to be a net exporter of energy and sod the rest of the UK, that is the impression I get.”

Wales currently produces 30TWh of energy. At the moment, this is roughly double how much it uses, but demand is expected to triple to 45TWh by 2050.

CPRW argues that all of this increase in demand could be met three times over by offshore projects. Current proposals for offshore power projects in the Irish and Celtic Seas could generate 100 TWh of energy. Onshore projects, by contrast, will only generate 25TWh.

Source:  By Melissa Lawford | 14 May 2023 | telegraph.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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