First a bit of historical context. Up to 2005, there was only limited opposition to wind farms in Mid Wales. A few of them were being built, and like most inhabitants of this most wonderful corner of the world, I was not much bothered about them. The scale and impact of what was happening was not overly significant. The Welsh Labour Government ended all that in 2005, when it outlined its future plans to transform Mid Wales into a wind farm landscape. It took only a day or two to fully grasp the horror of it and the underlying deceit behind what was being publicly proposed. My good friend Peter Ogden, Director of CPRW opened my eyes to the impending desecration. There would have to be a new massive 400kv power line from the Grid somewhere in England into the heart of the Welsh Uplands to take the power out. And because it would be a dedicated line, it would mean around another 500 turbines, far more than we were then being told about. I was transformed into an angry implacable opponent. Have remained in the same condition ever since.
Enter National Grid with rousing fanfare in 2010 (I think) and with it's inbuilt supreme, ruthless cunning. Firstly, they tried to turn the people of Montgomeryshire against each other by putting up options. But the people saw through this attempt to create a local war. A protest movement was born. And its strength has been that it's a 'Peoples Protest'. Their elected representatives, Powys County Council refused planning for the wind farms that started to roll in for the mega bucks being offered (the costs being added onto our power bills). All this protest seen by the developers and National Grid as no more than a mere hindrance to be brushed aside. Seen it all before blah blah. So the developers appealed, and sat back to await their lucrative permissions. There was a monster conjoined public inquiry into 5 of them. The 'People's Protest' didn't go away. It grew and grew - and spread across the land. The Conservative Party listened, responded and promised in its manifesto to end subsidies for onshore wind farms.
Move forward to last Wed.. At PMQs I asked the Prime Minister if he agreed with my view that any onshore wind proposal without planning permission (on that day) should not receive any public subsidy. He agreed. Seems to me that this is a big deal. DECC will try to undermine it - under pressure from the mighty developers. They are like a herd of Darth Vadars.
Now there are three distinct though linked issues confronting the people of mid Wales today. Firstly the conjoined public inquiry. We know the Inspector handed his report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change on Dec 8th 2014. We read a Sunday Telegraph 'leak' in March that 3 of the 5 applications had been approved and 2 had been refused, and that the decision was to be deferred until after the election. We do not know if this was true, but it might have been. Anyway, it is now after the election! So I suppose we can expect a decision soon, even if I'd prefer it to be deferred til 2020!!
Secondly, and in my opinion much more importantly, there's the subsidy position. These proposals did not have planning approval last Wednesday when the Prime Minister spoke. In my view, they cannot now expect to receive any subsidy. Nor can any of the other wind farms that might sign up to National Grid's power line. On the face of it, they are stuffed, and so is the line. But the champagne is on ice. I've been around too long, and had too many defeats snatched from the jaws of victory. DECC and the developers will do everything possible to defeat the people, and the Government. Lets just wait a while and see.
And thirdly there is 'localism' as a principle. In England, the Government will shortly announce that decisions about onshore wind are in future going to be decided at local level - Power to the people. In Wales, the Labour Government is taking powers over planning away from the Local Planning Authority level - Power to the State. Now for a bit of personal opinion. Let next May's Conservative Assembly Election Campaign be - Power to the People. Let's be done with these centralising people-bashing philistines that run Wales as a one-party state. We have demonstrated in Mid Wales what an aroused people can achieve.