CPRW, The Welsh Countryside Charity is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Climate Change in Wales, Julie James MS, to discuss how Wales can reach and even exceed its net zero ambitions without sacrificing people’s quality of life or Wales’ scenic beauty spots. Also has concerns over the conduct of some energy companies
In its letter to the Minister, CPRW said that it commends the Welsh Government for its stance:
“The Welsh Countryside Charity commends you and the Welsh Government for your stance on tackling both the Climate and Nature emergencies. Our members fully support both the need to transition away from fossil fuels, and to first halt and then reverse the decline in Wales’ biodiversity.
We appreciate your recent intention to create a publicly owned energy company and thus see more of the rewards for renewable energy made in Wales stay in Wales. It reads.
However, CPRW are concerned about ‘the current DNS application process, several insensitive applications, and misleading statements from some energy companies.’
A spokesperson for the charity said that it is receiving multiple calls daily from concerned residents across Wales who have been knowingly misled by some unscrupulous energy companies:
“We have had calls from people near tears, that have had a visit to their house from an energy company representative telling them they are putting up 250m high wind turbines right next to their homes and there’s nothing they can do about it because they have pre-approval from the Welsh Government!”
“On the Gwent Levels there are numerous groups concerned about applications for solar farms that impact SSSI sites and ride rough-shot through any biodiversity concerns.” said the spokesperson.
The Welsh Countryside charity says that it wants to work with the Welsh Government to get us to and even beyond net zero:
“Off-shore wind is now cost-competitive with on-shore; in Wales we have over 20 GW capacity in offshore potential while we need less than 10 GW to reach net zero. Offshore wind also has the approval of RSPB, MCS, and WWF as well as CPRW due to the minimal impact on biodiversity and in some respects a potential benefit to it.
“The Minister herself recently admitted to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee that the National Grid Network in Wales was ‘not fit for purpose’ and given that Wales can comfortably generate twice what it uses, only using Offshore. We are perplexed and dismayed to see the current mad scramble for onshore wind and solar developments across Wales’s open spaces, in some cases irrespective of the boundaries of the ‘pre-assessed Areas’ set out in Future Wales.” Said the Welsh Countryside Charity.
Currently, all onshore wind / solar farm developments over 25MW go through the Developments of National Significance (DNS) scheme that was introduced by the Welsh Government in 2021 and is overseen by a body called Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) meaning Local Authorities no longer decide on planning application of this type.
A full list of current applications can be viewed here: https://planningcasework.service.gov.wales/dnsapplications
Minister gave evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in May 2022 here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/4726275d-17c5-4a1a-ba62-a8eb6a4bf63d