CPRW, The Welsh Countryside Charity, has said the construction of a new gas power plant by DRAX in the Cynon Valley is a clear illustration of a lack of joined up thinking between the Welsh and UK governments.

Hirwaun Power, a subsidiary of DRAX Energy, are building a 299MW gas power plant in Hirwaun Industrial Estate, near the village of Rhigos in the Cynon Valley. The power plant, designed to be used during periods of peak electricity demand, is in direct conflict to the Welsh Government’s targets (which it said on Monday it is on course to meet) to have all power produced in Wales to come from renewable energy by 2035.

CPRW wrote to the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, last year to ask if this development was in congress with their targets and if not, for it to be called in. The Minister stated that the decision was not made by the Welsh Government but that:

“…it is the intent of Welsh Ministers to maintain a strong presumption against new fossil-fuelled power plant.”

Following this CPRW then wrote to the Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies MP, who said that although the decision was made by the UK Government…

“The decision over whether to call in developments for review sits with Welsh Government Ministers.”

Spokesperson for CPRW, Ross Evans, says that this political ping-pong over important energy decisions is just one illustration of the lack of a joined-up approach to energy policy in the UK.

“With the construction of a new gas-fired power plant, due for completion in 2024 the Welsh Government are clearly not going to meet their commitment for all electricity produced in Wales by 2035.

“There is clearly a need for something like a gas power plant, for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, along with other options like batteries and possible new nuclear, but this simply is not recognised.

“This is yet another example of a lack of a joined-up approach to energy policy. The UK government has committed the UK to getting every household in the UK powered by offshore wind by 2030, yet the Welsh Government are reluctant to include this in their energy targets and seem determined to industrialise our countryside instead.

“Rooftop solar is another obvious choice seemingly ignored by both the UK and the Welsh Government. We recently wrote to the Welsh Minister for Climate Change to ask for an investment fund to established to allow every household to get rooftop solar – this would not only benefit the households directly, instead of some multinational, it would also ease pressure on the grid.

“What we need from our governments, at every level, is a clear and integrated plan that benefits everyone and the planet. We urge the governments to put aside petty political differences and get it sorted.” said Evans.



Notes to editors:

Enclosed – letters sent, and responses received, to the Minister for Climate Change and the Secretary of State, and their responses. And a letter sent to the Minister for Climate Change requesting the establishment of an investment fund for rooftop solar.

UK Gov confirms offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-make-uk-world-leader-in-green-energy

The Future Energy Grids for Wales report can be found here: https://www.gov.wales/future-energy-grids-wales-reports

Our petition story can be found here: https://cprw.org.uk/cprw-petition-seeks-to-save-the-countryside/

A map illustrating the industrialisation of our countryside can be found here: https://cprw.org.uk/dns-map-launched-at-rwas/