Russell George disscusses onshore wind with UK Minister

Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George, said his meeting this week with the Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker MP, was a very productive one, as he felt the UK Government were exploring far more energy avenues than the Welsh Government.

The comments came after Mr Barker visited South Wales to promote the UK Government’s policies on the Green Deal and small-scale renewables. When directly questioned on the proliferation of onshore wind farms by Mr George, the Minister said he was against ‘one club golf’ and felt that communities would only engage with the renewable energy agenda, if government's demonstrated that they were investing in a wide mix of renewables and that there was not a policy of ‘imposition’.

Commenting Mr George said:

“This was a productive meeting and the messages that the Minster conveyed were positive. As the Minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change charged with developing small-scale community renewable projects, he is very conscious that the only way members of the public are going to engage is if they are involved in the decision making process at every stage and if they can see such projects are going to bring genuine community enhancement. I was also pleased to hear him discuss energy innovation in marine and tidal energy, something which the Minister is a strong advocate of because of generation consistency and high levels of capacity, which is somewhat of a problem with wind energy.”

Earlier in the week Assembly questions, Mr George once again challenged the Welsh Environment Minister, John Griffiths AM, on the previous Government’s commitment to have a public review of TAN 8. In a letter obtained by the Montgomeryshire AM, the former Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, stated that the Government ‘is committed to a review of Tan 8’ and that the revision would be ‘subject to a full public consultation.’

During the exchanges Mr George said:

“Minister, you have stated that a review of TAN 8 has been carried out but if we look at it in reality, all that was tweaked were the onshore targets and TAN 8 was not amended. What you consulted on was very different to what was promised.  “I know the First Minister has publically said there is no case for a review. However, with the advancement in technology in the last seven years combined with the change in scale of on-shore wind turbines, would you concede that the rationale has changed and that a review is necessary and that the wider public want a review to take place?