Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ynys Môn Planning Policy - now set by size of mob?

This Wednesday between 200 and 300 protesters stood in the cold outside the Council Offices to voice their concerns about wind turbines, an anaerobic digestion plant at Mona and also proposed biomass plant at Peboc, Llangefni - how many where present  from each group we may never know.

According to some "The large turnout on a weekday furthermore proves that Ynys Môn residents are far more concerned about wind turbines than they are about Wylfa B."

Or in other words it's claimed Ynys Môn residents are more concerned about the erection of 'monstrous and industrial' wind turbines than they are about Wylfa B (supposedly therefore not monstrous or industrial)

So its planning policy decided by size of mob, that draw out the greater support on a weekday, including those that can afford to take time off from work.

Currently the Council is consulting on its Supplementary Planning Guidance - Onshore wind energy. The consultation ends 10 February 2012.

This will replace and build upon the Supplementary Planning Guidance Wind Energy Development (1994)

The statutory planning guidance with greatest weight currently on the island is the Local Plan, and the policy on renewable energy is:

Renewable Energy.

45. Renewable energy projects will be permitted where it can be clearly demonstrated that there will not be any unacceptable impact on

i.   Landscape character.
ii.  Sites of international, national, or local importance for nature conservation.
iii. Species which are of nature conservation importance.
iv. The standard of amenity enjoyed by the resident and tourist population.
vi. Essential public services and communications.

All arrived at by due process, but does the above matter ? - no because up to 300 people turned up on a weekday, we need to set aside everything else and bow to the pressure of the greatest mob.

Now putting aside the arguments about wind turbines, ask yourself this question, would you as a potential investor thinking of starting up a new venture on the island (the island that likes to say 'No')  really do so, if you knew that all it would take is for little more than 300 people to turn up outside the Council Office at Llangefni to scupper your plans and any monies you may have already spent in conducting surveys, environmental impact assessments etc, etc....I think not.

In 2010 the electorate on Ynys Môn was 49,721 therefore the number of protesters who turned out on Wednesday opposed to wind turbines, anaerobic digestion plants and biomass plants was only 0.6% of the electorate.

Remember, that's the new target 300 people, that's all you now need to allegedly change council policy and make some Councillors jump.

Here is a potential future call to the Council "So what do you think of my idea for investment in the island."

Council official replies "Hold on there is a big angry mob outside, I don't think they like the idea."

1 comment:

Paul Williams said...


Firstly, the number of people opposing a planning application has always been considered by the Council's officers when deciding whether to support it or not. Is this 'mob rule'?

Secondly, the Council has quite rightly put their draft SPG on on-shore wind energy out to consultation. Why you should shake your head when large numbers of people decide to therefore participate in this consultation both directly and by staging a protest outside the council offices is beyond me.

"Or in other words it's claimed Ynys Môn residents are more concerned about the erection of 'monstrous and industrial' wind turbines than they are about Wylfa B (supposedly therefore not monstrous or industrial)"

A silly argument. Wylfa A/B is confined to one corner of the island and, as we've had it for the past 40 years, seems to have had minimal impact on the desirability of Ynys Môn as a tourist destination. The erection of non-domestic-use turbines, some up to 100m in height, will be visible across the whole Island. They may or may not impact tourism, we don't know.

You go to great lengths to quote the various planning guidance on renewable energy but omit arguably the most important: TAN 8. TAN 8 advises Local Authorities to "avoid a situation where wind turbines are spread across the whole of a county." In your diatribe against 'mob rule' you forget that the council currently has over 70 applications for turbines across the whole Island —mostly because the council has not developed a proper strategy to contain larger ones in one area. Why shouldn't people protest against this situation?

Finally, on your points about potential investors being put off, the Bodffordd Biomass plant WAS granted planning permission despite a long campaign by Bodffordd residents to stop it. All developers anyway need to make a case for their projects and people have every right to oppose them if they wish — whether you like it or not.