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Glyn Davies: Wind farms threat to the Welsh landscape

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"As usual, I have to declare a potential family interest in a wind farm. As a general comment, I have been deeply disappointed by the introduction of TAN 8 and the debate since then, in that it has brought a real sense of division to the Chamber on an issue that had everyone looking for consensus.

However, I was hugely encouraged by the speeches made by Mick Bates and Helen Mary Jones, and I think that there has been much greater acceptance of the points that I have been trying to make.

I largely agreed with much of what they said today, and there is room for a measure of agreement on this matter. However, for two reasons, I have been against TAN 8 since I first saw a draft of it. First, it undermines local democracy and, secondly, it focuses too much on one particular sort of renewable energy.

To develop those points, with regard to the undermining of local democracy, and speaking as one who was chairman of a local planning authority for about six years, my local planning authority and I saw guidance in a context against which we took all our decisions.

We knew that, if we turned down an application contrary to guidance, not only was that application likely to be approved on appeal, but we would also be subject to heavy costs. It was, therefore, highly unlikely that a planning authority would go against guidance.

I am interested in the Minister's response, particularly in what he said in last week's debate on sustainable development in reply to Gwenda Thomas's contribution.

The Minister's response was hugely encouraging, and totally contrary to local planning authorities' view of planning guidance. To help the Minister, I am arranging to send a copy of his words to all planning authorities so that they can attach it to the guidance, because the Minister's words are significant, and they are also material to a planning authority's decision and should be added to the guidance.

As far as I can see, the Minister's words, generally, show a substantial disagreement with TAN 8, and if he and the other relevant Minister, Andrew Davies, were on speaking terms, they may well have had a far more coherent policy.

I do not truly understand the point that the Minister made. I think that he enjoys the debate when it is brought down to a certain level. When conducted more seriously, he finds debate rather uncomfortable.

The second reason why we are not in favour of TAN 8 is because of its unnecessary focus on one particular form; that of wind energy. When I listened to the First Minister earlier today, and to some of the Minister's comments, I noticed a large measure of agreement in what we are saying.

What we have had, however, is a document produced by the Government for a purpose and which does not stack up. It is a bad document and it should be redrafted. Because it has turned out so, there will be much more opposition across Wales than was ever expected.

Whenever you speak in public about this matter, Minister, you use completely different words, so that the people of Wales think that you are saying one thing while the instructions that you are issuing to local planning authorities are something entirely different."

"Fel arfer, rhaid i mi ddatgan buddiant teuluol posibl mewn fferm wynt. Fel sylw cyffredinol, siomedig iawn i mi fu cyflwyniad TAN 8 a'r ddadl ers hynny, gan ei fod wedi cyflwyno ymdeimlad gwirioneddol o rwyg i'r Siambr ar fater lle'r oedd pawb yn chwilio am gonsensws.

Fodd bynnag, codwyd fy nghalon yn fawr gan yr areithiau a wnaethpwyd gan Mick Bates a Helen Mary Jones, ac yr wyf yn meddwl bod y pwyntiau yr wyf wedi bod yn ceisio eu gwneud wedi cael derbyniad llawer gwell.

Cytunais i raddau helaeth â llawer o'r hyn a ddywedasant heddiw, ac mae lle i ryw fesur o gytundeb ynglyn â'r mater hwn. Fodd bynnag, am ddau reswm, yr wyf wedi bod yn erbyn TAN 8 ers y tro cyntaf y gwelais ddrafft ohono. Yn gyntaf, mae'n tanseilio democratiaeth leol ac, yn ail, mae'n canolbwyntio gormod ar un math penodol o ynni adnewyddadwy.

I ddatblygu'r pwyntiau hyn, ynglyn â thanseilio democratiaeth leol, a chan siarad fel un a fu'n gadeirydd awdurdod cynllunio lleol am oddeutu chwe blynedd, yr oedd fy awdurdod cynllunio lleol a minnau'n ystyried canllawiau mewn cyd-destun ac yn gwneud ein holl benderfyniadau ar sail hynny.

Gwyddem, pe baem yn gwrthod cais yn groes i ganllawiau, nid yn unig bod y cais hwnnw'n debygol o gael ei gymeradwyo ar apêl, ond hefyd y byddem yn wynebu costau sylweddol. Yr oedd yn annhebygol iawn, felly, y byddai awdurdod cynllunio yn gweithredu'n groes i ganllawiau.

Mae gennyf ddiddordeb yn ymateb y Gweinidog, yn enwedig yr hyn a ddywedodd yn nadl yr wythnos diwethaf ar ddatblygu cynaliadwy mewn ymateb i gyfraniad Gwenda Thomas. Yr oedd ymateb y Gweinidog yn galonogol iawn, ac yn gwbl groes i farn awdurdodau cynllunio lleol ynglyn â chanllawiau cynllunio.

Er mwyn helpu'r Gweinidog, yr wyf yn trefnu i anfon copi o'i eiriau at bob awdurdod cynllunio er mwyn iddynt allu rhoi'r geiriau ynghlwm wrth y canllawiau, oherwydd mae geiriau'r Gweinidog yn bwysig, ac maent hefyd yn berthnasol i benderfyniadau awdurdodau cynllunio a dylent gael eu hychwanegu at y canllawiau.

Hyd y gwelaf i, mae geiriau'r Gweinidog, yn gyffredinol, yn dangos anghytundeb sylweddol â TAN 8, a phe bai ef a'r Gweinidog perthnasol arall, Andrew Davies, yn siarad â'i gilydd, mae'n bosibl y byddent wedi cael polisi llawer mwy cydlynol.

Nid wyf yn wir yn deall y pwynt a wnaethpwyd gan y Gweinidog. Tybiaf ei fod yn mwynhau'r ddadl pan ddeuir â hi i lawr i lefel benodol. Pan gymerir pethau'n fwy difrifol, mae'n teimlo braidd yn anghyffyrddus â'r ddadl.

Yr ail reswm pam nad ydym o blaid TAN 8 yw'r ffocws diangen sydd ynddo ar un math penodol o ynni, sef ynni gwynt. Pan wrandewais ar y Prif Weinidog yn gynharach heddiw, ac ar rai o sylwadau'r Gweinidog, sylwais ein bod yn cytuno ar lawer iawn o bethau.

Yr hyn a gawsom, fodd bynnag, yw dogfen wedi ei chynhyrchu gan y Llywodraeth i ddiben penodol heb unrhyw gysondeb. Mae'n ddogfen wael a dylid ei hailddrafftio. Gan mai dogfen felly yw hi, bydd llawer mwy o wrthwynebiad ym mhob cwr o Gymru nag a ragwelwyd erioed.

Pa bryd bynnag yr ydych yn siarad yn gyhoeddus am y mater hwn, Weinidog, yr ydych yn defnyddio geiriau hollol wahanol, fel bod pobl Cymru'n meddwl eich bod yn dweud un peth tra bo'r cyfarwyddiadau yr ydych yn eu rhoi i awdurdodau cynllunio lleol yn hollol wahanol."

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