Monday, 11 July 2011


Standing on the edge of the age of scarcity as we are, it seems only fair and reasonable that Wales’s natural resources should be controlled by and developed for the Welsh people. The Crown Estate with its urban, rural and marine holdings across the UK, including the seabed and large areas of land, stands to profit from renewable energy developments and off-shore dredging.

South Wales
News that the Crown Estate announced a 9% increase in its profits in the last financial year despite the wider economy barely growing across the UK, merely adds a degree of urgency. The Crown Estate in Wales is important, not as a profit making body, but because they own much of the land and sea-waters which could be exploited to make a profit for the Welsh people.

The seabed around Wales should be used to develop tidal energy and other renewable energy sources, as well as large parts of land in Wales for the benefit of the Welsh people. Offshore in 09/10 in the UK, the Crown Estates made £15.5m from dredging activities, £14.3m from coastal activities, £11.5m from cables and pipelines and a further £3.5m from renewable resources. UK wide the Crown Estate has nearly £600m of offshore property.

It is not unreasonable to call for the land and energy resources of Wales to be used to benefit the Welsh people. Wales has real opportunities here to be a world leader when it comes to developing renewable energy, something that could create thousands of sustainable jobs, make money through research and development which should be re-invested in our economy for future years.

North East Wales
Unfortunately when it came to resource ownership (and so many other things) this kind of forward thinking is something which New Labour did little to develop or encourage when it was in Government in Westminster for 13 out of the last 14 years. Once again New Labour (in Wales) has yet again let our country fall behind – so much for standing up for Wales!

Much has been made about the development of on-shore alternatives to oil, which in the UK include oil shale, the extraction of methane gas, and gas fracturing, the development of which may have significant environmental impact on our communities and our country. Experience from Canada goes to show not just the environmental impact of tar sands extraction but the energy and resource impact as well.

There is no cure to oil depletion; simply using what we have left more efficiently won't help us in the long term, merely delay the inevitable. The bottom line is that we are all too dependent on high levels of energy consumption; we have to consume less and fundamentally change the nature of our energy supply. To be plain and simple it's both plan for and transform our energy supplies with renewable or lights out!

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