Sunday, 27 November 2011


Over recent years there has been much talk of peak this and peak that, one thing that may have slipped by is the possibility that we may be less than 30 years away from reaching peak Phosphorus. So what people might say, what's that to do with me... a lot is the answer.

As the population of our planet comes close to the 8 billion mark around 2025 (9 billion by 2050) the struggle to feed everyone is going to become more intense. Food itself is only one aspect of what is going to become (if it is not already) an increasingly complicated problem.

So far, largely out of sight and out of mind, a quiet struggle is going on to secure control of the worlds phosphorous reserves. While some countries such as India are entirely dependent upon imported phosphorous supplies all of us in the first world and elsewhere have become very dependent on relatively cheap fertilizers of which phosphorus is a vital component.

At the moment it takes around one tonne of phosphate to produce around 130 tonnes of grain. Not to mention that around 170 million tonnes of phosphate are mined every year (in 2011 (so far)) and the fact that there has been a 30 percent increase in the mining of phosphate. Geologically it is estimated that there are around 65 billion tonnes of phosphate rocks on the planet, but only around 16 billion tonnes of which can be mined economically.

Now obviously the word 'economically' is a variable and market price, demand, desperation and hunger will all have impact on the mining process so the margins will change. Interestingly enough 80% of the planets reserves can be found in Morocco and much oppressed Western Sahara.

In 2009, there was a 14.2% increase in the amount of phosphate fertiliser produced in the Peoples Republic of China - 15.8 million tonnes. The PRC itself may have phosphate reserves of around 18 billion tonnes. The PRC Government has added phosphorus to a list of around 20 minerals that China will be unable to source from inside China in anticipation of economic demand in the next 20 years.

One major problem that we all face from increased use of phosphate based or phosphate rich fertilizers is run-off. It has been estimated that around 37 million tonnes of phosphorus is leaked into the environment every year, washed into rivers, lakes and the oceans helping to fuel toxic algae and bacteria.

Food security is going to become a key issue in the first fifty years of this century along with energy security. Gradually weaning ourselves of phosphate and chemically based fertilizers might be the wise course. Not to mention significantly investing in plant breeding stations to tailor crops on a non genetic level to make best use of our soils, but, of course that would get in the way of profits.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Even in times of economic uncertainty at this time of year people are looking forward to Christmas and the New Year – and if they live in the southern half of our country they have been bracing themselves for the latest rise in the Severn Bridge Tolls. So news that the Severn bridge tolls will rise from £5.70 to £6 pound per car (an increase of 30 pence), small goods vehicles and small buses will have to pay £12.10 (an increase of 60 pence) and heavy goods vehicles and buses will pay £18.10 (an increase of 90 pence) is not good and will hit families, commuters and businesses when they can least afford it.

Severn River PLC who operate the franchise will certainly have a very happy new year, admittedly at our expense; they are able to raise the bridge tolls each year by the inflation rate as part of the terms of the Severn Bridges Act (1992). There timing is amazing one month before Christmas - as has I have said before the bridge tolls are an extra tax on jobs, on Welsh people going to work and on business operating in the south of Wales.

Rather ominously back in May 2011 the Welsh Affairs committee had received no hint or suggestion that tolls on the Severn Bridge will fall on the Severn Crossing when it came back into public ownership. The Committee had itself recommended (December 2010) that the toll could be as low as £1.50 in 2017 when ownership of the Severn Crossings reverts from Severn River Crossing PLC back to public ownership in 2016 or 2017 (or even perhaps 2018).

In October 2010, Professor Peter Midmore's independent economic study of the Severn Bridge tolls boldly recommended that the revenues should stay in Wales, once the crossings revert to public hands. The study found that Welsh businesses were unfairly penalised by the tolls and concluded that the money should be shared with the Assembly Government and used to improve Wales’ roads and public transport.

Now it is a matter for the public record that, once the cost of the Second Severn Crossing has been for then the revenue stream will revert straight to Treasury coffers in Westminster. The study of 122 businesses commissioned by the Federation of Small Businesses found the tolls had a negative impact on 30% of firms in South Wales, compared with 18% in the Greater Bristol area.

While noting that the economic impact was not substantial for most, the study found that transport, construction and tourism-related companies reliant on regular crossings had suffered (and continue to suffer) increased costs and reduced competitiveness. The bridges are of such importance to Wales that it is only right that control, or at least shared control, over them is in the hands of the Welsh people.

Plaid wants to see the transfer of powers (to Wales) so we can reduce the tolls on the bridges, something that could have a considerable impact on Welsh businesses and the Welsh economy. With control over the bridges devolved, Plaid has suggested reducing the cost of the tolls to under £2 a car and would also introduce new collection techniques so that people crossing the bridge would have an alternative to paying by cash. Any profit that is made could be used to maintain the bridges and upgrade Welsh infrastructure.

The day when the Severn Bridges come back into public ownership cannot come quick enough along the day that the tolls are cut. In the meantime, there may be a few other things that would be worth examining. In 2011, the Welsh Affairs Committee chair David Davies, MP for Monmouth, noted that due to "the inflexible provisions of the 1992 Severn Crossings Act, neither the government nor Severn Crossings Plc is able to freeze or reduce the toll without incurring significant costs."

A fair point, it might well be worth inquiring how come the Act was so badly written? And whether or not any individuals (elected or not) directly or indirectly benefited (financially or otherwise) with a seat on the board or with contributions to Party funds? Now that might well be worth a freedom of information request or some investigative journalism – now there's a thought?

Thursday, 24 November 2011


’We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh government to recall all Local Development Plans across Wales and to scrap the use of population projections issued by the Statistical Directorate that are used to inflate housing numbers in local development plans.

We call for all LDPs at whatever stage of development to be halted immediately in order to bring the level of housing growth in line with genuine local needs.We the undersigned view all LDPs guided by the Welsh Government’s population projections as ill thought out, fundamentally flawed and detrimental to the communities of Wales.This type of planning is not sustainable, is not needed and is not wanted by the people of Wales. In order to halt the damage that is already being done and to prevent further irreversible damage and devastation to our communities, environment and identity across Wales, we appeal to the Welsh Government to intervene immediately.’

e-Petition: Recall LDP’s

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


My name if Jonathan, and I have a problem with cynicism! Perhaps I have been in the game (politics) for too long and seen too much, but, when I hear the phrase 'there will be a consultation process' I do tend to think that it has more to do with managing public opinion after a decision has been made. Hand on heart, I openly admit that I am something of a cynic and that I struggle with my cynicism.

Managing my cynicism is something that I mostly successfully. However, the way the UK Government (and many other levels of Government) treat people and they way they tend to involve people in governmental processes does not help. Certainly the after the fact nature of the process does make me speculate on why people are pretty disillusioned with politics and have a fairly developed loathing of practising professional politicians at most levels of governance.

So the UK government has confirmed that is intends to close Swansea coastguard station. The UK Transport Minister Mike Penning has stated that the station at Mumbles (which employs 28 people), would close by March 2015. I have no doubt that the loss of local expertise and expert knowledge that the closure will cause lives to be put at risk at some point, off Swansea, the Gower coast and in the Bristol Channel. News that the Coastguard Stations at Holyhead and Milford Haven, which had originally been in line for the chop have been granted a reprieve is some good news.

Part of me honestly wonders just how sincere the UK Westminster Government (for this read all levels of government) actually was (if at all) when the 'consultation process was announced. Obviously someone in London perhaps with a Metropolitan mindset was looking to save money, I am certainly getting the impression that Wales is out of sight and out of mind (for much if not all of the time) so who cares what happens there - at least as far as the Westminster Parliament is concerned. .

From a UK Government perspective no doubt the fact that the "Save Swansea Coastguard" campaign had collected 110,000 signatures and the fact that the campaign against the closure was very effective and very visible, was not doubt awkward but not insurmountable. One thing is true, here in Wales, this decision may be interpreted as being a little more evidence that  we are ceasing to receive any meaningful material benefit from being part of the Union.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Labour in Wales has a long history of putting self-interest and party-interest before the interests and needs of the Welsh people. Now they are really taking the biscuit by proposing 'a reform' of the electoral system that would give them around 70% of the seats in the National Assembly with barely 42% of the vote.

An Electoral Reform Society report has shone a little light on labour in Wales's dubious proposal. At present, 40 AMs are elected as a result of first-past-the-post contests and the remaining 20 are elected from regional lists based upon the percentage of votes cast. Labour with a bare majority in the National Assembly has long looked for an opportunity to make a change to an electoral system that fails to guarantee it a permanent majority.

Now they have their chance in the wake of UK government plans to cut the number of MPs from 40 to 30. Labour in Wales publicly opposes reducing the number of assembly constituencies to match the boundaries of new parliamentary seats. The ERS report suggests that Labour could win "disproportionately" more seats if all Welsh Assembly members were elected via the first-past-the-post system.

Scrapping the semi-proportional elections would deny thousands of voters a voice. Naturally Labour in Wales insists it opposes changing the electoral system and accused the ERS of "misrepresenting" its position. Hmmm....over to you Peter (the pain) Hain...

Monday, 21 November 2011


Things may be looking up for the repressive Communist dictatorship in Cuba as an expected scramble to exploit and develop toil reserves in Cuban territorial waters begins. International oil companies from Spain, Norway, Russia, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada, Angola, Venezuela, and the Peoples Republic of China (oddly enough there are none from the USA) are literally falling over themselves to bring in exploration drilling rigs to search for what may well be substantial oil deposits.

The US Geological Survey (back in 2004) estimated that there may be some 4.6 billion barrels worth of oil, the Cuban authorities disagree and suggest that there may be some 20 billion barrels worth. Either way a major oil discovery would make this communist dictatorship financially independent for the first time since the revolution in 1959 and effectively shatter the US trade embargo and turn Cuba from being a net oil importer into a net oil exporter. While this would be good news for the Cuban people it might not be good news for environmentalists and hard-pressed Cuban civil rights activists as the dictatorship would be flush with cash and effectively unassailable.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


  Saif al-Islam - Photo: Ismail Zitouni/Reuters
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son / spawn of Muammar Gaddafi, was captured yesterday near the southern Libyan oil town of Obari, as his armed companions were trying to smuggle him out of the country. The fact that he threw in the towel unlike his old man is currently being held in custody means that he might avoid an immediate and violent retribution for his crimes.

Oddly enough this news, as has been noted by the Independent on Sunday (20.11.11) may make some former grandees a tad twitchy. Saif al-Islam was Gaddafi’s heir and was feted in the West in his time. As a keeper of the regimes secrets and someone who was in the thick of brokering Gaddafi’s deal with the West his survival could be described in some circles as awkward.

Tony Blair, Lord Mandelson and other high rollers such as Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild have all got links to Saif al-Islam. What may make this even more interesting is if he decides to blow the lid on the lot in court and call character witnesses, something that would be more difficult for those involved to avoid any trial takes place in the Hague.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has a warrant out for Saif al-Islam arrest for crimes against humanity which could make things interesting. So far the Libyans as of yesterday were pretty determined that he would be put on trial in his own country to start with. The ICC is in contact with the Libyan Justice Ministry and one of its prosecutors would now fly to Tripoli for talks.

Mahmoud Shammam, the Libyan Information Minister, said: "This is the final chapter of the Libyan drama. We will put him on trial in Libya and he will be judged by Libyan law for his crimes." A guilty verdict and sentence of death in Libya would upstage any possible proceedings at The Hague and could lead to a number of UK based individuals breathing a deep sigh of relief - I wonder if any 'favours' will be called in? Watch this space!

Friday, 18 November 2011


News that the National Assembly for Wales’ petitions committee have agreed to examine Prosiect Gwyrdd on the request of objectors from all over south east Wales is good news. The committee has decided to examine the scheme which was set up by five councils, including Newport, Monmouthshire, Caerphilly, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Local campaigners against the plan have pointed out that the project directly contradicts the Welsh Government’s policy of having localised facilities, and councils’ ability to choose their own waste technology and management.

The National Assembly petitions committee also needs to examine the Wales waste survey, which as campaigners have pointed out is flawed because it only gave people a stark set of choices for waste disposal bury it or burn it. We, in Wales and elsewhere can do better than that. If we are serious about recycling and sustainability then we need to look at legally preventing the burning of waste that's recyclable, this is something that would encourage actively councils and waste producers to better promote recycling.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Here we go again, yet another broken Westminster promise, when the Tories were in opposition they pledged to introduce an award to honour the Arctic convoy veterans who took supplies to Russia via Murmansk and Archangel in the Second World War. Back in January 2011, the Prime Minister stated that the sailors who served on the hazardous voyages had "missed out" and more should be done to recognise them.

However, it seems that pre-election and post-election promises are cheap, as a letter to Sir George Young (the Leader of the Commons) a long–time supporter of the campaign, Prime Minister Cameron said the sailors had already been recognised with the award of the Atlantic Star Medal. Once again, no doubt heavily influenced by the MoD, who seem to have a historic if understandable Cold War problem with honouring those who took aid to our then Soviet Allies.

Russia has remembered, appreciates and honours our Royal Navy and Merchant Navy veterans for their heroic deeds. Russia has awarded commemorative medals to acknowledge its gratitude to the surviving sailors, more than 3,000 of whose comrades were killed. Yet Prime Minister Cameron and the MoD seem to be incapable of recognising and honouring our veterans.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


News that Network Rail is finally creating a separate division for Wales. This move will allow investment decisions about tracks and stations to be taken in here in Wales. This move should be welcomed, it's a bit late but in the end it is the thought that counts. This follows a UK Government report that recommended decentralisation of the network to boost efficiency - that also took them a while. We are soon to have a new fully devolved rail division, which will look after the maintenance and upkeep of more than 200 stations and around 900 miles (1448 km) of railway track. This decision makes sense, as for the first time in our country's history the entire rail network will be managed on an all-Wales basis. This makes perfect sense, as decisions on developing an all Wales transport strategy need to be made here in Wales, rather than by a distant and indifferent (to the needs of Wales at least) Department for Transport.

Monday, 14 November 2011


The knowledge that the UK Government has accepted FIFA assurances that Welsh football independence would not be threatened by the creation of the 'British Olympic football team' does not surprise me. Aside form the fact that we are not necessarily dealing with the sharpest tools in the box here, the problem may be made more complicated by the problem of differentiation. By this I mean there are some people who have real difficulty differentiating between British and English - ask someone in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and you may get a straight answer, especially when it comes to sport.

Nothing should be allowed to threaten to undermine the continued existence of an independent Welsh international football team, especially the emergence of a temporary Team GB football team. The UK Government simply does not get it and is probably incapable of getting it. I mean why would an English sports minister have the slightest concern about the future of the Welsh national football team? FIFA's word is not good enough, the organisation is tainted with a long and recent history of corruption and questionable financial dealings.

Our Football Association of Wales is one of the world's oldest football associations and is any important symbol of our nation.The game in Wales is undergoing a renaissance at the moment and Welsh footballers and Welsh teams have a higher profile than for a while domestically and internationally - this should not be threatened under any circumstances. The football associations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have pretty clearly stated (on more than a few occasions) that they are not interested in a Team GB football Team, which bit of NO don't the London Olympic Organisers understand?

Sunday, 13 November 2011


There is little I can add to Grangetown Jack's well articulated article on Labour in Wales' musings on representative democracy, entitled 'Join Plaid Cymru - to Save Wales from Labour', he is spot on in his observations. We have finally reached the point where Labour in Wales are beneath contempt, putting party and self-interest before the national interest.

Friday, 11 November 2011


A report by Human Rights Watch has called on the Arab League to suspend Syria, saying the abuses against civilians in Homs are crimes against humanity. The US-based group's report makes grim reading documenting arbitrary detention, deaths in custody, torture, enforced disappearances, and systematic unlawful killing of civilians in the city of Homs (and elsewhere in Syria) by Syrian Government forces. Homs is the focus for anti-government demonstrations and the effective capital of the revolt against the brutal and repressive Syrian dictatorship. Some forty people were killed there on Thursday.

The UN says at least 3,500 people have been killed in Syria in protests against President Bashar al-Assad. Syria continues to benefit from China and Russia's veto on the UN Security Council, where a resolution which condemned the crackdown in Syria (back in October) was a serious blow to attempts to develop an international consensus on how to grapple with President Bashar al-Assad's brutal regime. Western diplomats tweaked the resolutions wording (which had been proposed by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, in co-operation with the USA) to try to take account of Chinese and Russian concerns.

The clear diplomatic rebuff to the West, perhaps signals a much stronger stance from Beijing and Moscow who are unhappy to see the weight of the Security Council ranged against the Syrian authorities. This move has only heightened divisions on the Security Council, where Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon quietly abstained; this suggests that any idea of a new era of intrusive diplomacy which was brought in by the UN Security Council resolution 1973 on Libya last March is effectively over, perhaps overwhelmed by self-interest.

It's natural for the Peoples Republic of China itself a brutal repressive dictatorship to side with the Syrian Government. Russia has other concerns, spreading democracy not being among them, so an anxiety about a potential lack of future arms sales may be a driving concern. It’s a little odd that some of the states indirectly supporting the Syrian dictatorship have themselves been involved in liberation struggles themselves, perhaps they might well have once had a degree of sympathy for the Syrian people who are laying down their lives for freedom and liberty.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


A recent survey of Welsh businesses and consumers suggests that a majority of both support the idea of our nation getting its own domain name. Nominet suggests that 69% of consumers backed the move and 59% of Welsh businesses and other bodies. A sample of 1,003 individuals - 21% of whom were Welsh speakers - and 250 senior decision makers in Welsh organisations was used. Seems pretty reasonable to me, especially as Internet regulator ICANN is planning to allow countries and other organisations to apply for the new names from January 2012. This would give website owners in Wales an opportunity to end their address with .wales and .cymru, instead of .uk. This is something that would help with the marketing of Welsh produce, the branding of Welsh businesses and organisations and help raise our country's profile worldwide. Why should we not have our place in the cyber sun?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Almost quietly, almost unnoticed and certainly unheralded at least in this part of Western Europe the Nord Stream gas pipeline has come on-line which enables Russia to ship commercial natural gas supplies to Western and Central Europe. The gas pipeline, currently one of the world's longest submerged pipelines has not been without controversy. The pipeline project, which was actively pushed by the Russian government and agreed to by Gerhard Schröder's government of Germany. The project has not been without a degree of controversy for a number of reasons, especially the fact that it increasing European energy dependence on Russia.

Gazprom, nominally an independent energy company but in fact the energy arm of the Kremlin, has a bit a reputation for generously spreading it's largess around to help get what it wants. Some dubious activities may have taken place in Sweden and in Germany to smooth the path for the Nord Stream pipeline. Certainly it is a fact that Schröder, by coincidence after leaving the post of Chancellor of Germany, ended up as head the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream AG.

There is another factor that has set some alarm bells sounding and that’s because the new pipeline may enable Russia to bypass traditional transit countries Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland. Some transit countries are very concerned that a long-term plan of the Kremlin is to attempt to exert political influence on them by threatening their gas supply without affecting supplies to Western Europe.

In recent years there have been several seasonal and very bitter public Russian and Ukrainian gas disputes. Now with Nord Stream there is a real fear that France and Germany may sell the Eastern European countries down the river in exchange for cheap Gas. These fears have been strengthened by the fact that Russia has consistently refused to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

The ECT is an old international agreement which should provide a transparent framework for energy trade, transit and investments. The ECT process was originally based on plans to integrating the energy sectors of the then Soviet Union and Eastern Europe just after the end of the Cold War into a much broader European and world energy market.

Nord Stream’s critics have said that Europe could become dangerously over dependent on Russian natural gas supplies, especially if Russia faces a surge in both domestic and a foreign demand for gas. A Swedish Defence Research Agency study noted over 55 incidents since 1991, with "both political and economic underpinnings".

Back in April 2006 Radosław Sikorski, who was then Poland's defence minister, made reference to the project in terms of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More recently Edward Lucas in his updated (2009) book The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West, (which is well worth a read) has suggested that "though Nord Stream's backers insist that the project is business pure and simple, this would be easier to believe if it were more transparent."

The involvement of Gazprom in the project – a company that's as great a believer in transparency as its masters in the Kremlin - does not help matters and neither does the fact that Nord Stream AG is incorporated in Switzerland where it can take full advantage of effective banking anonymity. Russia's response has been that the pipeline actually increases Europe's energy security, and that any criticism is caused by bitterness about the loss of significant transit revenues, and political influence. Diplomatically that's as close to ‘Bite me!’ as you can get.

So there we are Russia is quietly supplying a significant portion gas supplies to Western Europe – how soon before we end up hostage to a Russian political agendas. Be silent and get your gas or criticize us over Human rights or when we attack a small country or chill in the leak midwinter! I have no yearning for a new cold war, but harsh realities, but the writing may be on the wall when it comes to energy security.

Relying on energy supplies that are at risk of interruption or are found in unstable regions of the world is just plain stupidity, as is consciously choosing to become more increasingly dependent on imported gas. If you think that the members of the big six give customers a hard time just wait until one or two of them get bought by Gazprom no doubt ably assisted by the city based friends of New Labour and the Conservatives, ever eager to chase a quick profit at our expense.

Here in Wales, a small country on the fringe of Europe, we had better take note and hope that we can rapidly make our small country energy independent. We need to develop a flexible self-sufficient energy development strategy that encourages decentralised micro generation schemes and by actually implementing it this could create jobs, useful skills and help to bootstrap the economy out of the developing recession as well as helping consumers. The peoples of these islands need to be entirely self sufficient via renewable non nuclear non market driven energy resources and quickly.

Friday, 4 November 2011


The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended that greenhouse gas emissions from shipping should be included in the UK's climate change budgets. The Climate Change Act has committed the UK to cutting all its climate-changing emissions by 80% - based on 1990 levels - by 2050. At the moment, however, international aviation and shipping emissions are not currently included. If the Con Dem Government agrees that this will mean tighter targets for other sectors such as motoring and electricity generation.

Shipping emissions in the Bay of Biscay
The CCC has suggested that shipping might account for up to 10% of emissions allowed under the 2050 target. This is something that needs to be tackled on a global basis, and if coherent co-ordinated international action proves impossible, it is quite likely that the European Union will introduce measures for traffic in and out of European ports.

The World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam issued a report which recommended some kind of global shipping tax which could be used to raise some of the $100 billion dollars per year of climate-related cash that rich countries are committed to providing to the developing world by 2020. The problem of shipping emissions Global Forum on Transport and Environment in a Globalising World (which met back in November 2008 in Guadalajara, Mexico) produced a report on the Environmental Impacts of Increased International Maritime Shipping which looked at the implications for maritime diesel emissions.

The report noted that shipping activity has increased significantly over the last century, and represents a noticeable contribution to global emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. The report concluded that projections up to year 2020 indicate a growth in fuel consumption and emission in the range of 30%. It also suggested that most scenarios for the near future, the next 10-20 years, suggest that regulations and measures will be outweighed by an increase in traffic leading to a significant global increase in emissions from shipping.

One simple solution is to base manufacturing industry more locally rather than ship finished products across the globe. This is something that would benefit Welsh communities, save money, especially when you consider the rising costs of maritime diesel and reduce the carbon footprint of manufactured goods and cut pollutants which affect all of us.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


The Con Dem Government has announced that it is going to cut the subsidy for solar power by half for new installations from 12th December. Solar panel makers and solar panel installers are concerned that the cut may lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and a reduction in investment in this form of renewable energy. This decision also means that consumers who register for the scheme after that date (even if the deposit has already been paid) will see their return halved.

The Westminster government has launched a fast-track consultation on the change, which it says reflects falling panel prices. The proposed new tariff of 21 pence, which is down from the current 43p, will come into effect from the 1st April 2012 and be paid to anyone who installed their solar system after 12th December 2012. One interpretation of this is that the last few Westminster governments have just not really been serious about energy security and developing secure sustainable energy resources.

Sadly it certainly looks like the Con Dem Government is about as serious about developing renewable energy resources, as was the previous New Labour Government. That said, there may be other motives, perhaps no one (in Government) really wants micro-generation schemes to work because then we (the consumers) will have less need of the Big Six and of course profits / share prices and dividends could be hit, and we (sorry they) would not want that it might upset the chaps over dinner.

This decision certainly does seem to be a slap in the face for this sector of the renewables, let alone any consumers and customers seeking to develop sustainable energy. One interpretation could be that this decision will make life just that little easier for the energy cartel members. That aside, we appear to have a Westminster Government that's not serious about developing sustainable energy and that's one luxury that none of us can afford.