CONWY COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL ELECTIONS
– Thurs 4 May 2017, Kinmel Bay Ward –
At la Rance tidal barrage, St Malo, built in 1967: leading a fact-finding delegation from Conwy to the CPMR conference, Sept. 2013
‘Resilient and renewed’ is Welsh Government’s new mantra for national regeneration, laying stress on its Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
Nearly 100 years ago, reclaimed marsh land sold to help pay off WW1 debts was marketed as ‘The Coming Garden City of North Wales’. As exposed in the 1900 floods, its poor infrastructure and dependence on the railway for coastal protection are still only partly dealt with…
If politics is medicine writ large, at 70 yrs age this will be my final effort to apply the principles of honest diagnosis to our town’s predicament. In the face of climate change imperatives, I have led the way in pointing out that business as usual is not a viable option. Now I invite you to help me urge government at all levels to rise to the need for a new ‘treatment’ in the form of a vision that prioritises collaborative community identity…
ENLARGING THE COMMUNITY VISION………………
From 2012 2014 I was called on to serve as Chair of Conwy CBC. At my Civic Service at Kinmel Bay Church I highlighted educational engagement as a big challenge facing us. ‘Speaking truth to power’ on this matter has not always been easy since then. But in part due to a stand I took with Cllrs Bill Darwin and Barry Griffiths, I feel Conwy is now much better placed to lead whole community engagement. If re-elected, my priority will be to help foster an onshore vision big enough to match the coastal/ near-shore vision based on tidal schemes that Cllr Barry Griffiths has kindly helped to present on this website originally created for the Irish Sea 2050 conference we organised in Colwyn Bay.
“Without Vision People Perish”
Ebenezer Howard’s 1898 Garden City vision was for town clusters that include green space. Our 21st C task is to use such space to help turn threats into opportunities by making healthier agendas central to North Wales’ regional socio-economic direction of travel. With City Regions in vogue, and Conwy and Denbighshire collaborating in a Public Services Board, as above I believe our locality plan should be a 20 year vision to bring together a ‘St Asaph Garden City’, or Dinas Gardd Llanelwy. Such a civic vision can bring in the ethical dimension, incentivising the political world to embrace community ambitions to be part of the solution rather than a never-ending problem.
………………………ALONGSIDE THE REGIONAL ONE
Upper pictures feature key regional infrastructure, mostly linked to a main railway (red line) defined by sea defences owned by a UK government agency (Network Rail). Marked ‘coastal squeeze’ exists against the backdrop of developed habitats and hills. The salt marsh hosting Airbus’ wing factory is protected by several miles of crumbling sea wall. Collaboration is needed across geographic, business & political boundaries. Colwyn Bay’s Porth Eirias project signposts the future by linking urban regeneration to active beach management and activity-based tourism. But this is a future to which the Clwyd Rivermouth is equally central, especially bringing in the health agenda too.
Below is the map from last year’s pioneer modelling study under Prof Roger Falconer at Cardiff, based on my ideas for four impoundments along Liverpool Bay phased to enclose 700 sq km by linking watertight landfalls. With sea level rise of 2m being the consensus minimum for stabilisation over the next 150-200 yrs, it is in the interests of both adaptation and mitigation to plan such a programme, doubling up on Wylfa B to provide an extra average 2.5-3.0 GW. UK government control of Network Rail means the duty to engage constructively with our Regional Business Forum’s identification of tidal range as a transformative agenda for the whole region. With partners across the whole Northern Powerhouse area this means adaptive investment in mitigation scale outcomes – with zero emission transport and health needs helping to create demand for, and supply of, widely active business and community participation…
WHY SHOULD WE HELP SIGNPOST UK FUTURES?
(i) because without attention to long term flood risk issues there can be no lasting resilience or renewal
(ii) because, to satisfy transport needs alone, we need to double UK supplies of predictable clean energy
KEY TO ABOVE IMAGES AND MAPS
Animal images symbolise tidal range’s status as a market jungle orphan with two powerful future working ‘project legs’, one each for energy and coastal adaptation. The 2011 map (L), by the Engineering Technical Institute for The Crown Estate, comes from the 1987-93 Morgan Horne studies. Zones suited for tidal range schemes are coloured red & blue. Hinterland inside dotted circles matches well with areas (R map) most at risk from prolonged rainfall flooding . Side-by-side the maps suggest that tidal range schemes along ~12% of coastline could provide useful emergency offshore space for draining ~95% of at-risk land area. A large at-risk area extends from the Fens to SE Yorks, defensible on a line from Humber to Wash if both flanks of the Northern Powerhouse (‘NP’) had tidal range programmes (white double arrows). This demands strategic thinking…Top R is news heading July 2016 of Met Office predictions that rainfall patterns are set to get still worse. Diagram bottom L is from the late Prof. DJC Mackay’s book, showing an average total 250 GW of tidal power entering British Isles waters. Modest sea level rise will push this up to 265 GW. Arguably the difference of 15 GW is the minimum the British Isles should aim to extract. Careful modelling of rolling tidal range programmes could deal with far-field effects (a small issue anyway compared to runaway sea level rise). Other regions must engage for a proactive strategy to emerge, justifying pilot scheme subsidies – which must aim to proof-test fully effective two-way plant able to fit into float-in caissons. Atkins/Rolls-Royce’s 2010 Severn Embryonic Technology Studies work was sidelined by the unpublished 2011 ETI Report, which invoked highly questionable fears of ‘over-extracting’ tidal energy.