Dear Editor,

Failing Democracy, Planning Committees and Greenwashing                         

For the uninitiated, an appearance at a planning meeting will allow you five minutes talk time, during which you must impress a chamber of a dozen or more councillors enough to listen, and ask intelligent questions.

Sadly, this was not my recent experience when I attended Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) planning committees twice, to express my concern and objection to the proposed single wind turbine at Rhosygilwen Mansion.

I am used to making presentations and as such expect to be asked searching questions, as this is a sign that your audience is engaged with what you are saying.

It follows then that when you cite key research in support of your objection that there would be a modicum of interest from a room full of councillors rather than them burying their heads in a rainforest sized body of council, government and consultant reports.

How mistaken I was!

I was asked two very trivial questions during my two appearances and neither had anything to do with the international research I cited e.g. World Health Organisation (WHO).

My treatment at the hands of the planning committee has been extremely poor and has left me wondering why a so- called democratic process allowed me only five minutes to speak and then only to be ignored.

This is not democracy at work  - it is tokenism, and perhaps equally worrying is the councillors' concerted efforts to by-pass or ignore their own government policies by finding a way of approving the wind turbine, even if it means overriding the ban on erecting wind turbines in the garden of a listed building.

Similarly, greenwashing is a useful tool in hoodwinking the local Rhosygilwen community (who will receive no benefits from the wind turbine) that renewable energy is worth the price of disrupting and destroying; quality of life, wild life, habitat and the landscape.  

Yours sincerely,

Paul Robertson-Marriott MBA, Chartered FCIPD,