Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Also published recently was the Energy Trends Report for Quarter 3 of 2011 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The tables at the end show that Offshore Wind Farms generate much greater Gigawatt hour of electricity per megawatt capacity than what Onshore wind farms do, but we must wait for the 4th Quarter publication of Energy Trends before we can make detailed comparisons over the last 3 years.
Finally this is a link to an interactive RenewablesUK map which shows where windfarms in their various forms of development are located. What surprises me here is the large number of Wind Farms located on the North East coast of Scotland...I was always led to believe that the west i.e. Wales was the best place to locate windfarms...clearly not the case according to this map.
Braf oedd darllen yr erthygl ar y Coleg Cymraeg (Golwg Rhagfyr 15fed), a chytunaf a Hefin Jones mae talcen caled fydd denu myfyrwyr i addysg bellach drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Un o’r problemau mwyaf o ddenu myfyrwyr i astudio drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg ydy fod niferoedd mawr o ddisgyblion sydd yn rhugl yn y Gymraeg mewn ysgolion dwyieithog yn dilyn cyrsiau TGAU ac wedyn Lefel A trwy gyfrwng y Saesneg. Cymerwn ni fel esiampl, Ysgol Uwchradd Tywyn ac Ysgol y Gader Dolgellau. Yn Ysgol Tywyn y flwyddyn yma eisteddodd 48 o ddisgyblion arholiad TGAU Cymraeg iaith gyntaf ond ni ddilynodd yr un o’r 48 yna unrhyw gwrs arall drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Mae’r sefyllfa chydig yn well yn Nolgellau lle eisteddodd 60 arholiad TGAU Cymraeg iaith gyntaf ond dim ond chwarter y rhain ddilynodd cwrs TGAU Mathemateg trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
Tybed faint o’r 700 o fyfyrwyr a ddangosodd ddiddordeb yn y Coleg Cymraeg sydd wedi ei haddysgu mewn ysgolion penodedig Gymraeg a faint mewn ysgolion ‘dwyieithog?
Os ydy'r Coleg Cymraeg am ffynnu, a oes angen diwygio addysg uwchradd Gymraeg tuag at greu fwy o ysgolion penodedig Cymraeg hyd yn oed yn y siroedd hynny sydd yn Gymraeg ei naws.
Cynghorydd Arfon Jones
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Saturday, 24 December 2011
Thursday, 22 December 2011
A total of 10,978 retired public sector workers are members of the Clwyd Pension Fund, 72% or 7,948 of them receive LESS than £5,000 per annum in gross pension whilst 82.6% get less than £7,500 per annum.
What this means in effect is that 80% of retired public sector workers in the Clwyd Pension Fund get less pension than what the government decrees to be the minimum income guarantee (pension credit)of £137.35 a week.
The result of the government changes will be to pay less pensions to public sector workers but have to make it up to the minimum income guarantee by paying the individual extra Pension Credit.
The crass stupidity of this coalition government knows no bounds.
This defeat was quickly followed by two influential select committee reports which were reported as saying:
The government's rush to cut a subsidy for people who generate solar electicity on their roofs was clumsily handled and may have fatally damaged a growing industry which had the potential to provide tens of thousands of jobs, says a new report by MPs on two influential select committees.
Joan Walley MP, the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee further said:
"It doesn't make economic sense to let the sun go down on the solar industry in the UK. As well as helping to cut carbon emissions, every panel that is installed brings in VAT for the government and every company that benefits from the support is keeping people in work. The government is right to encourage people to focus on saving energy before fitting solar panels, but these proposals will stop nine out of 10 installations from going ahead, which will have a devastating effect on hundreds of solar companies and small building firms installing these panels across the country."
The rationale behind the government's decision to reduce the feed in tariff was the fact that the cost of installing solar pv had fallen 30% and that the cost of the subsidies to household bills would be £26 for every household per annum in 3 years time or £950 million a year. The £950 million figure seems to be completely off the wall as the total cost of Feed in Tariff from the 1st April 2010 to 30th September 2011 is only £45 million or £1.80 per household. How DECC come up with a figure twenty fold more than the current cost of the Feed in Tariff is beyond me and it seems beyond Mr Mitting as well.
Congratulations to Friends of the Earth and the two solar companies who bought this action.
Friday, 16 December 2011
I found that the installed capacity of various technologies was particularly revealing; in Scotland for example 39% or 15.8MW of the installed capacity of 40.6MW was produced by wind technology with only 31% produced by solar.
In Wales 18% or 3MW of the 16.8MW capacity was produced by wind technology and 77% by solar.
Whilst Wales and Scotland have 57.4MW installed capacity this is only 18% of the UK's total installed capacity; but Wales and Scotland produce 66% of the total installed capacity from wind for the UK, which would indicate a disproportionate scarring and exploitation of our landscapes compared to the low number of wind installations in England
Enough is enough, it is time to make a stand against onshore wind installations in Wales, there has been enough scarring and destruction of our landscapes.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
dotCYM has been ready for years to apply for a TLD. The company was structured to ensure that it was accountable to the Welsh community. The technical side was ready to sell domains worldwide. dotCYM has even secured a $185,000 loan to pay for the application in case the Welsh Government reneged on its promise of a loan.
dotCYM were, however, unable to convince the civil servants that Wales should have its own TLD, run from Wales, by the Welsh and accountable to the Welsh people. "What's wrong with .uk?", "why don't we just get Nominet to do it for free? ". The civil servants showed no ambition or imagination. No understanding of top-level domains and no urge to work towards bringing innovation, expertise, jobs and money to Wales.
Unfortunately, before the submission date was announce by ICANN, the governing body of names on the Internet, (12th January 2012 - 12th April 2012) there was a change of government. dotCYM warned Plaid Cymru and Ieuan Wyn Jones, who was the minister responsible for a TLD for Wales, that unless they took urgent steps to guarantee that the Welsh TLD would be run from Wales there was a high risk that the new Labour minister would approach Nominet to apply for a .wales.
Nothing was done. Edwina Hart became the Minister responsible and she has refused to talk to or meet dotCYM and the civil servants approached Nominet to bring them into the game.
Carwyn Jones and Edwina Hart have stated that the Welsh Government has no interest in doing anything except for giving one applicant the "letter of no objection" that is needed as part of the application. It is unheard of for a Government to show so little interest in its own top-level domain. The London, Scottish, Basque, Galician and Breton Governments are working very close with their local applications for their names online.
Nominet has commissioned London Economics, LE Cymru and YouGov to create a document that shows that the name of the TLD should be .wales instead of .cymru, although the majority of the people of Wales want a .cymru. Instead of doing its own research the Government seems to be clinging on to every word of this research document. Yes, since the civil servants don't understand TLDs the Government is taking advice from the document commissioned by the corporation trying to protect its monopoly of the market! dotCYM has never been consulted and there is no one else to questions Nominet's misleading polls and research.
Last Friday the Government invited potential applicants to compete for the letter of no objection that's required from the Government as a part of the application to ICANN (http://sell2wales.co.uk/notices/display.html?NoticeId=28474).. With a deadline of 6th of January, just three weeks away and over the Christmas holidays, this makes it almost impossible for dotCYM to find the 300,000 investment it needs and so the civil servants and the Government have successfully paved the way for Nominet, an Oxford-based company, to take ownership and control of .wales (and they may go for .cymru as well if forced to). Once Nominet owns Wales' name and brand online, the Welsh will never regain control of it. Nominet are not accountable to the Welsh people in any way. They can create a Welsh front with an Advisory Committee and even open an office in Wales with a token Welsh-speaker to give phone support, but that doesn't change the fact that the policy will be decided by people foreign to the Welsh community.
Of course, as well as losing ownership and control of our TLD, this will result in the loss of the jobs, special expertise and money that would have come into Wales.
Nominet has tried to persuade the London and Scottish governments that it should own and run their TLDs. Both rejected the idea and are working with local companies to deliver a successful TLD. Nominet may eventually run the technical side of .london but it would not own and control it. The Bretons, Basques and Galicians are doing the same - a local company, accountable to the people it represents, cooperating closely with the Government. But this is not the case in Wales where there was no support or interest in a local initiative.
It's very unlikely that dotCYM will be able to put a bid up against Nominet on the 6th of January. Even with the big potential return of investment we've found that companies can't make decisions quickly enough to turn this around before the deadline. If someone has access to money that they are able to invest, please contact us.
All hope is not lost. A top level-domain is not a devolved issue; the last word resides in London. The real letter of no objection must come from Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries. dotCYM hopes that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians can show the leadership needed here to try to save this grave injustice and ensure the Welsh keep control of their name online.
You, as dotCYM's supporters, have as much power as dotCYM now to try to make the Government realise the error of its ways and keep control in Wales and ensure that there's an application for a .cymru as well as a .wales. dotCYM had the resources to apply for and run a TLD but not to compete against Nominet. Your help is now vital.
You can contact your local AM and MP. More Labour politicians need to become aware of the situation and Conservative and Lib Dem politicians can put pressure on the UK Government. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport in London has experts in Internet governance that understand the importance of community TLD applications such as ours to increase diversity and competition on the Internet. Since this is not a devolved issue it's important that they realise that it's their responsibility to ensure that Wales gets the TLD it wants and needs and not one that has its policy decided in Oxford.
For more details on the situation or information on how you can help please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and follow us on Twitter (@dotcymru)
Please contact your Member of Parliament.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Whilst there has been some healthy skepticism by elected members for the proposal based mainly on 'nanny state' arguments, difficulty in enforcement and effectiveness; members supported the proposal 9 to 1 following strong representations by Dr Andrew Jones, Director of Public Health for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as well as wholehearted and overwhelming support by Wrecsam's Senedd yr Ifanc.
A recent Judicial Review has found that social objectives like restricting planning consent for takeways and the like near to schools are a 'material consideration' in determining planning applications.
Let's hope that other Welsh local authorities will follow Wrecsam's lead and introduce similar guidance. There is after all little point in promoting Appetite for Life and healthy eating in schools if takeaways are allowed to open unrestricted nearby.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Although pleasing to note that the Press Complaints Commission have upheld a complaint against the Daily Mail in respect of accuracy (or lack of it as was the case here) but they have no sanction to punish the Mail and to ensure it won't happen again.
What is needed is a complaints procedure for the press that has teeth.
Friday, 9 December 2011
When Miriam Beard "milked" a charity out of more than £50,000, she stole from one of Wales' poorest communities.As the former co-ordinator of the Plas Madoc Communities First Project, it was her job to ensure the charity's funds helped improve the Wrexham community.Many residents believe the money could have enhanced life for those on the estate, particularly children.Beard, 56, of Henllan, Denbighshire, was jailed for 32 months on Friday at Caernarfon Crown Court.She was appointed the charity's co-ordinator in 2003 after working as a welfare rights money adviser for Wrexham council's social services department. Even before she began work, she had misled the organisation. During her trial - before she changed her plea to guilty - Mold Crown Court heard she had concealed her past by claiming to be 10 years younger than she was.She claimed that she left university and went straight to work after obtaining A levels and GCSEs.In reality, she had been due to sit six CSE examinations, failed three and failed to turn up for three, and never went to university, the court heard.She had also been convicted of offences of dishonesty and other matters in the 1970s, and in 1979 went to prison for conspiracy to defraud.Her most serious crime though, according to many Plas Madoc residents, was stealing money that could have improved the lives of local children.The charity was intended to provide activities to boost the quality of life for local residents.According to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2011 - which breaks the country down into 1,896 small areas - Plas Madoc is ranked the 24th most deprived in Wales.Welsh government statistics on Communities First areas (dated 2001), said nearly 83% of people lived in rented council accommodation or housing from a registered social landlord.Figures suggested more than 10% of households were overcrowded.Tracey Pritchard, Post Office worker: "There used to be a youth club here, but that's gone. It was somewhere for the children to go at night, at least, but there's nothing here anymore."There's a leisure centre, but I don't think half the people here can afford to use it."Resident Laura Hughes, 32, an unemployed carer for her autistic daughter, said: "My daughter was going to a group called Reflections, but they had to stop it. The children would play and learn there."You don't rob £50,000 off places like this. People haven't got any money."
"Companies such as the big six energy firms do not lend their staff to government for nothing – they expect a certain degree of influence, insider knowledge and preferential treatment in return. At such a pivotal time in the UK's energy and climate change policy, as ministers must get to grips with the realities of climate change, rising costs and energy insecurity, the strong presence of vested interests is a real cause for concern."
Decc declared 195 ministerial meetings with energy companies and their lobby groups and 17 with green campaign groups. The big six energy companies, which provide 99% of the energy used in UK homes, feature prominently, with 34 face-to-face meetings and a further seven with trade bodies representing their interests.
A quarter of all households in England and Wales have now fallen in to fuel poverty following an autumn of steep increases in energy bills and stagnating incomes.
The dramatic increase in fuel poverty - up from nearly one in five households last year to one in four now - will be highly embarrassing to the government, which has a statutory obligation to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016. It now looks certain to fail to meet its legal duty.
Previous government projections forecast that this year would see 4.1m households in fuel poverty, which is defined as those who have to spend 10% or more of their income to achieve adequate warmth and light.
The last sentence of this piece by Laurie Penny says it all:
Cancer patients are to be made to beg for their benefits. It sounds like a joke, doesn't it? After 18 months of cuts, austerity measures and scantily disguised attempts to punish the poor for the failings of the financial sector, somehow this Government still retains the power to shock. A report to ministers by Professor Malcolm Harrington, the government adviser on testing welfare recipients, contains proposals that those undergoing chemotherapy in hospital be forced to prove their unfitness for work before receiving the bare minimum of benefits required to live out what may be their final weeks in comfort. It may be one of the most monstrous minor outrages against human dignity ever enacted by a Labour government.
Yes, a Labour government. It seems to have escaped public notice that it was Labour that pioneered the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) system, requiring everyone in receipt of sickness benefits to negotiate a bureaucratic fun-house of forms, fit-for-work tests and bizarre inquisitions in remote buildings that may or may not be accessible by wheelchair. The Tories added their special brand of barbarity to the process, but by 2010 the damage was done – and cancer patients were not exempt from Labour's original proposals to placate the tabloids by pursuing "scroungers".
In three years of research and campaigning on the ESA, I have collected countless stories of pain and humiliation – the result of a policy administered by Atos Origin, the private company with a £300m contract giving them responsibility for the work capability tests. The man with crippling arthritis who was required to walk until he collapsed from pain. The girl with serious mental health difficulties who was made to strip to show her self-harm scars, and was thrown off benefits anyway. Mental health charities have informed the Government that the tests are already prompting suicides, and are likely to lead to more.
All this for a system with such a high failure rate that the appeals process costs the Exchequer tens of millions of pounds a year – and barely shaves anything from a benefit fraud bill already dwarfed by the cost of tax avoidance and evasion by the super-rich. Callousness and inefficiency: the demon offspring of the hell-marriage between pitiless Thatcherism and New Labour neuroticism.
It would be easy, at this point, to adopt the clichéd radical posture of throwing up your hands and declaring that all mainstream parties are the same. They are not all the same. There is, however, so little clear air between the welfare policies of this Government and the previous one that anyone who believes in a society that cares for the needy is left to feel their vote is being held hostage – by a party whose sole claim to electability seems to be that the Tories are worse.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
The one surprise for most people would probably be Ysgol Rhiwabon who came in Band 1 ahead of Darland, Maelor and Morgan Llwyd who were in Band 2, but is another acknowledgement of the excellent work that has been going on in Ysgol Rhiwabon over the last year with big improvements in the 5 A*- C GCSE grades.
St Joseph's Catholic and Anglican High School - Band 1.
Ysgol Rhiwabon - Band 1.
Darland High School - Band 2.
The Maelor School, Penley - Band 2.
Ysgol Morgan Llwyd - Band 2.
Ysgol y Grango, Rhosllanerchrugog - Band 3.
Rhosnesni High School - Band 5.
Ysgol Bryn Alyn - Band 5.
Ysgol Clywedog - Band 5.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Dwi wedi gneud ryw chydig o waith yn ddiweddar ynglŷn â dewisiad iaith disgyblion mewn ysgolion dwyieithog yn yr hen sir Feirionnydd ac mae'r dewis yn amrywio gyda niferoedd mawr o ddisgyblion Ysgol y Moelwyn ar Berwyn yn astudio mwyafrif pynciau drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Wedyn mae gennym ni Ysgol Ardudwy, lle eto mae mwyafrif bychan yn dilyn cyrsiau drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Mae pethe’n dirywio tuag at dde'r sir, hefo mwyafrif disgyblion Ysgol y Gader yn dilyn cyrsiau drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg e.e. Mae 60 o ddisgyblion yn dilyn cwrs/eistedd arholiad Cymraeg iaith gyntaf ac 11 ail iaith; ond dim ond 15 o’r 60 sydd yn astudio Mathemateg drwy'r Gymraeg. Mae'r sefyllfa yn debyg yn bron pob pwnc.
Mae'r sefyllfa yn Ysgol Uwchradd Tywyn hefyd yn wael gyda 48 o ddisgyblion Blwyddyn 11 flwyddyn yma yn ddigon rhugl i ddilyn cwrs Cymraeg iaith gyntaf ond ddim un wan jac o’r 48 yn dilyn unrhyw gwrs arall drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
Y cwestiwn amlwg sydd yn codi yw, o le mae myfyrwyr i'r Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol yn mynd i ddod o? O'r ysgolion dwyieithog traddodiadol neu o ysgolion penodedig Cymraeg. Fe fydd hi'n werth gweld y data mewn rhyw flwyddyn neu ddwy.