rved to highlight what a fantastic resource we have here in Wales.
Welsh coal can provide affordable and reliable energy for years to come, helping to prevent over reliance upon imported fuels.
With carbon capture and storage promising to become a reality in the near future, Welsh coal could be crucial to keeping the nation’s lights on.
The Welsh mining industry also provides highly-skilled and well-paid employment to thousands of people.
We at Celtic Energy alone employ 290 people, with countless jobs then provided through contractors and in local shops where our employees spend their wages. At a time when the economy is under severe pressure, mining has the capacity to grow, helping to deliver prosperity to communities across South Wales.
The UK needs a mix of energy sources. Gas and renewable energy also have roles to play. But with energy supply looking like one of the major issues of the 21st century, what is clear is that Welsh coal can and must have a vital role to play in powering our homes and the economy.
Managing director, Celtic Energy, Caerphilly
SIR – With 80% of Russian gas exports to the EU crossing Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s decision to reduce gas exported to Ukraine highlights the dangers of relying on imported energy.
Russia has declining cash reserves and its economy is heavily reliant on its trade in gas, yet the risk of shortages because of Mr Putin’s geopolitical games is something we can all do without.
Other countries manage to insure themselves against external shocks to their energy needs; while the UK’s market- driven approach has proven entirely inadequate.
The New Labour Government has taken a decade to recognise the need to increase storage capacity – France can store 122 days of gas, Germany 99 and the UK only 15 days.
Westminster and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should work with the Irish Government to make these islands entirely self-sufficient, via renewable non-market- driven energy resources.
JONATHAN T CLARK
Plaid Cymru, Monmouth Constituency, Westminster Parliamentary Candidate
SIR – On the issue of nuclear waste storage, two of your readers (Letters, Dec 23) seek to assure us that everything is OK and perfectly tickety-boo, as all the highly-toxic nuclear waste we have produced up until now is “safely stored in specialised containers in deep caverns”.
Phew, no need to worry then.
That must however mean that the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management isn’t correct in stating that the only geological disposal facility in the world is in the US and that it only takes US defence-related waste?
It’s also not correct then that most of the UK’s nuclear waste is distributed among numerous surface storage tanks, with most of it stashed at the Sellafield site?
Perhaps they’ve got the problem sorted in France, as one of the letters confidently predicts? Maybe non! They still haven’t found a permanent home for their growing pile of highly radioactive waste either. The waste sits in heavily guarded storage at nuclear company Areva’s La Hague reprocessing plant in Normandy.
So how much would a high-level geological disposal facility in the UK cost? Estimates are currently around £12bn for one facility but a discussion paper produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change indicates a second cannot be ruled out. That’s on top of the £73bn that the National Audit Office estimates it would cost to decommission the UK’s existing ageing nuclear power stations, never mind building a new load.
Perhaps we should start a whip-round!
SIR – Following the success (several years ago) of Scotland’s second city (Glasgow) being the European Capital of Culture, and last year’s success of Liverpool doing the same thing for England, isn’t it time that Wales followed suit?
There is so much going on in the www.swansea2020.com campaign, that I think it is the ideal time for our second city to show its hand and apply for the honour.
I did hear a rumour that Cardiff had already applied, but isn’t it the case that a country’s capital city is exempt?
SIR – I am putting together a manuscript, hopefully for publication, regarding Woolworths stores.
This is planned to be a social history of this famous name, which unfortunately is no longer with us.
Everybody has a story to tell regarding Woolies and I would like to invite recollections from former staff members and shoppers alike from any UK store for inclusion in the book.
Photographs taken of the inside and outside of the shops, especially in former years, would be most useful, especially during the 1960s and beyond when each department had its own counter and cash till.
So if you were a Saturday girl or regular member of staff or a shopper who can recall their days in Woolworths, then please send or e-mail your memories and/or photographs (which will be carefully handled and returned).
Whitcross, Barwick, Somerset, BA22 9TQ or email: email@example.com
SIR – Stuart Walters in his letter (Dec 31) said that the Welsh were sensitive about jokes made about them and they should shrug them off.
He did not explain for what purpose or why the English, and no-one else, make denigrating jokes about the Welsh.
Some of his list of what was wrong with the Welsh “nationalist” (which he could not describe as Quislings, traitors, fifth columnist etc) were: “Never lived out or worked outside the country, obsessed with cultural and national identity, no sense of humour, suspicious villagers distrustful of outsiders, babbling an incomprehensible language” – which shows how some English monoglots have been neutered from understanding the language that they use.
It is ironic that some clowns say that we should be proud of being “British”, when the Welsh are kept legally deprived and inferior in their own country in order to make the English the master race in Wales.
History has shown that those who have laws for others which they would not have for themselves are judged by history to be morally insane.
SIR – The Government’s proposal to make people on disability benefit work for it is ludicrous.
Much like their proposal to pay individuals and companies up to £50,000 to employ one person on disability is unworkable.
Being on disability allowance myself, I recently applied for help to get back into work at my local Jobcentre (Neath) and was told that I would have to wait five weeks to see a (disability to work) adviser, as they only employed one adviser part time.
SIR – A regular reader of these letters pages might be led to believe that the recent cold spell casts doubt on the science of climate change. It does not.
According to the Met Office, the global temperature for 2000 to 2008 now stands almost 0.20°C warmer than the average for the decade 1990-1999.
As carbon dioxide levels have risen, so have global temperatures.
The variations that occur from year to year are significantly influenced by the cooling (La Niña) and warming (El Niño) events in the tropical Pacific.
Last year was, as predicted by the Met Office, cooler as a result of a strong La Niña, while 1998 was particularly warm as a result of a strong El Niño.
The fact that 1998 is the warmest year on record does not mean that the world is cooling.
Ten of the warmest years on record have, in fact, occurred since 1997.
The trend is, as predicted by climate scientists, definitely upwards.
Scientists have recently reported temperature rises of up to 50°C in the Arctic, with ice melting much faster than anticipated.
The real concern today is that we are under-estimating the threat posed by climate change and failing to implement polices to address it.
Friends of the Earth Cymru, Cardiff
SIR – The Duke of Beaufort pockets more than £250,000 from Swansea ratepayers.
All above board and legal and for a bridge that does bring some benefit to the city.
But let us get this into perspective. This sum is chicken feed compared with what the Duke will get from us, via our electricity bills, if he is allowed to desecrate Mynydd y Gwair with his virtually useless windmills.
ALUN JOHN RICHARDS