The Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body, is dismayed that Powys County Council proposes to designate Local Search Areas (LSAs), where wind and solar generation will be encouraged. The result could be many wind turbines and other structures on the mountains of central Wales. The proposals are made in the county’s Local Development Plan on which the public’s views are sought.
Says Kate Ashbrook, the Open Spaces Society’s general secretary: ‘The proposed LSAs sweep across the Cambrian Mountains, taking in acres of common land and other open country as well as public paths and national trails, ancient monuments and wildlife reserves. If wind turbines and solar panels were to be erected on the uplands, these landscapes and their special characteristics, so treasured by residents and visitors, would be destroyed.
‘Powys County Council seems unaware that much of this land is registered common and that works here require the consent of the Welsh Government in addition to planning permission, and that such applications will be hard fought by commoners and the public and will be hard to justify.
‘There is much open-access land in the LSAs, where the public has long roamed free, from Lake Vyrnwy in the north to the Brecon Beacons in the south.
‘The proposed developments would generate traffic on narrow roads and lanes, causing danger to other users including walkers, riders and cyclists, and creating noise and pollution.
‘The area depends on tourism for its income, farming having declined. If the landscape is destroyed by wind turbines and solar panels and the infrastructure which goes with them, people will no longer visit. The council is shooting itself in the foot.
‘Moreover, the proposals conflict with the Well-being of Future Generations Act. Powys County Council has a legal duty to work to achieve its goals, yet the proposed LSAs severely reduce the council’s ability to do so.
‘We have called on the council to abandon the LSAs which are strongly detrimental to the Welsh landscape, culture, well-being and economy,’ Kate declares.
For more information about The Open Spaces Society visit: www.oss.org.uk