CPRW is a completely independent charity which does not receive any statutory grants. There are fewer and fewer national or local organisations whose voices are not muffled by the need to fit in with governmental or other political agendas.
We want future generations to be able to enjoy the wider countryside of Wales with its beautiful landscapes, precious wildlife and flourishing communities.
We are all experiencing how our landscapes are being changed by encroachment of housing and commercial development, intensive farming and energy installations.
We know and fully agree that Wales needs some of these.
But we also know that decisions are made piecemeal without anyone fully considering the longer term and cumulative consequences for the environment and for rural communities.
This is happening all the time in the Welsh Government, in Natural Resources Wales*, in our local Powys County Council, in our Town and Community Councils and on private land.
CPRW has a chance to use our independence to think clearly about what is happening to our countryside and to campaign for better protection and for better management and control of change where it is needed.
We do not want the people of Wales to appreciate what they had only when it’s gone.
What is our branch doing now?
- Raising awareness of Powys issues by providing this website and networking with other environmental organisations as well as statutory agencies.
- Engaging in the Examination of the Powys LDP to oppose the unrealistic renewable energy target which requires dedication of one third of Powys’s land area outside the National Park to wind farms (up to 12 giant turbines) and solar arrays (up to 250 acre spreads). This is joint work with National CPRW and the Montgomery Branch.
- Arranging talks on interesting countryside topics and public seminars where different organisations present their role in dealing with major countryside issues.
- Reviewing Powys planning applications and making representations about potential negative impacts on landscape, water quality, wildlife habitats and biodiversity, rural communities and resident’s health and amenity.
- Responding to Welsh Government Consultations on Policies affecting the Powys countryside.
- Liaising with Powys Council about improving planning procedure. The Branch has concerns about the Powys planning function and the extent to which competing interests are properly balanced in the determination of planning applications. In addition to submitting objections, where appropriate, to individual applications we have held meetings with Powys planners and councillors, with Natural Resources Wales, and with our local Assembly Member, Kirsty Williams, to discuss key concerns and the need for improvements in the performance of the planning function. In law the planning function should seek to balance competing interests in their determination of planning applications and ensure that approved development is considered and appropriate. This would allow the full protection of residential amenity, our environment and ecology, and our outstanding landscapes. At the same time appropriate developments, designed in such a way as to minimise any environmental impacts, would be facilitated.
- Enforcement: We have taken up several issues with the appropriate local authorities where developments, with or without planning consent, have given rise to substantial environmental damage.
- Rural Wales Award: We wish to recognise projects which demonstrate outstanding environmental good practice or promote improved awareness and understanding of our Welsh heritage. Since 1983 these Awards have showcased those individuals and communities who have made a difference. Members, the public and local planning authorities are invited to put forward suggestions for the award.
In practice landscape protection tends to fall between the cracks.
- National Parks: The Brecon Beacons National Park has a separate planning regime. National Parks also fall within the landscape remit of Natural Resources Wales.
- Registered Historic Landscapes: Elan Valley and the Middle Wye Valley are situated in the Brecon and Radnor area and outside the National Park: Cadw**
- Immediate settings of historic buildings or archaeological remains Cadw
- Remaining landscape (most of Powys): Consideration is left to Powys Planning Department. Powys Council does not employ a landscape officer.
*In Wales, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is the Welsh Government sponsored body responsible for statutory protection of our habitats and biodiversity. However a basic conflict of interests is at the heart of NRW’s remit because it is also responsible for exploiting natural resources and enabling development. This role is described in terms of “shared outcomes for Wales” agreed with the Welsh Government.
**Cadw (Welsh for “protect”) is the Welsh Government body, within the Culture and Tourism section, which looks after the historic environment. This includes historic buildings and structures and designated historic landscapes and helps the public visit, understand and enjoy them.