Take a (virtual) walk in the Welsh woods, in the company of the experts who spoke at our recent Trees and Woodlands of Wales day in November 2019.
We’re introducing a new Videos area, in the Gallery section of the website. Our launch is now live, with an audio slideshow of Dr. George Peterken’s talk introducing the Woodlands of Wales. And we’ll be rolling out the rest of the talks on an approximately fortnightly basis, so keep checking the website and our Facebook page for the rest of the series – and be sure to share the videos with anyone who loves woodlands!
Brecon & Radnor Branch CPRW: August 2019 Newsletter
This month’s newsletter has a report from the AGM, updates on Hendy Windfarm and the Welsh Government’s National Development Framework, and a Date For Your Diaries. There is also an opportunity for you to have your say about the Welsh Planning System.
Our AGM was held on 27th July at the Tabernacle on Dolley Green. It was unusually well attended, and followed by an extremely enjoyable guided tour of Upper Dolley Farmhouse (recipient of our 2018 Louis Hurley Award) with tea and sandwiches graciously provided and hosted by John and Diana Trew. This remarkable ancient farmhouse was painstakingly restored, with ancient mullions and carved timber revealed when corrugated iron was removed.
This was followed on the 28th by an inspiring talk from Tom Davies at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton. There was standing room only as he extolled the glories of our countryside and the kindness of its people that he came across in the course of an 1100 mile walk around our borders. This was followed by a short walk on the Offa’s Dyke.
(Further info on the Upper Dolley visit and Tom Davies’ talk here.)
This was the text of the chairman’s report at the AGM which will serve as an update for all our members:
“Another busy year for us. The proliferation of intensive livestock units continues to be front and central to our concerns over water and air quality. Last year’s petition to the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee has appeared to get some traction at the Welsh Assembly and we have secured a place on the Town and Country Planning Intensive Agriculture Working Group which meets this autumn, but we are not seeing any improvement on the ground so far in Powys, where applications continue to be waved through with almost no exception. Our efforts may have contributed to announcements by Cargill-Avara that it will be concentrating growth elsewhere in future, but actions speak louder than words. We have been working with Shropshire and Herefordshire CPRE branches to extend our intensive poultry farm mapping over the border. Chris Bruce has worked steadfastly on these new interactive poultry farm maps (displayed at the Royal Welsh this week) and keep updated versions, along with everything else on our website, for which we are eternally grateful.
On the hard fought Hendy development, the Inspector’s long awaited and very thorough report was finally published in late October recommending refusal. We were nonplussed to discover that the Welsh Minister Lesley Griffiths had nevertheless overruled both the Inspector’s and Powys Planning Committee decisions and decided that she would allow the development to proceed. Which it did with reckless haste, before any of the onerous and detailed conditions precedent, confirmed by the minister herself, had been discharged, and in the face of determined local opposition on the ground. It turned out this is because a turbine had to be erected before January 31st this year in order for the development to qualify for the very last tranche of subsidised prices.
So we again rang the tocsin and were delighted to be able to raise over £40,000 to initiate a judicial review of this infamous decision. I will not go in to the complex ups and downs of the legal battle. At present we are awaiting a crucial ruling from the Court of Appeal in London. We would not have got this far without the unhesitating support of CPRW Central, who launched a nationwide appeal to help us. Meanwhile Christine, Margaret and Sarah have fought tirelessly to hold PCC to account over the discharge of conditions, while BRAG, Nigel and Azra have done the same on the ground. Local communities are incensed.
Powys Council is not helping public participation in planning decisions with its decision to stop publishing any third party representations from stakeholder organisations or the general public. This is an issue we need your help to tackle in the coming year.
On a lighter note we held another very popular symposium, this time on the Soil beneath our Feet at Talgarth Town Hall at the beginning of November, chaired by John Scullion from IBERs in Aberystwyth. The academic excellence was complemented with reports from two farmers with hands on experience of the matter, underlining the importance we attach to engagement with the farming community who maintain our beloved landscape. This year’s symposium will be held on the 10th November in collaboration with the Woodland Trust.
Last year awards were made and a well-attended reception was held in the stunning glass-blowing studio at Hares Green. The Louis Hurley Prize was awarded to Upper Dolley (2018) and Hares Green Farm (2017), and our annual Rural Wales Award was made posthumously to Alan Loveridge for his pioneering work on intensive poultry farming in Powys and accepted by his widow Janice.
Sadly this is the last AGM where Ann Payne our steadfast membership secretary and treasurer will attend in that capacity and we offer her our heartfelt thanks. I am taking on the Treasurer role and Margaret is taking on Membership temporarily we are looking for a replacement. I am glad to report that our membership has increased by over 10 % in the year, but we must continue to try to engage younger generations in our struggle. CPRW central is appointing a part time communications officer to try to help achieve this. Thanks to all our supporters, our committee and our membership for keeping our valiant little team of volunteers fighting for the good of our countryside.”
UPDATES: 1. Hendy Wind Farm
The battle for Hendy continues apace as the developer attempts to pass off as ‘non-material’ alterations to the conditions implicit in the Minister’s consent. For example, they want to change the condition saying a turbine, which does not produce electricity for 6 months, must be removed, and change the condition requiring a traffic plan for turbine transport prior to construction. This is because Turbine 5 has not produced electricity for 6 months and they want to get on with construction for the other 6 turbines before producing any plans for access from the A44 and before satisfying the Welsh Government about transport safety. The developer has already breached essential planning conditions and, according to planning and environmental impact regulations, should now apply for planning permission for the changed access and layout plans but so far there is no evidence that Powys will require this.
2. Welsh Government National Development Framework (NDF) Consultation (closing date 1/11/19)
This consultation sets a 20-year vision for Wales. The NDF, combined with Planning Policy Wales 10, governs the Strategic Development Plan for Mid and West Wales (Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire), which, in turn, governs our Local Powys Planning. During the examination of the Powys LDP, substantial Proposed Local Search Areas for wind energy were abandoned because AECOM finally admitted that, after they had applied their exclusion criteria, there were no suitable areas left. However the draft NDF now proposes different Priority Areas for renewable wind and solar energy. The NDF provides a crude map of these (below) and says there will be a presumption of approval of planning applications within Priority Areas but does not explain the criteria for selection.
This link will get you to the Welsh Government Documents.
As the consultation progresses, BRB-CPRW will be publishing more information and maps to help you see exactly where these areas are in relation to existing Strategic Search Areas and Powys Solar Local Search Areas. We have already prepared one which puts the Priority Areas more in context with the landscape resources of Wales. That is shown below the Welsh Government’s Priority Area map. Clicking on our map will enable you to download a PDF version enabling you to zoom in and perhaps find your town or village. (Alternatively you can right-click on a map and “Save Target As” or equivalent to download the PDF.)
SAVE THE DATE: November 10th 2019: Trees and Woodlands of Wales
This is a full day public Seminar in cooperation with the Woodland Trust at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells.
Our trees and woodland ecosystems are facing huge and multiple pressures. Our speakers will be looking at the character and importance of woods and trees in Wales, the threats to their extent and health and current Welsh policy. We are very pleased to have as keynote speaker George Peterken the recognised woodland ecologist and pioneer of the recognition and protection of Britain’s Ancient Woodlands.
This online survey, run by Cardiff University and Queen’s University Belfast, aims to compare stakeholder perceptions of planning in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The researchers aim to publish a final report by the end of the year which will ‘directly inform the discussion, design and delivery of planning policy and the governance, resourcing and regulation of development’.
This is a valuable opportunity to set out any concerns you may have about the Welsh planning system, its operation and its direction.
The survey can be accessed on this link and will remain open until Monday 30 September 2019.
A special opportunity to experience the beauty and importance of Traditional Hay Meadows in our farming landscape led by Conservationist, Photographer and Farmer’s Wife SORCHA LEWIS.
Sorcha will give us some history of the Elan Valley, its management by the Welsh Water Elan Valley Trust and the variety of wildlife that it supports. Troedrhiwdrian Farm is in the High Nature Value Scheme.
The visit will be approximately two hours.
We meet Sorcha in Car Park No.7 Gwaelod y Rhos (see map on this link) at 2.00pm on SUNDAY 30th JUNE.
Members Only: Limited numbers, booking essential. To book – Tel: 01544 267418 or email email@example.com. (B&R CPRW Committee)
At Ackhill School Room, Dolley Green, LD8 2EE, nr Presteigne.
The School Room is known as ‘The Tin Tabernacle’ and dates from 1905.
By kind permission of Pastor Richard Mansell.
Parking adjacent to the School Room. www.ackhillbaptistchurch.org
The AGM is followed by a VISIT to UPPER DOLLEY FARMHOUSE with a TALK and TEA at 3.00pm courtesy of John and Diana Trew, recipient of the 2018 Louis Hurley Architectural Award for major restoration of an historic early Welsh Marches Farmstead Grade II*.
Members only visit to Upper Dolley Farmhouse. (Non-members may attend the AGM but obviously cannot vote!)
Please book to reserve your place for this event by July 14th.
Tel: 01544 267418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (B&R CPRW Committee)
COME and BE INSPIRED by a TALK and TEA EVENT with local author TOM DAVIES on SUNDAY 28th JULY at 2.30pm at the Offa’s Dyke Centre, Knighton, LD7 1EN in celebration of the Offa’s Dyke Association’s 50th Anniversary.
Tom will be talking about his 1,100 mile adventure from his home in Presteigne , heading north along the Offa’s Dyke National Trail and continuing along the entire length of the Welsh Coastal Path, arriving home some ten weeks later.
An event which may be of interest to our subscribers posted here on behalf of the Welsh Soils Discussion Group:
The Welsh Soils Discussion Group are pleased to announce the Spring Meeting: Soil – the Essentials, in Aberystwyth on Wednesday 3 April (2019).
The day will provide an introduction to soils and the issues surrounding around them. We have a range of specialists to deliver the training and help in discussions.
The day is aimed at persons for whom (a) soil is a part of their job but not a major component or (b) people with a general interest in soil. The aim is to provide a baseline level of knowledge, network and encourage discussion.
We will have talks on: What soils are: (Ian Rugg, WG) Soil threats in Wales: (Jack Hannam, Cranfield University) Soils and Farming: (Paul Newell-Price, ADAS) Soils and Ecology: – including soil biodiversity (TBA) Soils and Planning: (James Cooke, WG) Soil Mapping and Earth Observation: (Katie Medcalf, Environment Systems)
We would really like you to join us for an interesting and enjoyable day (see full details in the link below). So please sign up and save the date!
Yes, the answer does lie in the soil and if you’ve ever wondered what those answers are the Brecon & Radnor Branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales are hosting an inspiring day of talks and discussions on Saturday 3rd November at The Town Hall in Talgarth near Brecon from 10.00am to 4.00pm.
A panel of expert scientists, farmers and conservationists will explore this important and complex subject chaired by Dr. John Scullion from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberyswyth University. His fellow speakers will be Dr. William Stiles also from Aberystwyth University and Farming Connect; Dr. Alan Feest – expert on biodiversity and fungi from Bristol University; Ian Rappel – Chief Executive of Gwent Wildlife Trust; James Cooke – Welsh Government Agricultural Land Use Policy Manager; Rory Francis – Campaigns Manager for the Woodland Trust Cymru; Richard Tudor and Geraint Powell, both Nuffield Farm Scholars and well-known practising farmers.
Fundamental to life on Earth, our soil is a non-renewable resource, and home to a quarter of all living species on Earth. But life within the soil is so often ‘out of sight, out of mind’. What organisms make up our soil and how important are they to life above ground? How are our activities affecting soil ecology and biodiversity? Charles Darwin spent over forty years studying the earthworm and its effect on our soils, yet today only about twenty five percent of worm species, six percent of fungi and less than two percent of soil bacteria have been studied and categorized.
‘Down to Earth’ Soil Symposium Day offers a fascinating and unique opportunity to share questions and answers in the company of a pre-eminent panel of speakers, and to discover more about our soils and how we can look after them, as we face the future challenges of the 21st century.
Refreshments are included.
To book please email: email@example.com or Tel: 01497 821668
CPRW Members £10 / Non-members £12 / Free to under 26
For your satnavs the postcode for Talgarth Town Hall is LD3 0BW. Location map here. There is a large free car park just a couple of minutes walk away, shown on the map. A colour poster promoting the symposium is available for download here.
We look forward to seeing you there in Talgarth on Saturday 3rd November at the Symposium!
CPRW Brecon & Radnor Branch Annual General Meeting 5th July 2018
Brecon and Radnor Branch
2018 Annual General Meeting
3pm Thursday 5th July 2018
Old Stable, Penyrheol Chapel, nr Llanigon
Chairman’s welcome and statement
Apologies for absence
Minutes of 2017 Annual General Meeting
Matters arising from the minutes
Financial report and adoption of accounts. Treasurer
Election of officers and committee members:
Membership Secretary and Treasurer, Ann Payne would like to retire from the Committee at the next AGM but would like to hand over Treasurer duties at the end of December 2018 as this is the end of our financial year. We are looking for a new Treasurer to start at the beginning of 2019.
We welcome new committee members to help us in our interesting and important work.
From Brecon: Approaching Talgarth from Bronllys, turn left opposite the Castle pub on to the A4078 in the direction of Three Cocks, past the new school. After ¼ mile turn right signed Felindre. Keep village hall on your left, through village and stay on narrow road in the direction of Tregoyd until you see the sign to turn right to Penyrheol. Over cattle grid, past cottage and farm on left and keep on going – the chapel is on the righthand side. Postcode: LD3 0SR. Map.
From Glasbury: Follow the A438 in direction of Brecon. Take 1st left immediately after the de-restriction sign onto the A4078 towards Talgarth. Take 2nd turning on the left signed Felindre and follow instructions as above. Map.
Brecon & Radnor Branch of Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales are celebrating
CPRW at 90
with A Garden Party at Broadheath House Garden
Presteigne LD8 2HG
Courtesy of Steve and Andrea Jude
Sunday May 13th 2018 3.00pm
An Italianate Walled Garden
Designed by Clough Williams-Ellis
Celebration to be opened by Sir Roy Strong
Entry £5 – to include tea
Registered Charity No. 2398899
Our CPRW at 90 Garden Party is open to non-members too!
2 miles east of Presteigne, 4 miles west of Shobdon on the B4362. From the west turn right into the drive opposite the middle of Broadheath common. From the east, 30 seconds after the sign for Wales turn left into the drive. Map.
Hendy Appeal Inquiry, Fundraising Events and Llandegley Starlings
Hendy Appeal Inquiry
The CPRW Brecon and Radnor evidence for the Hendy Appeal Inquiry was submitted on Tuesday 13th February to meet the midnight deadline. The branch evidence consists of a Proof of Evidence on impacts on landscape and heritage, prepared by Michelle Bolger, Landscape Consultant, and our evidence submissions on other matters. These include concerns regarding the developer’s case under the headings of ecology, ornithology (including the Llandegley starlings), hydrology, socio-economic issues and tourism, including outdoor tourism, local amenity, and impacts on Llandegley Rhos Common and the adjacent inclosed Common Land.
You can view all CPRW Brecon & Radnor Branch submissions via this link.
The Appeal website is found on this link. All evidence documents submitted by the developers, Powys and ourselves will be uploaded to this site.
Details of the Inquiry Hearing itself are as follows:
Tuesday 13th to Friday 17th and Tuesday 20th March, with a possible extra day on Wednesday 21st. Venue: Pavillion, Spa Rd, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 5EY. (Map) The Inspector is Hywel Wyn Jones.
We know there is a great deal of public interest in this appeal and very much hope that members of the public will attend the inquiry to demonstrate the degree of local concern. If you are attending you may find it useful to download any key documents and plans from the planning website which are likely to be referred to during proceedings. The Inspector has indicated that the programme for the Inquiry is likely to be topic based, with Powys’s reasons for refusal, i.e. impacts on landscape, heritage and rights of way, coming before other matters raised by the branch, but the final programme will be agreed at the opening of the Inquiry.
If you are intending to speak at the Inquiry, bear in mind that the Inspector has already received all the objections submitted to Powys before determination as well as all objections submitted last autumn. There is no need to reiterate objections already made, or repeat what another speaker has said, and as time is tight the Inspector will really appreciate speakers being brief, to the point and bringing up new issues only. From advice on fighting appeals produced by Friends of the Peak District:
Speaking at an inquiry – Most people appearing at an inquiry will do so as members of the public, rather than having rule 6 party status. There are some key things to remember.
Think carefully about what you want to say, pick out the key elements of your objection to the development. It is best to read out a written statement.
If you are part of group, decide who would be best presenting the evidence and answering questions during cross-examination. The inspector will appreciate the time this saves.
If you are working with other groups, it is a good idea to form a partnership or coalition, and split the evidence according to the issue, expertise and knowledge. Don’t all give the same evidence – although you should make clear you support everything each other says. This will look organised and professional.
It is vital that you are there at the beginning of the inquiry as the inspector will run through the schedule and ask who would like to speak. If you miss this, you may not be able to speak at the inquiry. Tell the inspector if you can’t attend the whole inquiry, so that they can try to re-arrange the schedule to include you.
Two more things:
Fundraising events at Bledffa: 11th March
2-4pm Appalachian Step Dancing Workshop (limited places) with tuition and live music from my Old Time Band “Little Hoedown”
7.30pm concert with choice local musicians – Black Mountain Boy, Little Hoedown, Rose Westrip Band plus a few more, and maybe a poet.
Tickets £10 for the workshop bookable from Louise on 01982 551116, and £5 for the evening concert from 01544 350407, 01982 551116, or 01547 528315.
Excellent footage of a Starling Murmuration at Llandegley has been uploaded to YouTube, see here . The roost is now listed on the Starlings in the UK Roost Map and we’ve also heard that a film crew were on site last weekend to gather footage for use in a TV wildlife documentary.
Stay warm, and have a Happy St David’s Day!
CPRW Brecon & Radnor Committee
Powys LDP Update & Fundraiser Concert for Hendy Appeal
Liven up bleak January with two very important dates for the diary.
1. Powys Local Development Plan – Renewable Energy Hearing Session 19:
Please put next Wednesday 10th January in the diary and come along if you possibly can to what is likely to be the final Hearing Session of the LDP. The Inspector has decided that the Council’s renewable energy policy is not yet fit for purpose and has called this very important Hearing Session to discuss potential changes to draft policy.
This is probably our last opportunity to influence the final LDP and our last opportunity to demonstrate the public concern about the Council’s Renewable Energy policy to the Inspector. Please be there if at all possible – it is critically important that the Inspector understands how important this area of policy is to local residents.
The hearing is on 10th January 2018, next Wednesday, and will begin at 10.00 a.m. The venue is the Media Resource Centre (MRC Wales Ltd.), Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 6AH. (Media Centre location map)
Both Powys branches of CPRW are participants in the hearing session, supported by planning barrister Tina Douglass. Njord Wind Developments (the company behind the Bryn Blaen and Hendy Wind Farms), RES (Renewable Energy Systems) and RenewableUK Cymru are also participants. A substantial public presence is essential.
If possible, please let the Programme Officer, Tracey Smith, know if you intend to attend: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 07919396609
2. Fundraiser concert for Hendy Appeal – 26th January 8pm at Knighton Community Centre Bar – Please see attached poster for full details
This concert is held in support of our fight against the Hendy Wind Farm on Llandegley Rhos near Penybont. This should be a very enjoyable evening and at the same time you will be helping to see off this serious threat to an iconic Radnorshire landscape.
‘It’s unusual to find someone who’s as good a songwriter as an instrumentalist. Vera van Heeringen is that person. A consummate guitarist, highly acclaimed by her contemporaries, she brings the instrument to life in way that is entirely her own. Vera also writes tunes and songs which deliver straight to – and from – the heart. Firmly rooted in Transatlantic traditions, her original contemporary Americana showcases both these skills: firebrand instrumental virtuosity and poignant, emotionally astute songwriting.
An early starter, raised in the bluegrass scene in her native Holland, Vera has long been recognised for her elegant yet gutsy guitar style – a skill which transposes to pretty much anything with strings! A musician with integrity and style in equal measure. In 2015, Vera released her second album, Proper Brew, which features a roll call of top-drawer musicians who share her musical aesthetic, and hold her in high esteem – amongst them Tim O’Brien, Dirk Powell, Rayna Gellert and Kris Drever. Vera’s third album is imminent.
Her live performances are intimate, understated affairs, allowing the music to speak for itself. Stripped back, potent, and full of groove. Outstanding flatpicking, fulsome fiddle playing, heartbreaking lyrics, and assured natural vocal tone and driving tunes are all integral to the show.
Currently Vera tours with a watertight acoustic trio featuring harmony king Dave Luke on guitar, vocals and mandolin and double-bass stalwart Andy Seward.’
We are very much hoping for a substantial turnout at both these events. Please copy this link and forward to anyone who might be interested in the Hearing and/or the Concert.
The Future of our Hills – Powys Uplands, Policy and Brexit
Speakers include: Professor David Austin, Professor of Archaeology, Lampeter Justin Hanson, Natural Resources Wales Julian Jones, Director of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Sorcha Lewis, High Nature Value farmer Liz Lewis-Reddy, Head of Living Landscapes, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Professor Michael Woods, Professor of Human Geography, Aberystwyth Nick Myhill, farmer and wildlife consultant
Event organised by Brecon & Radnor Branch of the
Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.
£5 per person for CPRW members, £10 for non-members.
Cost includes refreshment and buffet lunch.
For further information and to book telephone 01497 821668.