1. POWYS LDP Examination; Hearing statements and Hearing Sessions
The Hearing Sessions for the Planning Inspector’s Examination of the Powys LDP begin on 28 March.
CPRW’s National and Powys Branches’ Statements set out why Powys’s proposed RE policy fails the Examination “soundness” tests. Our Barrister will represent us at the Hearings on 28th and 29th March. We hope to have the Inspector’s confirmation of how issues of “soundness” of procedure in production of the LDP can be dealt with satisfactorily when the “revision” of the Renewable Energy Assessment and the consequent RE Policy changes are not yet available.
The Powys Branches also argue that the impacts of the rapid expansion of industrial livestock units must be included and properly considered in the Local Development Plan.
The Inspector’s timetable for hearing sessions, and our submissions for the first 2 hearings, can be viewed here. CPRW Powys branches have now also put in submissions for Sessions 5, 6 and 7, which should soon be uploaded.
Hearing Sessions will be held at:
The Media Resource Centre (MRC Wales Ltd.),
Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 6AH
Please do come along to let the Inspector see the public concern about the sacrifice of our countryside. The Programme Officer has asked that people advise her if they plan to attend hearing sessions. She can be contacted on: tracey.smith@Powys.gov.uk
2. CPRW Landscape Evidence and Mapping
The CPRW documents for Hearing Session 1 include mapping exploring the potential impacts of the Local Search Areas on:
- Turbine views in Powys and neighboring Counties
- Outstanding and High LANDMAP evaluations of Welsh Landscape
- National Trails
The map below (taken from CPRW evidence for Hearing Session 1) shows red areas indicating the ‘zone of theoretical visibility’ of just one single 120m turbine – 80m hub height plus 40m blade radius – in the centre of each of the wind Local Search Areas (LSAs). It also demonstrates the likely impact on neighbouring counties both in England and Wales, that on the Snowdonia National Park and our on National Trails, Offas Dyke and Glyndwr’s Way:
A larger version of the map may be viewed here. (6.8MB pdf)
This model hugely underestimates the likely visual impact. Remember that the RE target was for 600MW of renewable electricity for Powys. LSAs were to be developed as fully as possible with the building out of the largest projects first, including 25MW wind farms (twelve turbines).
Only a few months ago, consultants AECOM helped devise the LSAs and the LDP Working Group enshrined these in Planning Policy proposals. AECOM and the Welsh Government presented this policy to a closed seminar for Powys County Councillors. The Powys Cabinet was also perfectly happy to sacrifice the Powys landscape when they voted to approve the LDP Further Focussed Changes. What has made them change their minds?
Now Powys is assuring us that AECOM is helping to revise the LSAs to take landscape into account. Their Regeneration and Planning Portfolio Holder told the Press that “we must get it right for the future” but they have already demonstrated that they do not care about the Powys countryside. We conclude that real reason for the “revision” is that the public responses have proved that the policy would fail the examination for “soundness”.
We expect the forthcoming “revision” to reflect the fear of public failure rather than any sincere regard for Powys’ unique natural assets.
We urge residents and other concerned individuals and bodies to keep this issue alive.
3. Powys County Council Frequently Asked Questions: Powys LDP Powys County Council’s Renewable Energy Assessment and Local Search Areas for Wind and Solar Energy
Please see this pdf (1.2MB) for CPRW Brecon & Radnor responses to Powys’s FAQ.
4. Mass departure of Powys Cabinet:
2nd March Wynne Jones steps down: http://www.countytimes.co.uk/news/173200/high-profile-powys-councillor-to-step-down.aspx
7th March Barry Thomas also steps down: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/politics/2017/03/07/powys-county-council-leader-barry-thomas-to-step-down/
9th March Graham Jones and John Brunt also decide not to stand again: http://www.countytimes.co.uk/news/173492/who-s-next-to-go-as-top-powys-councillors-step-down.aspx