CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s radical plan to scrap Carmarthenshire’s 18 Special Landscape Areas has been condemned by residents campaigning against the proposed Towy Valley Pylons.
Carmarthenshire is well known for its beautiful unspoilt landscapes. So much so that Carmarthenshire County Council had formally designated 18 such areas in its local development plan including the Tywi and Cothi Valleys.
These Special Landscape Areas have formed the foundation of Carmarthenshire’s tourist sector. They have also been used by residents to successfully object to plans for industrial wind projects such as the Llanllwni Mountain Wind Farm in 2014. However, hidden away in the new Local Development Plan issued last week by Carmarthenshire County Council is a proposal to scrap all 18 Special Landscapes.
Special Landscapes have already forced the “undergrounding” of a brief stretch of the Brechfa cables and forced the relocation of other infrastructure.
At no point have residents been told that the local authority is planning such a wholesale industrialisation of Carmarthenshire and our river valleys. Residents fear this will pave the way for pylons and other industrial development impacting our farming and our tourism sectors.
Landscape campaigner Havard Hughes commented: “Residents feel betrayed by Carmarthenshire County Council’s actions. Publicly they have backed residents’ concerns over pylons. Meanwhile going behind the backs of residents to pave the way for developers and pylons.
The Plaid administration’s new Local Development Plan is the most radical rewriting of our local planning rules since the creation of the County. Half of Carmarthenshire will fall into the wind industrial zone, an area larger in breadth than the whole of Greater London.
The new Local Development Plan double downgrades Carmarthenshire’s landscapes. It strips residents of an important tool to object to major projects and slashes the amount of compensation or mitigating activity due.
A final kick in the teeth comes on “undergrounding” cables. There is no mention at all in the new plan. Developers will be safe to ignore it despite virtue-signalling statements by our elected politicians.
We are calling on Carmarthenshire County Council to save our Special Landscape Areas. Residents can play their part too by making their objections known during the forthcoming Local Development Plan consultation. We have to protect our world famous landscapes such as the Towy Valley for the sake of future generations.”