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Return National Park planning to local councils, says FUW

FUW

Welsh farmers are calling for the planning powers of Wales' National Park authorities to be returned to the relevant county councils this year in a cost-cutting move.

The Farmers' Union of Wales debated the issue at their recent quarterly Grand Council meeting in Aberystwyth attended by delegates from counties throughout Wales.

A resolution from the union's Brecon and Radnor county branch, proposed by FUW life member and former deputy national president Glyn Powell, stressed that returning planning responsibilities to local councils would be a first step towards abolishing Wales' three National Park authorities.

The resolution, which was overwhelmingly carried, pointed out that National Parks have "little economic development responsibilities and as such should not be delivering planning policies".

Delegates agreed that "with huge proposed cuts in public spending in Wales it is seen as a waste of taxpayers' money to have three extra planning departments specifically for the three National Parks".

Referring to the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Mr Powell, of Sennybridge, near Brecon, told delegates: "People are always on my back about this subject and the bone of contention is the future of the National Park planning authorities, the unfairness of the current system and the inconsistencies of the activities of the Park with regard to planning.

"There are councillors on the authority but we don't choose them, the council does, and the Assembly chooses others. I don't think they understand the traditions of rural Wales.

"The Brecon Beacons National Park stretches over parts of seven counties. Common sense would tell you that it would be better if those counties took responsibility for their own planning responsibilities.

"The majority of people in Breconshire are not happy because they think they are represented by people who don't understand. The core of my argument is fairness."

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