Powys County Council is consulting over its draft Replacement Local Development Plan. By and large the Plan is encouraging in its foregrounding of climate and nature resilience issues, but we still felt there was an opportunity to be more ambitious. Accordingly, we have responded as shown below. The survey is open to all to respond until 5pm on 28 January Here.
Q1 The priority given to climate resilience and nature recovery are correct, but would be further strengthened by reference to the need to take full account of the needs of future generations. The expectations, and hence demands, of current generations have been shaped by several centuries of over-reach in our exploitation of our environment. To achieve a climate and ecosystems which support humanity in coming centuries will require precautionary action – including refraining from actions – going beyond mere acknowledgment and wishful thinking.
Q2 The Vision, rightly, proposes that the County’s wealth of resources including its landscapes are sustainably managed, safeguarded and valued. However many of the County’s ecosystems including its uplands and rivers are at present severely degraded and therefore not meeting their potential as to climate resilience. The Vision should therefore also propose restoration of ecosystems and habitats, not merely safeguarding them in their current condition.
Q3 Objective 2 should in addition acknowledge that biodiversity and nature resilience can best be supported through improving green infrastructure and the connectivity of ecological networks across County boundaries as well as within Powys itself.
Objective 16 should include extending the benefits of the MidWales Growth Deal beyond those parts of the County which already have well-established tourist infrastructure, such as the Elan Valley. This would both expand Powys’ range of attractions for visitors, and hence better distribute the income derived from tourism, and also mitigate the excess impacts of ‘honeypot’ status whereby known attractions are degraded through an overwhelming concentration of visitors.
Objective 17 should in addition include the restoration of tourism-related assets, since many of the public rights of way and open spaces are currently in a degraded condition and in many cases inadequately signed or provided with visitor facilities such as parking and toilets.
Objective 20 should include a requirement to have regard to need to maintain landscapes and the importance of quiet spaces when improving digital communications.
Objective 21 should include a proviso that renewable energy generation be promoted insofar as it is compatible with protecting and enhancing landscape, biodiversity and the interests of local communities.