Wales has a map showing its most precious landscapes: LANDMAP. The Welsh Government asked for LANDMAP, to help it make development decisions. LANDMAP shows Nant y Moch to be in an “outstanding” landscape, of “international or national importance”. Strange then that WG’s TAN8 wind power planning guidance should designate Nant y Moch as an “SSA” – suitable for major development; it is the only outstanding area so designated. Stranger still that WG should refuse to reconsider its TAN8 guidance, despite repeated requests, and in the knowledge that, having thrown open the door to wind power in its SSAs, it can only spectate whilst a UK minister decides what is appropriate for Wales.
The Scottish government too is notably keen on wind power. However, it has recently conceded that there are Scottish landscapes which should be spared. Over a quarter of Scotland – mostly in the north and west – is mapped by Scottish Natural Heritage as “wild land”, and the Scottish Planning Policy and National Planning Framework will in future discourage development in those areas.
Let’s hope the Welsh Government has taken note.