AN ambitious petition has been launched calling for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to be established in mid Wales in a bid to ward off plans for pylons running through the county.

The idea has been hatched in the wake of controversial plans to construct a 60-mile network of electricity pylons and wind turbines through the heart of Powys.

Green GEN Cymru is planning the pylons stretching from the Radnor Forest, through mid-west Powys to Carmarthen.

The GEN Towy Usk project has been opposed by angry locals, who packed public meetings and exhibitions held in Builth Wells and Penybont last month, and a group has now made a bid to officially protect the region by turning it into an AONB – something that has long been a consideration.


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    ‘RE-Think: Don't Break the Heart of Wales’ Facebook group member James Stewart-Brown has launched a petition, which has been signed by more than 1,000 people since it was launched a week ago."

    “Mid Wales badly needs an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to protect the landscape and environment from pylons and too many ill-considered wind farms marching across it,” said Mr Stewart-Brown.

    “I propose that the Mid Wales AONB should include the Upper Wye Valley and the water catchment areas for at least the rivers Irfon, Ithon and Elan and its formation should be something supported by everyone who cares for the landscape and environment of Mid Wales.”

    One signatory, Martin Corbett wrote: “"Wales has some of the most beautiful untouched countryside and mountains. A fantastic industrial heritage that needs preserving.”

    Ronald Adrian Bates added: “The area concerned needs protecting from money-driven corporations who have no interest in the special nature of the environment they plan to despoil with pylons.”

    County Times: Residents at a meeting to discuss the pylon plans.Residents at a meeting to discuss the pylon plans. (Image: Matt Jones)

    Anna Trotman said: “This area has long been overlooked, probably because it's never been pushed for tourism. It's a beautiful, diverse area of landscape and deserves recognition.”

    Builth resident Lisa Hughes wrote: “100 per cent this absolute gem needs to be protected.

    “The conglomerates (and others closer to home) see this stunning area as a backwater to be pillaged, but we, the folk who have lived here for generations, treasure it. It's better than some existing AONBs.”

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    However, the bid is unlikely to come to fruition at least over the next three years while the current Welsh Senedd remains in situ, until 2026.

    Wales currently has five AONBs: the Gower AONB which spans 73 square miles of the Gower peninsula; the Llyn AONB, covering around a quarter of the Llyn Peninsula; the Anglesey AONB covers most of Anglesey's 125-mile coastline; the Wye Valley AONB straddles the border between England and Wales, with the Welsh section wholly within Monmouthshire; and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, which is the largest AONB in Wales, located in the country's north-east, in Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.

    A petition calling for the Cambrian Mountains to be protected as an AONB, sparked by the Cambrian Mountains Society (CMS), collected more than 20,000 signatures last year, leading to a debate in the Senedd on the future of the landscape, in November.

    CMS members spoke of a constructive meeting after the Senedd debate with rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths’ team, as well as with Natural Resources Wales, but no designation for the Cambrian Mountains or Mid Wales AONB look likely for at least another three years.

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