'What a flippin’ liberty', rewilding group told
A conservationists organisation that wants to let a huge swathe of Mid-Wales go back to nature have been told they are taking a “flippin’ liberty” in their back-to-nature approach.
At Powys County Council meeting’s, Plaid Cymru group leader Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, put forward a notice of motion, asking the council to oppose Rewilding Britain’s Summit to Sea project.
This is a £3.4 million initiative that “aims to restore flourishing ecosystems and a resilient local economy”.
The plan is to transform a large swathe of Wales from the Pumlumon massif down through wooded valleys to the Dyfi Estuary and out into Cardigan Bay.
Councillor Vaughan said: “As someone with his family having carved their livelihood for generations from the slopes of Pumlumon, we are used to oppression from a far away force, indeed the pattern has been thus since the days of the Romans mining for lead in the area. And the latest in this long list is ‘Rewilding Britain.’
“Rewilding Britain’ has grown from a book named ‘Feral’ by George Monbiot.
“A book that will no doubt give many people here a heart-attack from reading it. The truth is, that this is privileged middle-class romanticism and nothing more than that.”
“There is a need to stop kicking local farmers, this farming is different, it is more natural and seasonal – it does no good to the argument in favour of the environment by lambasting those who are the backbone of so many of our communities.”
Councillor Vaughan added that if this action were happening in Africa or South America, “every socialist or PC (politically correct) person” would be taking to social media to condemn it.
Adult services portfolio holder Councillor Myfanwy Alexander, (Independent – Banwy) said that she had been to a public meeting at Talybont between Machynlleth and Aberystwyth to listen to the project being explained.
Councillor Alexander, said: “The expression that came to my mind is, what a flippin’ liberty!
“Because these people have decided to re-categorise land they don’t even own.
“The only think I can liken it to, is: you invite people to dinner and they put your house on the market.”
Councillor Diane Jones-Poston (Conservative – Llanbrynmair) added that she would be supporting the motion as many people in her ward had also expressed their concerns over the project.
“I urge everyone to support this call as it’s vital we protect our communities,” said Councillor Jones-Poston.
The motion was passed by 41 votes for, four against and one abstention.
Rewilding Britain hopes that in five years’ time enough land holdings will choose to get involved to make a total area of at least 10,000 hectares of land and 28,400 hectares of sea.