UPDATE Jan 4th 2005

A U turn has happened , and as predicted the BBNPA have given in to the minister and WAG.

On the 17th of December the members decided to take the easier option of handing the issue back to local communi ties, thus allowing UDP public inquiry process to determine final outcome . Some think that in affect it doesn't really matter what the inspector says as Carwyn Jones could overule him.

NPR asks:

What does WAG want with the reserves if they say they have no intentions of using them ?

Is it to be used as collateral ? "Monopoly" as Kirsty Williams AM says

Where does the diktat come from ? WAG , Westminster or Brussels ?



Letter to Western Mail Editor
Tuesday, 28 Dec 28 2004

"United front needed"

SIR - After the lofty words we had from the executive of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority about fighting the order of the so-called Minister for the Environment, Caerwyn Jones, to reserve hundreds of acres of the Usk Valley for possible mineral extraction, it was a shock to learn about the BBNPA's surrender. The justification given is reminiscent of discredited "We're only carrying out our orders" excuse. There can be no legal justification that can inflict an economic blight on a community on the mere suspicion that mineral reserves might lie beneath it. The NPA knows this well, but rather than use its resources and clout to fight Mr Jones's dubious diktat, it is now relying on calling upon local communities to fight this battle. No doubt they will, but how much better it would be if a united front was presented. If the committee of the National Park has ratified this decision, it will be an abrogation of its responsibilities as the appointed guardians of our precious environment, a neglect of duty that may well be legally actionable. Bridgend, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire councils have refused to bow to the knee of Mr Jones on this matter and none of these councils have National Park areas as their responsibility. They have also spent much time and effort in producing their Unitary Development plans.

Seamus Hamill-Keays,

Llansanttfraed, Brecon,






November 2004

The Brecon Beacons National Park urgently need your support on this issue.

The Assembly Government are shamelessly using coersion to make the Brecon Beacons National Park comply with their wishes to ear-mark the gravel reserves of the Usk valley. The minister threatens to hold up the BBNPA's Unitary Developemnt Plan up to ransom if the authority does not give in. The gravel reserves are equal in area to a town the size of Brecon. Quite obviously the extraction would deface the park and it would be in breach of their primary statutory purpose which is to preserve the natural beauty of the park. We support the BBNPA 100% on this issue and in all their efforts to fight this outrage.



Carwyn Jones

Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside

National Assembly for Wales






It is perhaps worth considering if the BBNPA's defense is not a little empty. The CEO made another announcement where he makes an issue out of affordable housing policies being under threat if they go against the minister's wishes. If the UDP is scraped, then there is no reason why supplementary planning guidance can not be adopted for affordable housing . On the otherhand why is it not there already ? Reading between the lines it looks like the authority is planning a face saving exercise before they give in. Then the issue gets lost and will no doubt turn into yet another bargaining chip for something else. In reality how robust are the Parks and who do the executives think their daddy is ?