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CPRW Welcomes the Eisteddfod but warns of threats to the Welsh Countryside

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Members of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) are delighted that the National Eisteddfod is being held in the beautiful Conwy valley town of Llanrwst, with its iconic stone bridge and buildings. We congratulate all involved in finding a new site here after the exceptional flooding earlier this year.

The Eisteddfod is an essential expression of the perpetual survival of the language and culture of our land (“Gwlad”). CPRW has been working for over 90 years to ensure the survival of the physical Welsh countryside and environment. Climate change is the most potent threat to our environment which humans have ever identified. Its impacts - including the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events like the floods in LLanrwst - affect us all.

Unfortunately climate change is part of interlinked threats to our country which include losses of irreplaceable landscape and wildlife. CPRW will be supporting an event at the Eisteddfod on 8 August called ‘The Time Is Now’ when we will join other voluntary bodies and individuals in lobbying our elected representatives to make sure the environment really is at the top of the agenda in Wales.

It is only right that Wales which has experienced and overcome huge environmental challenges in the past,  notably the pollution stemming from 300 years of industrialisation, should now step up to the plate in addressing the causes and impacts of climate change in our own land and beyond.

There have been positive signs recently in Wales. In April the Assembly Government declared a Climate Emergency responding to a wave of public concern focused on the urgency of reducing carbon emissions. In June came the groundbreaking decision to abandon the damaging M4 bypass on environment as much as cost grounds. The Government was responding to 25 years of opposition from CALM , the umbrella body against the bypass which also included CPRW. The First Minister cited the “permanent, adverse impact on the historic landscape of the Gwent Levels”. We believe the Government has now set a major new precedent be establishing that the environment really does matter when major decisions are made about our future. We have to build on it to secure the protection of landscape and nature throughout Wales.

There is still so much to do. CPRW supports greener energy but this must not be at any price. Our finest landscapes are priceless. We need to channel investment into low carbon energy from tidal and offshore sources, and from solar panels in our buildings, especially new development and on brownfield sites.  We expect our Government to fund existing Welsh National Parks properly including Snowdonia which is currently  threatened with cuts. We will press Ministers to create new protected areas, including the Gwent Levels.

CPRW will support the Government in identifying a future for Welsh farmers which encourages them to be guardians of our landscape and environment as well as producers of high quality food. We all have a duty under the 2015 Act to make sure our land and landscapes are there for future generations, and that our green spaces are not swallowed up by developers to increase their profits while neglecting our underused resources of urban land.

Protecting the language, culture and environment of Wales are part of a common challenge. Meeting it demands urgency and a united front. Cymru am byth!

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