Mynyddoedd Cambria - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty/Ardal o harddwch naturiol?

Posted by Eben Muse on 24/05/2022

As members of the Alliance for Welsh Designated Landscapes, BMC Cymru was recently invited to share a Senedd petition with members, calling for the Cambrian Mountains region in Mid-Wales to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Fel aelodau o Gynghrair Tirweddau Dynodedig Cymru, gwahoddwyd BMC Cymru yn ddiweddar i rannu deiseb Senedd Cymru ag aelodau, gan alw am ddynodi rhanbarth Mynyddoedd Cambria yn y Canolbarth yn Ardal o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol (AHNE).
(Scroliwch i lawr ar gyfer yr erthygl lawn yn y Gymraeg).
 
 
We thought the petition was an opportunity to discuss the merits, definition, and potential shortcomings of such a designation.
 
The Cambrian Mountains are a range of mountains that are generally held to stretch from Pumlumon to Radnor Forest. Known as Elenydd in Welsh, several important rivers flow through an area of wilderness referred to as ‘The Desert of Wales’ although not for any sparsity of life or beauty, but rather for its comparative lack of roads and accessibility. Grazing and human clearing has also cleared the area of native temperate rainforest. It was first recommended for designation as an AONB in the 40s, however progress on its status stalled in the 1970s and it has remained undesignated since then. It is the last major area from the Hobhouse and Dower reports in the 1940s in the UK now unrecognised by formal/national landscape protection. There are many lakes and reservoirs, some of which supply drinking water to towns in Ceredigion and the English West Midlands, and it was home to the last native red kites in the United Kingdom until their revival in the 80s.
The petition raises concerns over wind farms, tree-planting initiatives, and damage to rural communities, but it was pointed out by some BMC volunteers that green energy and the planting of trees are likely to be a key part of our journey to net-zero. The BMC has declared a climate emergency, and pledged to ensure that climate considerations are front and centre in all our on-going policies.

READ: The BMC Climate Emergency Declaration

So, what is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

An AONB is an area of countryside that has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. In 1956, the Gower Peninsula became the first area in the UK to be designated as such, protecting it, and other future AONB’s from development in a way similar to National Parks. Anglesey, the Clwydian Range (now proposed as a new National Park in Labour’s 2021 manifesto), Llŷn, the Wye Valley, all followed suit. The aim behind the creation of AONBs was to protect naturally beautiful landscapes that were considered to be unsuitable as national parks due to their small size and/or lack of wilderness. The main differences in real terms is that care of the AONB is entrusted to local authorities, organisations, and community groups, whereas National Parks require a special authority of their own. Planning processes are therefore the responsibility of the National Park Authority in National Parks, and local planning authorities in AONBs. Nation Parks are legally obliged to provide for public recreation opportunities whereas AONBs are not.

All English and Welsh AONBs have a minimum of one dedicated AONB officer, and one other staff member, and each has a management plan (reviewed every 5 years) which sets out how the landscape should be preserved and enhanced. Once hired, staff can apply for additional funding and promote the area

FIND OUT MORE: How AONBs function

The Welsh government have pledged to designate 30% of Welsh land for protection as part of their 30X30 targets (by 2030) however it’s clear from many other AONBs who have experienced issues from massive stadium development, to housing developments and infrastructure that designation is no silver bullet.

In a 2006 AONB 50th anniversary article looking at the broader picture of half a century of protection, Professor Adrian Phillips pointed out that it was rare for the aims of AONBs to be given precedence over more pressing needs such as local employment, housing, industrial and road development. Being designated also doesn’t mean that it will automatically become good for nature recovery – one of the best, the Cotswolds, currently only has 23% of the area as suitable habitat.

The BMC Policy team view on the future of AONBs

The UK Government have recently responded to Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review. They recognised the importance that AONBs and National Parks have held in our lives during Covid and set out plans to ‘create a new chapter for our protected landscapes, and how to do so’.

In response to the Government’s statement, the BMC welcomes the desire for AONBs to have a second purpose relating to connecting people and places but these areas should not be seen as being in competition with the National Parks and instead be backed by the resources and remit to champion and deliver this vision. AONBs should also have a clearer role in supporting and coordinating public access and outdoor recreation to deliver for nature, climate and people; they are often closer to urban areas and well placed to deliver good quality access as well as educational and recreational opportunities across their landscapes. 

Increased long-term core resources for AONBs are necessary to make up past funding shortfalls and to enable them to deliver at the scale needed. The proposal to make AONBs statutory consultees in the planning system would ensure AONBs are formally consulted on relevant planning cases and have a strengthened voice in the decision-making process. Government should provide them with sufficient resources to enable them to respond to planning issues that may have an impact on their landscape and statutory purposes.  A more holistic approach to planning in AONBs is needed, to reduce their vulnerability to speculative and unsustainable development.

What the Cambrian Mountains Society say:

The petition is supported by the Cambrian Mountains Society, and when asked about a number of the issues brought forward by BMC volunteers around green energy, they responded that it is true that the current Welsh Government policy is not to site wind farms on AONBs, however the Welsh Government’s future Wales Policy statement (an assessment of future wind farms through to 2040) did not include any in the Cambrian Mountains. Thus, AONB designation would not negatively affect the growth of wind energy in Wales in terms of the plans set out by Welsh Government. They pointed out that this policy may change in future, and designation would protect that status in future and add conviction to the commitment so far made.

They added that protection such as afforded by designation might actually be positive in terms of carbon sequestration. As BMC members will be aware, peatlands sequester huge amounts of carbon – large infrastructure investment such as pylons or underground cables to carry electricity on a large scale may require digging substantial amounts of peatlands up damaging these habitats.

In Conclusion

Designation alone is likely to mean relatively little unless it’s paired with positive engagement, support, and a coherent management plan. AONBs fall short of National Parks when it comes to recreation however it should be regarded as a step in the right direction in terms allowing greater protection from development, access, investment, and a greater profile for the area. Should the petition succeed, the BMC will engage with staff and volunteers to protect and encourage access to this beautiful and important area.

Petition: Sign Here

Thanks to the BMC Access Management Group volunteers for their contributions to this article. If you would enjoy more articles like this, on access and land, please get in touch with eben.muse@thebmc.co.uk to share your feedback.

 

Cymraeg:

Deiseb i ddynodi Mynyddoedd Cambria (Mynyddoedd Cambria) yn Ardal o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol (AHNE):

Fel aelodau o Gynghrair Tirweddau Dynodedig Cymru, gwahoddwyd BMC Cymru yn ddiweddar i rannu deiseb Senedd Cymru ag aelodau, gan alw am ddynodi rhanbarth Mynyddoedd Cambria yn y Canolbarth yn Ardal o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol (AHNE).

Gallwch ei lofnodi yma, hoffem ddefnyddio’r cyfle i drafod rhinweddau, diffiniad, a diffygion posib dynodiad o'r fath.

Mae Mynyddoedd Cambria yn ardal fynyddig a ddelir yn gyffredinol i ymestyn o Bumlumon i Goedwig Maesyfed. Gelwir yr ardal hefyd yn ‘Elenydd’ yn y Gymraeg, ac mae nifer o afonydd pwysig yn llifo trwy ardal anial y cyfeirir ati fel ‘Anialwch Cymru’ er nad oherwydd natur wasgaredig bywyd neu harddwch, ond yn hytrach oherwydd ei diffyg cymharol o ffyrdd a hygyrchedd. Mae pori a chlirio dynol hefyd wedi clirio'r ardal o goedwig law dymherus frodorol. Fe’i hargymhellwyd yn gyntaf i’w dynodi’n AHNE yn y 40au, fodd bynnag daeth y cynnydd ar ei statws i derfyn yn ystod y 1970au ac mae wedi parhau heb ei ddynodi ers hynny. Dyma'r ardal fawr olaf o adroddiadau Hobhouse and Dower yn y 1940au yn y DU nad yw bellach yn cael ei chydnabod gan amddiffyniad tirwedd ffurfiol/cenedlaethol. Mae yna lawer o lynnoedd a chronfeydd dŵr, rhai ohonynt yn cyflenwi dŵr yfed i drefi yng Ngheredigion a Gorllewin Canolbarth Lloegr, a bu’n gartref i farcutiaid coch brodorol olaf y Deyrnas Unedig tan eu hadfywiad yn yr 80au.

Codai’r ddeiseb bryderon ynghylch ffermydd gwynt, mentrau plannu coed, a difrod i gymunedau gwledig, ond nododd rhai o wirfoddolwyr BMC fod ynni gwyrdd a phlannu coed yn debygol o fod yn rhan allweddol o’n taith i sero net (carbon) , ac mae'r BMC wedi datgan argyfwng hinsawdd, gan addo sicrhau fod yr hinsawdd yn ganolog i'n holl bolisïau parhaus.

Felly, beth yw Ardal o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol?

Ardal o gefn gwlad sydd wedi ei dynodi ar gyfer cadwraeth oherwydd ei gwerth tirwedd sylweddol yw AHNE. Ym 1956, cafodd Penrhyn Gŵyr ei dynodi fel yr AHNE gyntaf yn y DU, gan ei amddiffyn hi, ac AHNE eraill yn y dyfodol rhag datblygiad mewn ffordd debyg i Barciau Cenedlaethol. Daeth Ynys Môn, Bryniau Clwyd (a gynigir bellach fel Parc Cenedlaethol newydd ym maniffesto Llafur 2021), Llŷn, Dyffryn Gwy, i gyd i ennill yr un statws. Y nod y tu ôl i greu AHNE oedd gwarchod tirweddau naturiol hardd a oedd yn cael eu hystyried yn anaddas i’w troi yn barciau cenedlaethol oherwydd eu maint a/neu ddiffyg anialwch. Y prif wahaniaethau mewn termau real yw bod awdurdodau lleol, sefydliadau a grwpiau cymunedol yn gofalu am yr AHNE, tra bod angen awdurdod arbennig eu hunain ar Barciau Cenedlaethol. Mae prosesau cynllunio felly yn gyfrifoldeb yr Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol mewn Parciau Cenedlaethol, ac awdurdodau cynllunio lleol mewn AHNE. Mae rhwymedigaeth gyfreithiol ar Barciau Cenedl i ddarparu ar gyfer cyfleoedd hamdden cyhoeddus ond nid yw hynny’n wir gydag AHNE.

Mae gan bob AHNE yng Nghymru a Lloegr o leiaf un swyddog AHNE penodedig, ac un aelod arall o staff, ac mae gan bob un gynllun rheoli (a adolygir bob 5 mlynedd) sy'n nodi sut y dylid cadw a gwella'r dirwedd. Ceir rhagor o wybodaeth am AHNE a sut maent yn gweithredu yma. Unwaith y byddant wedi'u cyflogi, gall staff wneud cais am arian ychwanegol a hyrwyddo'r ardal.

Mae llywodraeth Cymru wedi addo dynodi 30% o dir Cymru i’w warchod fel rhan o’u targedau 30X30 (erbyn 2030) ond mae’n amlwg fod problemau yn dal i boeni llawer o AHNE eraill sydd wedi profi problemau gan gynnwys bygythiad datblygiad stadiwm anferth, a ddatblygiadau tai. Nid yw dynodiad AHNE yn fwled arian.

Mewn erthygl 50 mlwyddiant AHNE yn 2006 yn edrych ar y darlun ehangach o hanner canrif o warchodaeth, tynnodd yr Athro Adrian Phillips sylw at y ffaith mai anaml y byddai nodau AHNE yn cael blaenoriaeth dros anghenion mwy dybryd megis cyflogaeth leol, tai, diwydiant a datblygu ffyrdd. Nid yw cael ei ddynodi ychwaith yn golygu y bydd yn dod yn dda ar gyfer adferiad byd natur yn awtomatig – ar hyn o bryd dim ond 23% o’r arwynebedd sydd gan un o’r goreuon, y Cotswolds, fel cynefin addas.

Barn tîm Polisi BMC ar ddyfodol AHNE

Mae’r Llywodraeth wedi ymateb yn ddiweddar i Adolygiad Tirweddau Julian Glover. Ynddi, maent yn cydnabod pwysigrwydd AHNE a Pharciau Cenedlaethol yn ein bywydau yn ystod Covid ac yn nodi cynlluniau i ‘greu pennod newydd ar gyfer ein tirweddau gwarchodedig, a sut i wneud hynny’.

Mewn ymateb i ddatganiad y Llywodraeth, mae’r BMC yn croesawu’r awydd i AHNE gael ail bwrpas yn ymwneud â chysylltu pobl a lleoedd ond ni ddylai’r ardaloedd hyn gael eu gweld fel rhai sy’n cystadlu â’r Parciau Cenedlaethol ac yn hytrach gael eu cefnogi gan yr adnoddau a’r cylch gorchwyl i hyrwyddo a chyflawni’r weledigaeth hon. Dylai fod gan AHNE hefyd rôl gliriach wrth gefnogi a chydlynu mynediad cyhoeddus a hamdden awyr agored i gyflawni ar gyfer natur, hinsawdd a phobl; maent yn aml yn agosach at ardaloedd trefol ac mewn sefyllfa dda i ddarparu mynediad o ansawdd da yn ogystal â chyfleoedd addysgol a hamdden ar draws eu tirweddau.

Mae angen mwy o adnoddau craidd hirdymor ar gyfer AHNE i wneud iawn am ddiffygion cyllid yn y gorffennol ac i’w galluogi i gyflawni ar y raddfa sydd ei hangen. Byddai'r cynnig i wneud AHNE yn ymgyngoreion statudol yn y system gynllunio yn sicrhau yr ymgynghorir yn ffurfiol ag AHNE ar achosion cynllunio perthnasol a bod ganddynt lais cryfach yn y broses gwneud penderfyniadau. Dylai’r Llywodraeth roi digon o adnoddau iddynt i’w galluogi i ymateb i faterion cynllunio a allai gael effaith ar eu tirwedd a’u dibenion statudol. Mae angen dull mwy cyfannol o gynllunio mewn AHNE, er mwyn eu gwneud yn llai agored i ddatblygiadau hapfasnachol ac anghynaliadwy.

Beth mae Cymdeithas Mynyddoedd Cambria yn ei ddweud:

Cefnogir y ddeiseb gan Gymdeithas Mynyddoedd Cambria, a phan ofynnwyd iddynt am nifer o’r materion a gyflwynwyd gan wirfoddolwyr BMC ynghylch ynni gwyrdd, ymatebasant nad polisi presennol Llywodraeth Cymru yw lleoli ffermydd gwynt ar AHNE, fodd bynnag. Nid oedd datganiad Polisi Cymru’r Dyfodol Llywodraeth Cymru (gan gynnwys asesiad o ffermydd gwynt y dyfodol hyd at 2040) yn cynnwys unrhyw rai ym Mynyddoedd Cambria. Felly, ni fyddai dynodiad AHNE yn achosi effaith negyddol ar dwf ynni gwynt yng Nghymru o ran y cynlluniau a osodwyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru. Nodwyd y gallai'r polisi hwn newid yn y dyfodol, ac y byddai'r dynodiad yn diogelu'r statws hwnnw yn y dyfodol ac yn ychwanegu argyhoeddiad at yr ymrwymiad a wnaed hyd yma.

Ychwanegwyd y gallai amddiffyniad megis y dynodiad fod yn gadarnhaol mewn gwirionedd o ran dal a storio carbon. Fel y bydd aelodau BMC yn ymwybodol, mae mawndiroedd yn atafaelu llawer iawn o garbon – byddai angen tyllu llawer iawn o fawndiroedd er mwyn buddsoddi mewn seilwaith mawr fel peilonau neu geblau tanddaearol i gludo trydan ar raddfa fawr, gan wneud difrod i’r cynefinoedd hyn.

Casgliad

Mae dynodiad yn unig yn debygol o gael effaith fychan oni bai ei fod wedi’i baru ag ymgysylltiad cadarnhaol, cefnogaeth, a chynllun rheoli cydlynol. Mae AHNE yn waeth na Pharciau Cenedlaethol o ran hawliau hamdden a mynediad, fodd bynnag dylid ei ystyried yn gam i'r cyfeiriad cywir o ran caniatáu mwy o amddiffyniad rhag datblygiad, mynediad, buddsoddiad, a mwy o broffil i'r ardal. Pe bai'r ddeiseb yn llwyddo, bydd y BMC yn ymgysylltu â staff a gwirfoddolwyr i ddiogelu ac annog mynediad i'r ardal hardd a phwysig hon.

Deiseb: Llofnodwch yma

Diolch i wirfoddolwyr Grŵp Rheoli Mynediad BMC am eu cyfraniadau i'r erthygl hon. Os hoffech chi fwynhau mwy o erthyglau fel hyn, ar fynediad a thir, cysylltwch ag eben.muse@thebmc.co.uk i rannu eich adborth.

 


Listen now 🎧

Wild Horizons is our new BMC hillwalking podcast, hosted by Niall Grimes. With a new guests each week, we discuss the honey pots and the secret spots of Britain's wild places and uplands.

Listen and subscribe on your favourite podcast apps:

 
    

« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 3295 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

BMC agrees new Environmental & Sustainability Policy
0
BMC agrees new Environmental & Sustainability Policy

Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, habitat loss and the surge in popularity of outdoor activities; these are just some of the reasons the BMC Board of Directors recently agreed a new Environmental & Sustainability Policy for the organisation.
Read more »

BMC launches Crag and Upland Restoration Fund: invitation for applications
0
BMC launches Crag and Upland Restoration Fund: invitation for applications

The BMC has set up a new £10,000 per year fund to support volunteer led environmental initiatives and work days to improve crags and upland areas across England and Wales.
Read more »

Tell us what you think is the future of our National Parks
0
Tell us what you think is the future of our National Parks

The BMC would like to know what you think about some of the key proposals that government have put forward to help protect and improve our English National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs) for future generations.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

BMC agrees new Environmental & Sustainability Policy
0

Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, habitat loss and the surge in popularity of outdoor activities; these are just some of the reasons the BMC Board of Directors recently agreed a new Environmental & Sustainability Policy for the organisation.
Read more »

BMC launches Crag and Upland Restoration Fund: invitation for applications
0

The BMC has set up a new £10,000 per year fund to support volunteer led environmental initiatives and work days to improve crags and upland areas across England and Wales.
Read more »

Tell us what you think is the future of our National Parks
0

The BMC would like to know what you think about some of the key proposals that government have put forward to help protect and improve our English National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs) for future generations.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »