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We have objected to an application from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to retain a four-mile fence across open country in the heart of the national park.
The fence was erected on common land as an emergency measure during the foot-and-mouth epidemic of 2001 and it should have been removed by 2006. When the Ramblers complained about it to the then environment minister Sue Essex in 2002, she said: ‘The firm intention is that the fences are to remain only for as long as they are required and definitely no longer than five years’.
In 2005 the park authority applied to the environment minister for retrospective consent for works on common land, under section 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925. The minister refused this in 2008. The authority has failed to remove the fence and has instead reapplied to the Welsh Government.
The fence runs from just south of Beacons Reservoir, at the junction of the A470 and A4059, south west for four miles to the northern end of the Hepste valley.
We are dismayed that the national park authority persists in trying to get consent for this ugly, unlawful fence. It has remained in place for 11 years, for many of them unlawfully. It’s an eyesore in this magnificent landscape and an impediment to public access.
Nothing has changed since the Welsh minister refused consent in 2008, on grounds which included the fact that the fence is a barrier to public access.
The national park authority argues that the fence is necessary to manage the land. We say that alternative solutions should be found which are in keeping with the wonderful landscape and valuable public access of the area.