On January 24, 2016, in Uncategorized, by vic

From TJ’s ‘What Nature Does for Britain’: -
” … falsehood at the heart of the political debate, where we continue to be presented with an apparent choice between looking after nature on the one hand or growing our economy on the other”
Ignoring nature and the environment would be shooting ourselves in the foot (or worse). We must lobby Welsh Assembly election candidates, tell them conservation of the environment is not a luxury, it is essential. CPRW is doing so. To mention three costly reasons amongst dozens, that adversely affect the economy – FLOODING, POLLINATORS, AIR POLLUTION

#GivingTuesday – can you support CPRW?

On November 30, 2015, in Uncategorized, by vic




There are many wonderful landscapes in Wales,

but threats to the countryside and rural life keep appearing

                                                                                                                                                                              Copyright Visit Wales

CPRW is the only independent charity working to protect rural Wales, as it has been for over 80 years. But it needs help, so we are taking part in #GivingTuesday (Dec 1st). This is a global day to remember a charity for Christmas, and we hope you will support CPRW. Please use the day (or shortly after) to join us, or support the work we do through a donation.

You can read about CPRW and donate on our website (above), or you can text us a small donation from your mobile phone via JustGiving – text 70070 and write CPRW28 £5 (or whatever amount you wish). The donation is added to your phone bill. And / or, donate whilst you buy online – see the ‘Support Us’ section of the CPRW website.

Also an opportunity – if you are connected with a business, we are seeking sponsors for an edition of our glossy magazine ‘Rural Wales – get a message to our 1500 readers all over Wales

To give you a few examples of successful CPRW campaigns over the years: -

  • 2015 – Mid-Wales Wind Farms Inquiry – Energy minister Andrea Leadsom refused planning permission for four major onshore wind farms. CPRW was a major player in the campaign.

  • 2004 – New bridge over the River Monnow opens. CPRW Monmouthshire (John Edwards) was instrumental in re-siting it away from the great medieval gated bridge

  • 1995 – Usk Barrage – CPRW was a leading objector, the proposal was refused.

  • 1984 – Saltmarshes at Pembry saved from development by CPRW Pembrokeshire branch

  • 1976 – A55 crossing of River Dee planned as a bridge, but changed to a tunnel, so the  estuary beauty and castle view were saved by CPRW Conwy branch, led by Lady White

But the list above is a small part of the daily efforts of our campaigning. For example, Newport & Valleys branch, with a small committee, dealt with 14 proposals in the first 9 months of this year; whilst our professional Director debates & lobbies on national policy in the Assembly, Cardiff Bay.

If you also care about Wales, please join or donate to CPRW – and If you’re not local, then #GivingTuesday is a great reminder to come and visit our wonderful Wales! 




On November 29, 2013, in Uncategorized, by vic

Yet another try to desecrate the Gwent Levels with an unnecessary motorway. The Gwent Levels is a large coastal area adjoining the Severn estuary, similar in many ways to the Somerset Levels on the other side, but unique in Wales and with substantial heritage value – archeology goimg back to the Bronze age (footprints of their children fishing) and further, history from the Roman period, valuable ecology, and in CPRW terms a precious landscape. that has so far escaped concrete and tarmac. But for about the fifth time in the last 15 years there is a proposal to duplicate the M4 from Magor to Castleton (east Cardiff). Why? two main reasons – for some weekday peak traffic periods it is congested. Wow! Just like every other major traffic artery in the UK, then. And secondly, the resilience of the road network in SE Wales – if there is an accident that blocks the M4, there is no easy diversion. This could be solved without a new M4. Of course there is also an unspoken third reason – it would open up more development land, creating a vast urban sprawl from Chepstow to Cardiff.
CALM (Campaign Against the Levels Motorway) is a group of all the main local and national conservation groups, and local community interests, established some 12 years ago, has once again been mobilised to fight the proposal, and asks everyone to object during the current consultation period – ending on 16th December. Why should you do so? Here is a list of solid reasons: -
.• No business case has been made. Can £1.2bn really be spent on a political whim? Wales would be no better than a third world dictatorship
• Capacity & congestion – no certainty that the proposed new road will help – Cardiff will be more congested with more traffic on A48(M) and other major routes in peak periods.
• Current traffic flows on the M4 are not overwhelming, traffic levels are the same as 2003. Congestion can be managed by initiatives such as 50mph control and managing junctions better
• Rail electrification will encourage a modal shift from road to rail
• Resilience – a much improved A48 route would provide this in emergency (Prof Cole has submitted a scheme at about a third of the cost)
• Newport – the new route would be a Newport Bypass, not assisting Newport trade and business
• What is needed is a S Wales metro system, not a new M4, and this is the subject of a WG investigation

Then there are all the environmental points: -

  • New roads, and this new road across the Gwent Levels in particular, conflict directly with the Wales sustainability policy
  • The road will directly and indirectly affect several SSSIs and be a barrier to movement of species
  • New roads attract traffic, it will not reduce CO2, quite the reverse
  • The total area of loss of open countryside will be much greater than the figures given, without allowing for the ‘collateral damage’ of adjacent greenfield development opened up by the new road
  • Wales has failed to achieve biodiversity targets, this new road will make a bad situation worse in SE Wales
  • The landscape of the unique Levels will never be the same, WG will have destroyed another part of Wales heritage
  • The effects of changed drainage, air pollution and noise are unquantified, but there is likely to be unforeseen damage
  • Adjacent communities and residents will suffer various disbenefits, including likely decreased property values

Iolo Williams passionately supported CALM at a packed meeting recently, and a new name for the folly was coined – the Edwina Hart White Elephant, because if it is built, with car use plateauing, internet use increasing, rail electrification and a S Wales Metro, it will soon be obvious that there was no need in traffic terms. But the White Elephant will have trampled all over the Gwent Levels. What a legacy she will leave.

PLEASE OBJECT – see and the CALM website

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On October 5, 2013, in Uncategorized, by vic

Just been to a fine art Masterclass by leading Welsh artist Jantien Powell, during our CPRW-sponsored ‘Country Views’ art exhibition in Newport. Two hours passed in what seemed like ten minutes, a little beauty of a painting was created in front of our eyes, with each brush stroke, each colour mix, explained. This was craftsmanship (…womanship?) at its best, it was pure magic to see the picture appear, every few minutes it got better and better, almost like when we were kids, painting those magic picture books with water!  I was distracted by a visitor to the the exhibition at one point, and when I looked again a second character had appeared in the painting.

Jantien stood all the time, moving back from the easel to look, then forward to add another part of the picture she could already see in her mind. She explained her technique, colour and application (many methods to apply the acryllic, mostly brushes, but including fingers and hyperdermic needle)

Somehow I don’t think the creation of Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ would have been quite so impressive. Concept art does not require any craftsmanship as far as I can see – perhaps I should try it – ‘My Desk’ comes to mind. I could do that, but Jantien’s skills are far beyond me.

Jantien’s masterpiece created this week is part of an exhibition she is preparing for next year to record the Abergavenny Livestock Market, which is about to close – just another abysmal local authority planning decision, deplored by many local people, but apparently desperately needed by a developer. She has produced a number of  views of the Market in operation, the animals that pass through and some of the country characters who bring them – at least the spirit of the market will be captured for posterity.

What a loss to Abergavenny is closing the Market, but it has generated Jantien’s exhibition, and those of us who were priviliged to see the creation of great little picture will not forget it.

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Don’t miss our 3rd annual Landscape Art Exhibition at the Barnabas Arts House, Newport, opening on Tues 24th Sept -


Artists exhibiting include

  • Jamie Routley – selected for BP Exhibition in London, his works are now expensive!
  • David Bellamy – a favoutite Welsh artist for many years
  • Jantien Powell – very busy with art classes as well as her gallery near Raglan
  • Alex Arnell – Welsh Artist of the Year Award 2010
  • Philip Muirden – superb sea subjects, from West Wales
  • Winnie Kwong Kuen-Shan – fascinating oriental take on Wales
  • Mark Williams,- painter, illustrator, cartoonist – great fun
  • Maggie Davies – ‘richly textured paintings’
  • Janet Walters
  • Glen Carney
  • Sheila Williams
  • Andrrew Worsfoid

Call 01495 755557 for Preview invitation, Masterclass booking, or other info


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CPRW’s art exhibition in the Barnabas Arts House in Newport was opened at a private viewing on Sunday. The exhibition, with 60 exhibits from 7 artists, is a marvellous mixture of styles, all of them terrific, and everyone I spoke to was very complimentary. I was knocked out by the whole thing, we had been worried that it would flop, but so far it has totally exceeded my expectations. There was a good crowd of art enthusiasts at the opening, and most of the artists exhibiting also attended. The gallery is exceptional, a superb venue for an exhibition, and the owner, Janet Martin, had organised it perfectly. There were several sales by the end of the day.

The Barnabas Arts House is more than just a gallery, it also houses studios for artists and crafts, runs courses and art-related activities, and much more – a real community arts centre. So impressive.


The Barnabas Arts House is in New Ruperra St, Pillgwentlly, Newport NP20 2BB (near George St Bridge and the new large ASDA) For more information or directions, call the Barnabas Arts House on 01633-673739 / 264581

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On-farm Creativity

On August 19, 2011, in Uncategorized, by vic

Our hill farm has terrific views, on a day of good visibility we can see for 30 miles over the Severn towards the Mendips Hills, and if we walk a few steps away from our farmhouse we can catch a glimpse of the Malvern tops. It is marvellous, and we know we are lucky to have landed up here. (Mind, when we are cut off from civilisation in winter blizzards, bucketing water to animals, it is difficult to remember that!)  But last week, on a 90% good day, a pig keeper friend who is also a remarkable artist, visited us with two objects – one pig-related, the other to capture a scene on the farm. In not much over a couple of hours she had a landscape painting and a piggy sketch, both to be worked on further, but both of marvellous quality already. I so admire such skill. And as Jantien is one of the artists contributing to the CPRW–sponsored exhibition in Newport at the end of September, I am looking forward tremendously to the collection of some 60 works of landscape art, all of high quality by professional Welsh artists. Do visit if you can – see details on previous post below, and visit Jantien’s website   We felt privileged to glimpse the creative process, thanks Jantien                                 

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Environmentalists in Torfaen are pleased and relieved that the Council meeting on 21/7 voted against development on a de facto green belt north of Cwmbran with 1200 houses. Well done to the majority of Councillors who agreed with us, and almost all the local residents, that it is just not necessary (forecasts are that the Torfaen population will decline) or sustainable. This is six years after a similar packed council meeting voted narrowly in favour, and we thought we had lost the battle. Never give up! It is indeed heart-warming that many of our elected representatives in Torfaen are sensitive to the wishes of local residents, and recognise an unsustainable and inappropriate proposal when they see it. No doubt there will be an appeal though, this is not the end of the story.

And many thanks to Torfaen Friends of the Earth, and Corrinne in particular, for presenting my contribution to the Council meeting when I was tied up at the Royal Welsh Show. CPRW and FoE are working together very well on most environmental issues.

In my view the whole planning process needs review - much of the strategic planning, which allocates areas for development, is carried through with minimum consultation, so that residents do not realise what has been decided for their area until the developer applies for planning permission, when the planners response is ‘you should have objected five years ago, it’s too late now’. More democracy, community consultation, regard to sustainability, please.

And if you live in Torfaen, you have very little time to do anything about the draft Local Development Plan – we are currently in a 6-week consultation period on ‘Alternative Sites’ proposed during the recent (now closed) consultation on the whole draft LDP. I have had one concerned resident contact me on a proposal for a large housing development at Tranch. This particular consultation ends on 10th august – contact TCBC if you want to know if there are any development proposals near you (01633-647328)


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CPRW Council Meeting 2/7/2011

On July 30, 2011, in Uncategorized, by vic

Council meeting (am). Good attendance and debate, the main points I noted were: - 

  • Membership fees to increase   
  • Pleas from Director & NEC for Branches to assist with central funding   
  • Concern from the floor over membership level and records         
  • Welcome for WAG reaction to campaign against mid-Wales wind turbine expansion and grid  connection infrastructure – 2000 people in meetings at Welshpool, and lobbying at Cardiff.
  • CPRW has called for a review of TAN 8     
  • CPRW is linking with CNP and SUSTRANS to highlight rural transport problems    
  • WAG’s'Living Wales’ agenda includes merger of CCW / Env Agency Wales / Forestry Commission Wales      
  • Clwydian Range AONB proposal – farmers unions oppose, will slow down process. No news on the Cambrian Mts AONB proposal   

Annual General Meeting (pm)                                                                                           

  • Chairman Jean Rosenfeld reported that CPRW was now recognised as the major think tank on Welsh landscape issues, and also a huge influence on rural and environmental affairs, thanks to the Director. We need to keep up the momentum in difficult times, but also work for sustainability                                                                                                                            
  • Finance – year past was satisfactory, but there are concerns for the future.                       
  • Elections – Jean re-elected Chairman for a further three years, but he emphasised that he could not extend that. Two members elected to Council (I think, my notes are vague). Pleas for more members on NEC (6 vacant seats)
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Landscape Art Exhibition

On July 9, 2011, in Uncategorized, by vic

CPRW is sponsoring an exhibition of paintings of our wonderful countryside by local professional artists, in September in Newport. Do visit and support the exhibition, the artists, and the Barnabas Art House, and compare and enjoy the skilled interpretations of our Welsh landscapes

‘Wonderful Wales’

Welsh Art Exhibition

At the Barnabas Art House, Pill, Newport

With the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

Bringing the Welsh countryside to the inner city

Sat 24th September, and Mon 26th September to Sat 1st October 2011

Gallery opening hours 10 am to 4 pm (Café 11 am to 3 pm)
All paintings exhibited are for sale and are traditional landscape paintings

The Barnabas Art House, New Ruperra Street, Newport NP20 2BB
Tel: 01633 673 739 or 01633 264 581
Contact for further information:
Janet Martin at the gallery or Simon Brook (CPRW) 01633 400 988

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