County Councillor Iain McIntosh, who has recently resigned from the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, has spoken out against the authority, accusing them of being politically motivated. 

Cllr McIntosh’s decision to resign was made after the national park’s name change to ‘Bannau Brycheiniog.’ In a letter of resignation sent to Catherine Mealing-Jones, the CEO of the authority, Cllr McIntosh said: “I was surprised to read the formal announcement as I had assumed the next stage would have been to conduct public, commercial, and stakeholder consultation exercises to gather the views of the people this authority represents, before making a final decision to rebrand and rename Brecon Beacons National Park, to Bannau Brycheiniog.” 

Cllr McIntosh told the Brecon & Radnor Express: "I’d like to make it clear that when the members took a vote about the name and rebranding, I thought this was to put it out to consultation. This has been explained in my resignation letter, but I’m being attacked by some political opponents who insist I voted to implement the new name and branding, which is not accurate at all."

Cllr McIntosh also said that the deputy chair of the Authority, Cllr Gareth Ratcliffe, told him on the morning of the announcement that there had been numerous consultations and that he thought the authority would have the Welsh name leading, followed by the English name.

Cllr McIntosh joined the authority around five years ago but left due to work commitments before re-joining last May.

Speaking about his time working with the national park authority, Cllr McIntosh said: “When I originally joined the national park authority, I felt too much time and public money was being spent trying to change the way they do things, sometimes to suit political agendas, rather than just getting on with doing what the authority is there for.

“I think it’s essential to have politically balanced representation in the authority’s membership. Currently, with 17 out of 18 members representing left wing parties and a small number of Independents, it isn’t possible to run the authority without political bias.”

Looking towards the future of the national park, Cllr McIntosh believes that all UK national parks should work together and use the same policies. 

He said: “I think all Welsh, and if possible, all UK National Parks should work together towards a common goal, using the same policies and practices wherever possible. Even now, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority are still spending public money on officers who are chasing ideologies and agendas differently to other National Parks, and as we read in the National Press recently, there are disturbing links to controversial left wing and separatist views running through some of this. That must change, immediately. 

“The authority needs to ensure it delivers an effective planning service, with very clear guidelines for applicants wishing to develop in the area. It should ensure the views of residents and businesses are taken into account when making decisions affecting them, and it needs to change the way it promotes tourism here. Rather than circulating videos featuring public figures with known Welsh independent views, clips of litter strewn fields, and the suggestion that it’s the ‘end of everything’ here, they should promote the beautiful area we live in in a manner which supports the tourism sector, while ensuring visitors not only appreciate everything, we have to offer but look after it when they are here.”

When asked if he would consider re-joining the national park authority, Cllr McIntosh said: “If Welsh Government were to appoint their members without political links, and Councillors from County Councils joining the authority were appointed to create a political balance, I’d consider re-joining.”

The national park authority and Cllr Ratcliffe have both been appoached for comment.