Conservative councillors branded a motion asking for a levy to be put on water and electricity supplied from Powys as anti-United Kingdom as playing into the hands of Welsh Nationalists.

At a Powys County Council meeting on Thursday, December 8, councillors debated a motion by cabinet member for a connected Powys, Cllr Jake Berriman.

He wants the council to ask the UK and Welsh Government to put in place the necessary legal frameworks to allow Powys to retain some financial benefit from exporting the water and energy resources captured and generated in the county.

Liberal Democrat, Cllr Berriman explained that the money raised would be used by the council to address global warming.

The motion was seconded by non-affiliated Cllr Jeff Morgan who said that Powys needed: “more motions that generate wealth.”

Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan said: “I would like to congratulate the proposer and seconder, this is something I have been talking about for many years and Plaid Cymru have been at the forefront of this.

“We should own these natural resources.”

Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies said: “This charge will land on the bills of the users of that water and electricity.

“This is clearly the wrong time to do this.

“We are much stronger together as a United Kingdom, this is playing into the hands of my colleague over there (Cllr Elwyn Vaughan) and councillor brawd bach, (his younger brother Cllr Bryn Davies also of Plaid Cymru) it’s important that we oppose this motion.”

Cllr Pete Lewington said: “The way the motion uses the word export makes it sound as if the rest of the United Kingdom is a foreign country.

“This should not be about England versus Wales.

“If we were to follow this separatist agenda, we may then in turn get charged for air imports and this may outweigh any income this anti-United Kingdom approach will generate.

“On the basis that we are a United Kingdom I am vehemently against the underlying message in this motion.”

“This motion is a prime example of both wasting councillors time and playing politics.”

Cllr Gwynfor Thomas added: “This council does not have any legal power to implement this, I don’t know why it’s here.”

Cabinet member for a safer Powys, Liberal Democrat Cllr Richard Church said:  “This motion is about Powys not Wales.

“I don’t want the English Nationalist party in the shape of the Conservatives or the Welsh Nationalist (Plaid Cymru) party to bring nationalism into this debate as it’s not relevant.”

Cllr Berriman said: “To be clear I’m a unionist and nothing I have said is remotely party political.

“We don’t have tax raising powers of this nature in Powys, others do and that’s why I’m seeking through this motion to ask them to help us to get a little bit of extra cash to help us face down the challenges in the difficult times ahead.”

The motion was put to the vote and was approved with 40 votes in favour and 19 against.