Countryside Alliance Wales has voiced concern over the “future direction” of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park (formerly Brecon Beacons), after it announced rebranding changes this week.

The park announced on Monday (April 17) that going forward it would only use its Welsh language name, and will restrict sheep grazing in favour of wind farming.

The park also announced a plan to restore tree over, wetlands, hedgerows and wildflowers to attract wildlife, while introducing localised renewable energy sources like small wind turbines.

Director of Countryside Alliance Wales, Rachel Evans, said the park’s move away from sheep grazing could end up having “devastating” consequences.

“The revelation that the chief executive’s future vision for the National Park is to have wind turbines and less sheep smacks of a real departure from the reality of the management of this working landscape,” she said.

“Less sheep will result in more, unmanaged vegetation which could in turn mean more, dangerous, wildfires.

“Like all fires, wildfires need three elements to live: oxygen, a heat source such as a lightning or a match, and fuel in the form of dry vegetation.

“Wildfires will travel to any place where there is an abundance of those elements and can spread rapidly with the help of wind.”

Evans said climate change will of course also mean more wildfires, but that the “balance has to be recognised” and that this only fuels speculation about an “anti-farming agenda” by the national park.

She said the rebranding has “obviously ruffled a few feather in the countryside” because the inhabitants and communities were not consulted about the name change.

“For those of us lucky enough to live and work in this intricate managed landscape and who speak Welsh, it has more often than not always been referred to as “y Bannau Brycheiniog”  and it is difficult to accept that this official name change is somehow revolutionary and new when in it has been it’s official name for us since the year dot,” she said.

Evans also criticised the park’s suggestion “that the logo of a burning beacon somehow relates to some sort of incitement of wildfires is just ridiculous and has sparked an unnecessary row which could have been totally avoided”.

“There is a feeling that, for some, the countryside is an experimental playground. It isn’t. The Welsh countryside is part of our identity of many it is vital quangos and park authorities consult on all changes.”