Green Man: 'Disappointment' as nesting ospreys halt £4.25m festival farm plan in Brecon Beacons

The first nesting ospreys in the area for more than 200 years have disrupted plans for the Green Man festival. Credit: PA Images

The discovery of the first pair of ospreys to nest in South Wales for more than two hundred years has seen an end to plans for the Green Man Festival to take over the running of a farm in the Brecon Beacons.

In May 2022, the Welsh Government confirmed it had purchased the land at Gilestone Farm in Talybont-on-Usk, with the intention of leasing it to the Green Man Group.

But the sale proved to be hugely controversial, with the Welsh Government spending 4.25 million pounds of public money on the project.

Today the Economy Minister Vaughan Gething MS said that he was "surprised and delighted" to learn in August last year that a pair of breeding ospreys had decided to nest on the site.

But he also confirmed that a 750m restricted zone must now be placed around the farm. It means the full business plan set out by the Green Man Group can no longer be realised.

The Welsh Government previously bought the land with the intention of leasing it to the Green Man Group. Credit: PA Images

"Green Man is a great commercial and cultural asset to Wales," said Mr Gething. "We are committed to continuing our work with Green Man to help the company secure a suitable long-term base in Wales.

"The ambition set out in Green Man's business plan represents a positive opportunity for jobs and investment in rural Wales."

The Managing Director of Green Man, Fiona Stewart, says they are "disappointed" that the "project will not be going ahead at Gilestone Farm".

She said: "The team will now look at other opportunities".

Ms Stewart added: "Tackling the climate crisis, supporting future generations, and addressing the wealth and age gap remain critical issues in Mid Wales, and we must ensure that young people in rural areas are not forced to leave due to lack of work and social opportunities."

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The Gilestone Farm Project has heavily divided local opinion and political opinion.

Today the Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds said: "The planned project from Green Man would have brought much needed economic benefits for Powys.

"We hope the community of Talybont will now be able to move on, and for residents to positively move forward."

But the Welsh Conservatives have said that the Gilestone Farm purchase should never have happened in the first place. James Evans, the local MS for Brecon & Radnorshire, has long been critical of the project.

Mr Evans said: "Conservation concerns were raised early on in this process, as were concerns about the purchase of the farm itself, and now the Welsh Labour Government finds itself holding onto an expensive asset for a purpose completely alien to their initial plan.

"The next time the Labour Government plans to get the cheque book out, they should listen to local concerns and conduct themselves with far greater transparency."

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ITV Wales asked the Economy Minister Vaughan Gething MS, and the Managing Director of Green Man Fiona Stewart, for interviews today but they were not available.

In a written statement, Vaughan Gething MS said: "The arrival of the ospreys, and the presence of their nest, is a hugely significant development from a nature perspective, but despite the exclusion zone now in place at Gilestone Farm, there still remain opportunities for sustainable farming and economic development at the site."

Local people and politicians are now wondering whether the site will be kept or sold on, and wondering what the next steps are for the partnership between the Welsh Government and the Green Man Group.