Brecon Beacons National Park: Tories criticise renaming as ‘symbolic’ attempt to look ‘trendy’ | UK News

A rebranding move to drop the name Brecon Beacons in favour of its Welsh counterpart has been criticised by senior Conservatives who suggested the money could have been better used to encourage tourism.

They also called it a symbolic attempt to look “trendy” which could undermine the region’s international identity.

The picturesque and rugged national park will now be known as Bannau Brycheiniog to reflect its Welsh language roots and remove any association with carbon emissions.

As part of the overhaul, there will be a new green and white logo to replace a brightly burning beacon.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Can you pronounce the new Brecon Beacons name?

The park’s management admitted any connection with a wood-burning, carbon-emitting blazing beacon was “not a good look” for the Brecon Beacons, which covers around 520 square miles (1,350 sq km) of mountainous South and mid Wales.

And it said there was no evidence that beacons, which were once lit on peaks or coastlines to warn of an imminent attack, had ever been used in the area – so the Welsh name better reflected its heritage.

Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons

Bannau Brycheiniog translates in English as “peaks of Brychan’s kingdom” – a reference to the king who ruled that area during the fifth century.

But the renaming has been criticised by Tories including Welsh Secretary David TC Davies who said: “What concerns me is the fact there was no consultation and people who live and work in the national park were not given the opportunity to voice their opinion.

“It would be somewhat alarming if this was an entirely executive decision.

“The Brecon Beacons has a long-standing international identity and that is the name it will always be known by to so many around the world. I do question the cost and feel this is money that could have been used to encourage tourism in a better way.

“As a bilingual country, I fail to understand why the Welsh name cannot be used alongside the English name.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies. Pic: UK parliament
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies. Pic: UK parliament

‘Jumping on a sustainability bandwagon for PR purposes’

Brecon and Radnorshire’s Tory MP Fay Jones questioned the cost and impact of the “symbolic” rebrand and demanded to know why local people were not consulted.

“I’m amazed that a change of name should be imposed on those who live and work in the national park without any consultation,” she said.

“I am worried that this is symbolic. This is about looking trendy and jumping on a sustainability bandwagon for PR purposes.”

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said: “The Beacons are as recognisable outside of Wales as they are here. Why undermine that?”

However, Welsh actor Michael Sheen said he welcomed the “reclamation of the old Welsh name – an old name for a new way of being”, and he has filmed a promotional video to celebrate the name change.

Read more:
Girls in Wales almost twice as likely to report mental health struggles
Visitors to Wales could pay extra fee
Boy finds ‘250 million-year-old fossil’ on beach

Catherine Mealing-Jones, chief executive of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. Pic: Bannau Brycheiniog
Catherine Mealing-Jones, chief executive of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. Pic: Bannau Brycheiniog

‘Providing leadership on decarbonisation’

Also, the park authority’s chief executive, Catherine Mealing-Jones, said: “Given that we’re trying to provide leadership on decarbonisation, a giant burning brazier is not a good look.

“Our park is shaped by Welsh people, Welsh culture, and as we looked into it we realised the brand we’ve got and the name we’ve got, it’s a bit of a nonsense, it doesn’t really make any sense – the translation Brecon Beacons doesn’t really mean anything in Welsh.

“We’d always had the name Bannau Brycheiniog as the Welsh translation and we just felt we needed to put that front and centre as an expression about the new way we wanted to be celebrating Welsh people, Welsh culture, Welsh food, Welsh farming – all of the things that need to come with us as we go through this change in the management plan.”