A local politician has been barred from the council chamber after expressing strong views on a wind farm planning application in a letter to his weekly newspaper.
Powys County Councillor Bob Mills wrote to the Powys County Times voicing his opposition to the spread of wind farms in Mid Wales, prior to planning applications being debated in the council chamber.
The correspondence resulted in a letter from a council official barring the councillor from attending the debate, because ‘he had formed a very clear and unequivocal view on the issue of windpower’.
The official argues that by having the letter published, Coun Mills had demonstrated that he had a pre-determined view on windpower issues.
But the decision sparked an angry response from local Tory Welsh Assembly Government member Glyn Davies, who claimed free speech was dead. He said: “If anyone who publically expresses their support for or opposition to wind farms is going to be banned from the decision making process, the concept of free speech is dead.
“The law of the land, if this gagging order is carried to its logical conclusion, will prevent councillors from deciding controversial planning applications.”
The council claims that if the councillor was to take part in any planning committee considering a wind energy application any decision reached could be challenged through the courts.